America is experiencing dramatic change within its teacher workforce with the entry of large numbers of early career educators. By profile, these newer educators thrive on collaboration, teaming and social engagement. They are interested in improving the profession, want to see student-centered changes and desire personal recognition. Amidst the decline of the labor movement, they likely weren’t raised in union households and may have little experience with unions.
Alongside this demographic shift is an unprecedented assault on the labor movement, including attacks on union membership. There is growing momentum within unions to transform themselves to become more relevant among newer educators. Unionists increasingly recognize that current structures and approaches may not create a viable, compelling case for membership among new educators. Amidst this, we have an opportunity to create stronger connections. How can new educators find their voice on issues that matter to them through leadership in their Association?
The ECLF will support 60 early career Fellows from each of these NEA affiliates: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Each affiliate will support up to 60 Fellows. The Michigan Education Association is inviting local associations to apply to join this innovative program in 2017.
Selected local partners will support Fellows to develop new skills and formalize an action pathway toward union leadership. Selected locals may identify up to 10 early career educators who:
- Are within the first five years of the profession
- Represent the diversity of America’s classrooms
- Have demonstrated success in improving teaching and learning
- Show promise and initial interest in future union leadership
6-10 local ECLF cohorts will be networked intentionally and strategically throughout the year through a variety of connecting opportunities:
- Two in-person state meetings (Summer 2017 and Fall/Winter 2017)
- Engagement of a “Sounding Board” of five other early career educators per Fellow
- Local team meetings and online networking opportunities focused on action-based leadership work (June 2017 – January 2018)
- Creation of a “Leadership Engagement & Action Project” plan based on one-on-one Sounding Board conversations
ECLF locals will be connected in a networked community throughout the year, sharing best practices, learnings and leadership work.
Fellows are expected to participate in both state ECLF meetings and at least 80% of local meetings. Fellows will identify and engage a Sounding Board of five other early career educators through their experience. With other local Fellows, they will develop, implement and present about a Leadership Engagement & Action Project (LEAP) to address an issue of importance to early career educators. We anticipate the entire program will take between 60 and 80 hours. Fellows completing program requirements receive $500, food, mileage and overnight.
Each selected local will also designate an ECLF Coach to support Fellows on their leadership journey. The ECLF local Coach will be the primary contact with the state ECLF Lead and CEC staff and will collaborate regularly with coaches from other sites through monthly webinars. The ECLF Coach will also coordinate communications and outreach about the program with and through the local association, including a substantial social media engagement strategy and focus on personal narrative. In terms of skills and dispositions, the following are desired ECLF Coach characteristics:
- Some organizational development skills/background
- Familiarity with the local association and district
- Credibility as an accomplished teacher and association leader
- Experience working with and leading adult learners
ECLF Coach will receive a stipend of $1,500 upon the successful completion of responsibilities over the year.
The local president will support ECLF work by:
- Promoting the program and application process with early career educators
- Identifying participants who meet the selection criteria
- Attending both state ECLF meetings
- Promoting Fellows and their work through available communications channels
- Committing to open existing and new leadership opportunities to Fellows upon completion of their cohort work
- Working with the State ECLF Lead and CEC staff to identify a coach who will support Fellows during the year
- Affirming support of elected leadership, including the Executive Board, for the ECLF program
Selected local association partners should have the following conditions in place:
- A strong labor/management culture
- Commitment from the local association’s elected officers and Executive Board to support this program
- Willingness to connect Fellows with association events and leadership opportunities
- Engagement and experience with the TURN region
Applications must be submitted by the local association president or his/her designee.
Visit us here to review questions and/or to submit your application.
The Michigan Education Association will review applications beginning June 1, 2017 and anticipates notifying selected locals by June 15, 2017.