Design Fellowship guides participants as they learn about challenges facing DC education and design, implement, and evaluate pilots of equity-centered solutions.
Are you a DC-based educator or aspiring education entrepreneur ready to deeply explore a challenge and test potential solutions? Design Fellowship provides customized tools, coaching, and financial support to design, test, adapt, and scale a right-sized pilot solution.
During this four-month immersive fellowship, you will build the knowledge needed to clearly define your problem and design, implement, and evaluate two tests of your proposed solution.
Design Fellowship is currently paused for School Year 2023-2024.
At CityBridge, we believe that piloting is a core practice for equity-centered design. Pilots are experiments, big and small, that are systematically designed to answer a set of learning questions. Through pilots, which are low-risk opportunities to learn, innovators are able to “try-on” a solution aimed at addressing inequities within our education system.
The purpose of 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.
- School Model Design: Teams that want to begin the work of designing a new public school model in Washington, DC.
- School Transformation: Teams at existing DC Public Schools and DC public charter schools that want to design or redesign an element of their school program.
- Ventures: Teams that want to define and test the core ideas for a social enterprise that supports rigorous and equitable public education.
Over the course of the semester, Design Fellowship will ground you in equitable design principles and teach you how to conduct empathy research; create a theory of change; and plan, run, and learn from pilots. Participants will leave Fellowship with two pilot plans that will help their team understand the problem and advance a proposed solution. Ventures participants will also develop a Value Proposition that will help them build pilots that test the fit between customer needs and their core idea.
Fellowship teams receive strengths-based and identify-affirming support from CityBridge experts during and between workshops. Our coaches uniquely tailor coaching sessions for each team in order to meet their individual needs and the requirements of Design Fellowship, providing a safe space to take risks in order to grapple with new and rigorous concepts.
CityBridge supports our Design Fellowship teams in coalition-building to ensure the sustained success of solutions. Teams are guided through a stakeholder identification and evaluation process and supported as they create engagement plans. In the months after Design Fellowship, participants can receive support for implementation and learning from their pilot work. They will also officially become CityBridge alumni and gain access to the CityBridge alumni newsletter and network.
Teams are eligible for up to $5,000 to support piloting. Design Fellowship teams must track all grant spending and work with a coach to access the resources. More information about the grant application and process will be available after teams apply.
My experience with CityBridge has helped me find a community of educators, entrepreneurs, and leaders who I can build relationships with and find support. Through the coaching CityBridge provides, Raising a Village was able to redesign our education program to directly respond to the needs of our partners while fulfilling our organizational mission. Lastly, CityBridge has also provided much needed funding to continue to test and scale our programs.– Jaleesa Hall, Raising a Village Foundation
CityBridge has really shaped how I engage with our various stakeholders. In all of my interactions, not only am I looking at the entire group of stakeholders, but also thinking about how those at the margins are impacted by what is happening or not happening. It also influenced the way I support and provide voice to those I work with. I am constantly aware of others’ voices and providing space for them to bring it back to the community.– Brian Gloor, Bard High School Early College DC
The CityBridge experience is transformational. Educators will learn how to re-imagine education while problem-solving school-related issues. Design Fellowship helped expand my leadership capacity, and it refined my change-management skill set. As a change agent, I feel equipped and prepared to address and solve complex challenges that impact the quality of teaching and learning at my school.– Rennie M. Taylor, Stuart-Hobson Middle School
CityBridge programming provides a space where educators and education entrepreneurs can boldly design groundbreaking solutions to entrenched challenges, to better serve DC students. Each cohort joins a supportive community where members are dedicated to creating a public school system worthy of all of our children.