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Announcing the Fifth Cohort of the Deeper Learning Equity Fellows


August 19, 2020 | For immediate release | With questions please contact Karla Cruz Godoy:

Big Picture Learning and Internationals Network for Public Schools are proud to announce the fifth cohort of the Deeper Learning Equity Fellowship, made up of sixteen emerging leaders who will dedicate a significant portion of the next two years to addressing issues of educational inequity in their local communities. This cohort joins a group of 58 Equity Fellows already steeped in this important work.

“These last few months have brought to light the technological and educational inequities in our communities with the onset of COVID-19 and school closures. In addition to such a tumultuous start to our year, we faced the realities of institutionalized white supremacy through George Floyd’s murder and its aftermath, creating social unrest and uprising,” states Carlos Moreno, Co-Director of the Fellowship and Co-Executive Director of Big Picture Learning. “Our work is important now more than ever, as we aim to tackle and disrupt the inequitable systems that are often perpetuated in underserved populations, such as access to reliable internet and distance learning.” 

Thus far, through projects undertaken by the first four cohorts, the Deeper Learning Equity Fellows have -- among other things -- identified the emergence of bilingual populations impacted by New York City’s universal Pre-K coverage, signaled the importance of rethinking teacher education programs to equip and prepare new educators for the complexity of preparing students to meet 21st-century challenges and increased awareness of the importance of intersectional identities and self-reflection to reduce burn out for equitable and anti-racist educators during COVID-19. 

“Our collective commitment to deep learning and equity unites us in a very timely struggle,” adds Claire Sylvan, Co-Director of the Fellowship and Founder/Senior Strategic Adviser of Internationals Network for Public Schools. “The Equity Fellows will continue to play a pivotal role as America responds to both the disproportional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic raging in our communities and the recent mass uprisings challenging systemic racism throughout the nation.”

The Equity Fellows program is supported by nationally recognized mentors – like Linda Darling-Hammond, Christopher Emdin, David Kirkland, Carola Suarez-Orozco and more – help fellows deepen fellows’ theory and practice on their journeys to right educational wrongs.  Inevitably, the fellows will face obstacles and barriers in developing and implementing their capstone projects. Equity Fellow Advisers are outstanding alumni of DLEF and are well-positioned to provide guidance, focus, advice, and expertise through the course of the fellowship.

Thanks to the support of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Equity Fellows will be convened and supported in a variety of ways throughout their fellowship. "We are excited to see the next cohort of Equity Fellows advocate and advance equitable opportunities for learning," says Charmain Mercer, Program Officer at the Hewlett Foundation. Director of Education for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Corey Scholes, adds, "The Kauffman Foundation is always looking for ways to support our educators in Kansas City. We are excited to have a group of leaders learn how to deepen their equity practices in their organization under the incredible leadership of the Deeper Learning Equity Fellowship."

The Cohort V Equity Fellows include: Alan Cheng, NYC Department of Education; Amber Strawser, Winton Woods City Schools; Anibal Soler Jr., Batavia City School District; Charles King, The Kansas City Teacher Residency; Christina Grant, The School District of Philadelphia; Dynell Kellyman, Institute for Student Achievement; Edgar J. Palacios, Latinx Education Collaborative; Jessica Rucker, Euphemia Lofton Haynes Public Charter School; Julianna Charles Brown, KnowledgeWorks; Karis Parker, Crossroads Charter Schools; Keith Jones, Platte County School District; Marggie Banker, Montello School District; Michele Bowers, Lancaster School District; Mirza Sanchez-Medina, NYC Department of Education; Verenice Gutierrez, Salt Lake City School District; William Jackson, Seattle Public Schools

The Deeper Learning Equity Fellows is a cohort-based leadership program that aims to develop, strengthen, and sustain a group of diverse and exceptional leaders who will influence the policies and practices that expand access to Deeper Learning in public education across the country.

It is Big Picture Learning’s vision that all students live lives of their own design, supported by caring mentors and equitable opportunities to achieve their greatest potential. Today, hundreds of BPL network schools in the United States and around the world work together to activate the power of schools, systems, and education in their own communities and beyond through student-directed, real-world education.

Internationals Network’s vision is to ensure that all recent immigrant students who are English Language Learners have access to a quality high school education that prepares them for college, career, and full participation in a democratic society. We provide quality public education for recently arrived immigrants by growing and sustaining a strong national network of innovative International High Schools, while supporting states, districts, schools, educators, and policymakers to improve education for all English Language learners.