Does Building Excellent Schools seek only Fellowship candidates who have been teachers or educators?

No. While experience and expertise in the classroom is helpful, there is so much more involved in designing and building a charter school of uncompromising excellence. Building Excellent Schools seeks candidates who have depth of experience in a variety of areas including organizing, public policy, law, non-profit leadership, project management, and strategic planning. The Fellowship focuses on areas—developing a practice-based educational program, building a founding board along with school support through community outreach and development, and founding a viable nonprofit organization—that represent the three essential components of a school founding process. Deep knowledge in each of these three disciplines is helpful, but it is also rare. Successful Fellowship candidates typically have a breadth of experience in one discipline; the Fellowship’s curriculum provides training and support to build their capacity in the other two. Find out if The Fellowship is for you.

How do I apply to The Fellowship?

All applicants to The Fellowship must complete an online self-study questionnaire and survey prior to applying. Read about The Fellowship application process.

Can Fellowship applicants apply for territories other than the ones listed as priority territories? What is a National Fellow?

There is no longer a ‘National Fellows’ option for The Fellowship. For the 2015 Fellowship, applicants must be interested in opening a high-performing charter school in one of the designated areas. If you are interested in an area outside of the listed regions, please fill out the form here to keep in touch.

Can BES Fellows open charter schools in other countries?

No. The Fellowship only supports Fellows who are interested in launching charter schools in the United States.

How can I nominate someone who would make an outstanding candidate for The Fellowship?

Nominations are an excellent way for us to discover great candidates for The Fellowship. And, if the person you nominate successfully enrolls in the program, you’ll receive a referral bonus. Nominate a Fellow.

When does The Fellowship begin and end?

The Fellowship’s one-year program runs from September through August. See the Fellowship Year Timeline.

Is The Fellowship a full-time commitment?

Yes. The stipend allows Fellows to focus on The Fellowship as their sole professional engagement and to make a full-time commitment to the design and development of charter schools of excellence.

How much time do BES Fellows spend training at the BES national office in Boston?

The Fellowship allows for the personal and professional needs of all Fellows. Almost 100 training days take place throughout the year across the country and in Boston, and all BES Fellows spend ample time in their respective communities building essential local support. Depending on the time of year and The Fellowship’s training requirements, BES Fellows can spend up to 17 days per month in Boston.

Are BES Fellows required to live in Boston?

No. The Fellowship is a national program that welcomes candidates from across the country. Currently, we are hosting Fellows from across the nation who travel to Boston for a series of on-site trainings and school visits.

Are accommodations provided for BES Fellows when they are training in Boston?

Yes. Building Excellent Schools provides lodging at no cost to Fellows during Boston-based training days and in the event of required travel/training outside of Massachusetts. Accommodations in Boston are provided for BES Fellows who are starting schools in states other than Massachusetts. Fellows who are starting schools inside of Massachusetts will travel to Boston each designated training day.

Are BES Fellows employees of Building Excellent Schools?

No. Fellows are not employees of Building Excellent Schools and receive Form 1099 for the tax years in which The Fellowship falls.

Does Building Excellent Schools offer medical coverage?

Yes. Fellows receive a stipend from Building Excellent Schools to pay for medical coverage.

Does the BES Fellowship consist of individual or group work?

To encourage the sharing of best practices and products, The Fellowship incorporates a mix of independent and group work. Each Fellow comes to the program with ideas about his or her school. He or she spends the duration of The Fellowship expanding upon and redeveloping these plans along the vision that is guided by Fellowship training. In this way, the work of designing, building and launching a charter school of excellence is each Fellow’s unique endeavor. Through independent work, each Fellow follows a tailored program that helps fill in the gaps in his or her own learning, skill set or experience. As a group, Fellows pore over the curriculum, discuss and dissect its ideas and themes, participate in trainings and share their developing ideas and work. BES Fellows leave the program with an evolved school design and charter application that have been pushed and strengthened by the input and critique of BES staff.

What is The Fellowship model?

The following are integral components of The Fellowship’s successful model:

  • Recruiting the highest quality candidates, including those with experience outside of the education world
  • Providing Fellows with intense and rigorous training that meets their individual needs and the educational needs of their proposed charter school communities
  • Coaching and advising Fellows as they develop and expand their school visions
  • Preparing Fellows to gather the critical building blocks necessary to launch excellent charter schools and build long-term sustainability

The Fellowship does not simply provide training geared toward would-be school leaders or principals; it trains, coaches, mentors and supports individuals who want to design, found, and lead an urban charter school of uncompromising academic and managerial excellence.

Our approach includes a curriculum that is grounded in the best practices of the nation’s highest performing urban charter schools, numerous visits to those schools, ongoing interaction and discussion between BES Fellows and practitioners, a workshop model for sharing ideas and products, and a residency program.

All of these aspects, in conjunction with individualized governance work and the Fellowship’s hands-on approach, provide a supportive network within which BES Fellows can envision, design and build schools of excellence.

How does The Fellowship residency work?

In January and/or February, each Fellow completes a residency in a high-performing charter school, most often located in his or her home state or district. Residency sites are chosen based on the strength of their academic and organizational records, their relevance to a Fellow’s school design plans and their ability to embrace the skills and experiences a newly trained Fellow can offer. Over the course of the residency, Fellows complete projects that speak to their individual needs and skill sets as well as their larger goal of developing an urban charter school of excellence.

What happens at the end of the Fellowship year and in the year before the proposed school opens?

The Fellowship year culminates with people and paper in hand, meaning that the Fellow has successfully built a board of directors and submitted a charter application to the charter authorizer. Upon authorization of their charter, BES Fellows move into a planning year, during which they work to hire staff, secure a facility, build curriculum and enroll students. Once a charter is approved, Fellows are eligible to apply for an external grant to support their work during the planning year. See the School Start-Up Timeline.

Do BES Fellows continue to receive support from Building Excellent Schools once The Fellowship has ended?

Absolutely. Building Excellent Schools provides support during the design, pre-operation and startup phases of Fellows’ schools. This often manifests itself in a network of school assistance providers that offer a variety of short- or long-term services, such as business, management, and information system support; human resource evaluation and development; human service referral and coordination; and real estate acquisition for expansion through a public real estate trust. An aspiring school founder’s participation in The Fellowship is just the beginning of a relationship that will last well into the proposed school’s operational years. Building Excellent Schools provides Fellows with ongoing access to resources, support and tactical assistance in a wide variety of areas through Follow-On Support. This post-Fellowship assistance focuses on hands-on practical skills, answering real-life concerns and needs related to strategic planning, fund development, board development, curriculum, evaluation and much more.

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