We received this note from Lana Greenawald last week after she returned from her fellowship. Inspired by her work and her words, we’re pleased to share it with you.
To the Fund for Teachers team:
I am writing to express my deepest gratitude for the opportunity to study the Spanish language and Mexican culture at the Spanish Language Institute for Teachers in Cuernavaca, Mexico, through a Fund for Teachers grant.
During my five-week immersive fellowship, I lived with a host family, attended Spanish classes 30 hours per week, toured local schools and important cultural sites, met local teachers and constantly interacted with people in Spanish.
English learners with disabilities are an underserved population in public schools. I am especially honored to have received a Fund for Teachers grant so I may work to change this. My improved Spanish language skills and understanding of Mexican culture will enhance my culturally- and linguistically-responsive assessment and treatment of this unique population.
I am also confident that my fellowship experiences will help me to be a more inclusive educator as I have improved my ability to communicate with Spanish-speaking families of students with disabilities. Additionally, the grant allowed me to purchase three speech-language pathology professional textbooks about issues specific to assessing English learners with disabilities and an additional 21 private Spanish lessons to continue my studies following my international fellowship.
Thank you again for an unparalleled learning experience that will impact my work with English learners with disabilities throughout my career.
Margaret Ross Elementary & Hopewell Elementary – Aliquippa, PA
Lana is a speech-language pathologist for the Hopewell Area School District in Pittsburgh. She has served students with disabilities in the public school for five years and was previously awarded the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for Women in Global Leadership, which funded a learning opportunity in France. Before school begins, Lana will speak to the district’s special education department about her experience living in a non-English speaking town in Mexico for five weeks, the power of home language use in instruction, and her experience visiting an inspiring local special education school for people with Down’s syndrome. She plans to serve as a resource for the department and students with communication disorders for years to come.