Over the course of nine months, fellowship recipients will learn concrete advocacy skills, expand their education policy knowledge, and get directly involved in electoral and legislative advocacy. Fellows will be supported by Raise Your Hand statewide and regional staff led by Dr. Libby Cohen, Raise Your Hand’s senior director of advocacy. Fellowship activities will include four cohort-wide sessions in Austin; participation in candidates forum and get-out-the vote campaigns in their communities; and implementing advocacy action plans with the support of Raise Your Hand’s regional advocacy directors.
With political discourse around public education becoming more polarized and partisan, there has never been a more important time for practitioners to get involved in the policy-making process. Raise Your Hand believes that principals have a critical role to play in the realm of public education advocacy. Working in schools every day, principals have relationships with individual students, teachers, and families and first-hand experience with the day to day challenges of operating a campus. As campus leaders, they are also responsible for implementing system-wide policies and adapting to system-wide changes. This affords principals a unique perspective and set of relationships that can make them highly effective advocates.
All the work that principal advocacy fellows engage in will be issue-based and non-partisan. That is, fellows will not be involved in supporting or opposing specific candidates.
While recognizing the need for local flexibility and adaptation, fellows will be expected to complete the following over the course of the fellowship:
- Attend all fellowship sessions.
- Create a Core Team of five to seven people (other principals, teachers, district staff, parents, community members), to help them engage a large cross-section of people in their advocacy efforts.
- Set concrete goals with respect to voter engagement and legislative advocacy in their communities and implement strategies to meet them.
- Keep their superintendent and/or other designated school district official(s) informed of their efforts.
- Regularly communicate with their local regional advocacy director and other Raise Your Hand staff.
Raise Your Hand Texas will cover all food and accommodation costs for fellows during our large group sessions, including accommodations for the night prior to the training session. We will also cover transportation costs to and from each large group session.