December 31, 2021
Dear Friends of Knowles,
It likely goes without saying that the fiscal year ending May 31, 2021 was unlike any other in our organization’s history. The global COVID-19 pandemic required that teachers radically change their teaching practice almost instantaneously, and our commitment to teachers required that we adapt our programs and support to meet them where they were in these unprecedented circumstances. The challenge was enormous, and our staff rose to meet it with grace, creativity and unwavering dedication. We learned a great deal from this past year, and will use those learnings to improve our programs in the future. But we also confirmed what we’ve known for many years, that bringing teachers together, in person, is critical for a strong, thriving network of leaders that can drive educational improvement.
Although the goals and trajectory of the Teaching Fellowship Program remained the same, implementing the entire program virtually required us to replan almost every aspect of the Fellowship year for all five cohorts. In July 2020, we held our first ever fully virtual Summer Meeting, then our fall and spring cohort meetings were held virtually as well. Perhaps the biggest challenge of the year was revising our process for reviewing applications, vetting candidates and awarding Fellowships to members of the 2022 Cohort. Each round of adapting our program plans and materials for a virtual environment allowed us to learn and improve, but also gave us a unique opportunity to compare data on the Fellows’ experience and learning with previous years.