Frequently Asked Questions

Q.What are the benefits of becoming a Fowler Literacy Fellow?

A. Fowler Literacy Fellows earn a Certificate of Advanced Study with a concentration in Reading and Language Development (pending Connecticut State Department of Education approval). Unlike other programs, Fairfield University’s program:

  • Offers full tuition plus a stipend to those meeting the guidelines for admission
  • Is full-time, allowing Fellows to finish the majority of coursework in one year
  • Is designed specifically for PreK to 3 teachers serving in underperforming school districts who would like to stay in the classroom with the aim of closing the considerable achievement gap in Connecticut
  • Gives Fellows a network of colleagues who share a similar passion for helping students overcome reading challenges

Q. How long is the program?

A. The program is essentially a one year, full-time program. Classes begin in September and run through August for a total of 33 credits. The following September, you will return to your classroom and can complete the additional three credits of your capstone project on a part-time basis. The program runs as a cohort, with a new group of Fellows enrolling each September.

Q. How do I know I’ll get my position back when I’m finished?

A. Each school district must sign a memorandum of understanding with those enrolled in the program. The school districts will agree to the following:

  • Facilitate their teachers return to the district upon graduation and agree to track these teachers’ students’ reading outcomes as part of the research agenda
  • Use the graduates to build capacity by placing them in positions as master teachers
  • Report student outcomes as part of the transparent evaluation of the graduate program
  • Participate in discussions for continuous program improvement

Q. How much is the stipend?

A. The stipend is $2,500 a month for 12 months, paid on a monthly basis. Any taxes are the responsibility of the Fellow.

Q. What about my medical insurance?

A. Fellows will receive individual medical insurance coverage during the 12 months of the program.  For more information on the University’s insurance plan, or to add family members to the plan, see the Fairfield Student Health Plan.

Q. Is the program open to elementary teachers in any school district?

A. The program is open to a limited number of public and parochial PreK to 3 teachers in underperforming, urban school districts in Connecticut. The districts must sign the memorandum of understanding in order to begin the process. The City of Norwalk has signed the memorandum; other districts are in the process.

Q. What will the coursework entail?

A. Fellows will receive advanced and specialized training in evidence-based literacy instruction. Topics include the psychology of reading, a survey of reading research, testing and assessment in literacy programs, literacy development in bilingual and special needs students, and content area literacy. Fellows will also complete three field-based practica and the research courses. 

Each of three semesters (Fall, Spring, and Summer) will include coursework that will lead to a certificate of advanced study. Each semester will also include a practicum/field work component. Fellows will apprentice with a master teacher using a research-based curriculum and will be closely supervised by the program director.

Q. Are there follow up assessments after I complete the program?

A. Absolutely. You will be asked to:

  • Employ appropriate technology for assessing students’ reading skills. Assessments include screeners, progress monitoring measures, and diagnostic tests for deeper analysis.
  • Participate in the program’s research agenda for a minimum of three years following graduation.  Each Fellow’s students will be followed and results will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the program and inform programmatic improvements.
  • Participate in short-term professional development during the summer for each of three years and teach in a district-based summer school program for at-risk students.