Skip survey header

NILSL Application

I. Background
UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. To achieve its mission, UnidosUS conducts applied research, policy analysis, and advocacy, providing a Latino perspective in five key areas—assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health. In addition, it provides capacity-building assistance to its Affiliates who work at the state and local levels to advance opportunities for individuals and families. 

UnidosUS advocacy includes critical areas such as:  

  • Protecting civil rights 
  • Expanding economic opportunity 
  • Equitable access to quality education 
  • Improving access to health care for all 
  • Nondiscriminatory immigration policies 
  • Amplifying the voices of Latino youth 
  • Ensuring that all eligible voters can cast their ballots with confidence 

Since 2011, with generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UnidosUS has supported educators and administrators in developing and advocating for policy solutions that advance education equity and outcomes for the nation’s English learners and Latino students and their families. The National Institute for Latino School Leaders (NILSL) trains teachers, principals, superintendents and non-profit leaders in the skills needed to influence education policy at local, state and national levels. NILSL operates through a cohort model comprised of 10–12 representatives from Affiliates, community-based organizations and schools located across the country. Built upon UnidosUS in-house education expertise and external partnerships, NILSL training modules expand leaders’ knowledge of state and federal education policies, allow space for collaborative analysis on the impacts of these policies, and fortify advocacy strategies that align with proposed research-based solutions, ultimately bridging the gap between education policy and practice. The program has successfully graduated 52 education leaders from six cohorts.  

II. Fellowship Model
The NILSL infuses the voice of school leaders, who work with and on behalf of Latino students and English learners, into the education policy arena. NILSL fellows provide insights, elevate best practices, and inform policies that directly relate to or impact youth in K-12 education. There are five principles that guide the mission and vision of NILSL: 

  • Access to quality education 

  • High standards and support 

  • Respect for the Latino community, culture, and values  

  • Rigorous accountability systems  

  • Responsible advocacy  

The NILSL prepares leaders in education to become well-equipped advocates and spokespeople for English learners and Latino students at the local, state and national levels, defining the narrative in these spaces. Fellows select an issue area or challenge to elevate and address during the fellowship. Example issue areas include school funding transparency, teacher diversity, assessing English learners with disabilities, and implementing restorative practices. For a portfolio of project ideas, please view previous NILSL memoranda on the UnidosUS publications page. The fellowship includes the following components: 

  • Training modules provide fellows the opportunity to explore topics such as legislative advocacy, education policy, power mapping, developing advocacy strategies, public speaking, blog post and policy writing, and preparation for legislative visits. Four training modules will be included in the fellowship.   

  • Group work allows fellows to learn from each other, sharing their experiences and perspective by engaging (in-person or remotely) outside the scheduled training modules.     

  • Deliverables include a blog post, written policy recommendations, community engagement events, and legislative visits. 

III. Qualifications
  • 3+ years of leadership experience working in the field of education (school or non-profit) 
  • Experience with K-12 youth programming 
  • Experience working with underserved student populations and their families, and ideally, undocumented students and families, Latino students and English learners 
  • Commitment to providing college access for underrepresented populations
IV. Requests for Proposal
UnidosUS invites applications from educators, administrators, and non-profit professionals from schools and community-based organizations. Interested individuals should apply for the NILSL fellowship if it aligns with their priorities, goals and schedule. 
V. Mandatory Participation

To successfully participate in the NILSL fellowship, selected fellows are required to fully participate in all meetings and professional development opportunities coordinated by UnidosUS. NILSL fellows will attend four 2-3 day in-person training modules (requiring travel), and fellows will be also responsible for 4-6 hours of work each month, including Blackboard assignments, blog posts, and readings. UnidosUS will cover all travel costs, most meals, and necessary accommodations for NILSL fellows.*** 


***Please Note: Once travel arrangements have been made and confirmed by UnidosUS, attendance at an event is mandatory. In the event of a cancellation after UnidosUS has paid for arrangements, the Affiliate will be required to reimburse UnidosUS for any travel-related expenses incurred (including but not limited to airfare and hotel room). 


Fellowship Timeline (dates are approximate) 

July 22, 2019 

Application is released 

August 14, 2019 

Deadline to submit application to UnidosUS 

August 23, 2019 

Selected fellows are announced 

- Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is sent. 

September 4, 2019 

Deadline to submit MOU to UnidosUS 

September 18, 2019  

Welcome Webinar 

October 2–4, 2019 

Module I (TBD) 

March 4–6, 2020 

Module II (Washington, DC) 

July 24–26, 2020 

Module III (Las Vegas) 

December 2–4, 2020 

Module IV (Washington, DC)