Senior Fellows are eligible to receive grants from Knowles for Seed Projects—initiatives that are designed to improve education beyond a Senior Fellow’s own classroom, including initiatives that enhance STEM teaching and learning in high schools, build a network of teachers engaged in exploring new ideas, and provide leadership for schools or districts. Senior Fellows are encouraged to include teachers and other colleagues from beyond the Knowles community in the planning and execution of Seed Projects.
Knowles Senior Fellow Scott Murphy initiated a Seed Project that led to 70% of participants instituting a practice of reflecting on their lessons on a daily basis. In an effort to promote collaborative reflection on classroom practices, Scott engaged nine teachers at his school—St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—in a peer coaching program during the 2016–2017 academic year. Scott and his planning partner trained their colleagues on cognitive coaching. The peer coaches practiced their new skills as they engaged in four cycles of coaching with two different partners. At the conclusion of the program, 100% of participating teachers rated the peer observations included in the program as valuable or extremely valuable with regard to increasing their awareness and adjusting their approach in the classroom. The Seed Project Grant funds were used to award $400 stipends to the 10 participants as honorarium for their participation.
Discovery Project Grants support Senior Fellow initiatives that are designed to expand the impact of successful Seed Projects. Discovery Projects will typically be funded for two years at a time and will require that Senior Fellows involve teachers and/or other colleagues beyond the Knowles community in their efforts to improve education beyond their own classrooms. We will begin funding Senior Fellows’ Discovery Projects in the 2018–2019 academic year.
Resonance Projects grow the capacity of the Knowles network by directly enhancing Senior Fellows’ skills, knowledge and experience. They also allow Senior Fellows to feed their expertise back into the network, while providing the opportunity and support needed to leverage those skills, knowledge and experiences to have an impact beyond the Knowles network. Currently, Knowles invests approximately $70,000 annually in two Resonance Projects: the Knowles Coaching Institute and our Senior Fellow-led journal, Kaleidoscope: Educator Voices and Perspectives.
Introduced in 2014, the Knowles Coaching Institute is designed to increase the use of peer coaching among Fellows and in broader educational contexts, and enhance the climate of shared and reflective professional practice in the community. During its inaugural year, nine Senior Fellows were selected to participate in the institute. Participants attended two meetings where they were introduced to the fundamentals of peer coaching and asked to think about the role of coaches in adult learning. They also practiced leveraging coaching tools to help Knowles Teaching Fellows plan, present, and reflect on professional learning sessions at the annual Knowles Summer Meeting.
To date, 37 Senior Fellows have been trained as peer coaches in three Coaching Institutes, and have provided coaching support to 75 Fellows. After the first two years of the institute, participants expressed a desire for longer-term partnerships in coaching, allowing for multiple cycles of coaching to occur. To meet this need, returning coaches developed a Coaching Partnership Program that partners Teaching Fellows with Senior Fellow coaches for one academic year. During the year, the pair will go through at least two cycles of planning, observation, and reflection. The Coaching Partnership Program was launched in 2016 with 12 participants, six coaches and six coachees.
Kaleidoscope: Educator Voices and Perspectives
In December 2014, the Knowles Teacher Initiative published the inaugural issue of its new journal—Kaleidoscope: Educator Voices and Perspectives. Through Kaleidoscope, Knowles shares stories from teachers about teaching, leading and learning. At its founding, the Kaleidoscope editorial board comprised Knowles Senior Fellows who were responsible for seeking submissions, reviewing submissions, providing feedback to authors, and making all final editorial decisions. In June 2016, two Knowles Senior Fellows—Katie Blaske and Kirstin Milks—were selected to serve as the first Co-Editors-in-Chief of Kaleidoscope. The editorial staff was completed with the selection of four Senior Fellow Associate Editors—Brittany Franckowiak, Lindsey Quinlisk, Rebecca Van Tassell and Katie Waddle.