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Who can participate in the CityBridge Design Fellowship?

  • Teams of school-based educators across Washington, DC (e.g. an assistant principal or principal and two additional educators)  or teams of non-school based educators
  • Participants who are able to commit 6 to 8 hours between each workshop to apply the tools with students and the school community.

The Fellowship is designed for teams, not for individuals. We encourage teams consisting of three members.

  • Teams within schools should consist of faculty, staff, and leaders working at DC Public Schools or DC Public Charter Schools. Teams can also include a central office or non-school-based staff.
  • Teams focused on building a new school or non-school venture should have at least one member of the team be based in a school or work directly with students on a regular basis.

Do I have to apply as a team? Can CityBridge help me find team members?

Yes, you must apply as a team. We’ve learned from experience that the work of designing and scaling a solution is more successful if team-based.

No, unfortunately, we do not have the capacity at this time to help participants form teams. However,  the first stage of the CityBridge Incubator, Design Studio, is designed for individuals.

What will participants do in the Design Fellowship?

  • Explore and define a student-centered problem and the conditions that shape it
  • Design two pilots to test, adapt, and scale innovative and equity-centered solutions
  • Draft a theory of change that explains how the activities of a team or an organization fit together to create the outcomes they want.
  • Craft personal stories about their design journey in order to build a strong coalition of supporters for their work
  • Learn and collaborate with a community of like-minded educators, entrepreneurs, and leaders

What will participants create and walk away with? 

  • 1 fully executed pilot plan
  • Designs for a 2nd, larger-scale pilot of their proposed solution
  • A theory of change
  • A set of storytelling tools and plan for building a supporting coalition
  • Learnings and insights from testing

What follow-up support is available to participants?

Participants are eligible for grants to support their ongoing pilot work. Participants can also receive ongoing support to continue piloting following the workshops through our communities of practice, Targeted Networks.

What is the time commitment?

  • The pre-work for Design Fellowship will take participants approximately 3-4 hours prior to the first workshop.
  • The four workshops will be full-day experiences, typically running from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm EST. These will remain virtual until public health recommendations change.
  • Monthly applied design work and coaching sessions will take participants between 6-8 hours.
  • Two 45-minute check-ins during the semester following Fellowship where coaches will check in on pilot progress and learnings.

Do team members need to quit their jobs to participate?

No. The Fellowship is specifically designed as job-embedded learning so that teams can learn, test, and explore alongside learners before moving to larger-scale work.

How much funding do participants receive?

Teams can be eligible to receive up to $5,000 to support piloting. Teams must apply for grants and work with a coach to access the resources. More information about the grant application and process will be available after teams apply.

What happens if a team’s pilot project doesn’t work?

The purpose of prototyping and piloting is to learn. If a pilot doesn’t produce the student experience that the team intended, then a well-designed set of measures will help teams learn why it didn’t work the way they hypothesized. That, in turn, will help teams iterate and build better solutions over time.

What kinds of projects have fellows worked on in the past?

During the 2020-21 school year, teams in Design Fellowship have built pilots that include: advisory programs that train students to lead social-emotional learning for their peers, teacher-facing methods and toolkits for ensuring lessons are culturally responsive, and an enrichment program for disengaged students that enables them to pursue a new hobby or passion and connect it to their identity as a life-long learner. Additional ongoing projects are piloting new ways to engage students and families despite the ongoing challenges of virtual and hybrid learning during the pandemic.