Keystone Oaks School District elementary STEAM teachers Aaron Colf and Rachael Ragen were selected to participate in the inaugural transformED Teaching Fellowship. The Allegheny County Intermediate Unit launched the fellowship as its latest vehicle for providing transformational professional development opportunities. Colf & RAgen, who teach STEAM to grades K-5 in the Keystone Oaks School District, are two of 17 teachers representing 15 school districts across the region to be awarded a 2021-2022 transformED Teaching Fellowship.
“This fellowship was developed in response to districts looking to innovate and a demand for opportunities for teachers to learn from and alongside one another,” says Tyler Samstag, director of Instructional Innovation at the AIU. “The pandemic has forced schools to think innovatively and creatively about teaching and learning. Overnight, our conception of school changed. Teachers took charge and adapted.”
The transformED Teacher Fellowship aims to convene teacher leaders interested in instructional innovation to incubate new approaches to teaching and learning. As part of this small community of practice, fellows will learn collectively with their peers in sessions held throughout the remainder of the school year. In addition, each fellow receives a $1,500 classroom mini-grant and the fellow’s school district receives a $1,000 stipend. This fellowship was made possible through grant funding provided by the Grable and Henry L. Hillman foundations.
“The fellowship is a research lab, of sorts,” says Samstag. “Participants will identify something they want to test within their classrooms. They will pilot and share with the cohort what they learned mid-way, and again at the pilot’s conclusion. We are hopeful to then amplify the learnings of the cohort more broadly.”
transformED is an initiative of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit that connects educators with the professional learning, technology access, peer networks and grant funding they need to start, scale and sustain transformational change. By staying ahead of the curve, transformED helps districts prepare for changes coming their way and make a plan to integrate new instructional practices and technologies. By creating a safe and supportive environment for teachers to learn with peers, transformED helps educators find fellowship with kindred spirits committed to honing their craft. By meeting educators where they are, transformED offers many points of entry to the broader movement for innovation in education.
About the AIU
An educational service agency, the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) is part of Pennsylvania’s public education system and serves schools, children, youth and families in suburban Allegheny County. Among the largest of the state’s 29 intermediate units, the AIU employs about 1,200 individuals and has an annual budget exceeding $164 million.