Newsletter – Volume 12, Summer 2016

The Summer Olympics, migration and gender awareness top today’s headlines and this issue of Odyssey. More than 500 FFT Fellows are pursuing relevant, timely learning this summer – get inspired by a few of their stories here.

Read the latest issue of Odyssey, here.


Newsletter – Volume 12, Spring 2016

Read the latest issue of Odyssey, here.


The Ford Family Foundation and FFT

Original release appears on, accessible here.

February 12, 2016: The Ford Family Foundation is bringing the national Fund for Teachers grant program to Douglas County, Oregon, to support teacher-designed educational experiences that impact their practice, students and school communities.

This is the first year that the Foundation, in partnership with Fund for Teachers, is providing this opportunity to Douglas County public school teachers. Up to $50,000 total will be awarded to teachers in Douglas County.

Continue reading, here.

Apply for a Teacher Travel Grant This Summer

Original article appears on Edutopia, accessible here.

Summer is the perfect time to research and apply for a teacher travel grant. The key is to look in the right places and write a compelling application. Then, once you win an award, you might find yourself kayaking the length of the Mississippi River while developing a river ecology unit. (At least, that’s what one teacher did with a Fund for Teachers grant.)

To help you get started, here are some tips for writing winning proposals, inspiring articles, and a list of interesting travel grants that you might want to consider.

The Best Places to Look

Edutopia has covered travel grants in the past. Be sure to check out our blog posts on the subject, including Teacher-Tested Travel Grants, Five-Minute Film Festival: Travel for Teachers, and No-Cost Teacher Travel for more grant-writing tips and funding sources.

Plus, the Institute for International Education is an organization that anyone interested in educational travel should get to know. In addition to administering tons of interesting travel grant programs, the IIE is also a source for research, policy updates, and relevant resources for teachers.

  • Grosvenor Teacher Fellowships From National Geographic: Each year, National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions take K-12 geography teachers on expeditions around the world. Usually, 25 educators are selected for fellowship trips each year, and participants travel to exotic locations and participate in professional development and curriculum-building activities.
  • Fund for Teachers Fellowships: Fund for Teachers fellowships enable educators to design their own professional development programs. International and domestic travel are often included in grant proposals, and FFT has been supporting these grants since 2001. Additionally, FFT has links to some other great travel fellowships.
  • Global Classrooms Program From IREX: This Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs program is a year-long cultural exchange for middle and high school teachers. The program includes intensive training, an international field experience, and a global education symposium in Washington, D.C.
  • Toyota International Teacher Program: This program from Toyota and administered by IIE combines international travel and environmental education. Through the program, secondary educators from U.S. schools go on two- or three-week trips to learn about environmental issues and innovative solutions for environmental challenges.
  • Einstein Distinguished Fellows Program in STEM: The Einstein program enables teachers to advocate for STEM on Capitol Hill and/or Congressional offices for up to a year. The application process for the 2015-2016 school year opened in fall 2014.

Other Great Travel Grant Sources

  • Travel the World With Grants Just for Educators: This article from the National Education Association features ten scholarships designed to help teachers travel the world. Included are program details, funding amounts, and eligibility requirements for applications.
  • 35 Travel Grants and Other Travel Opportunities for Teachers and Education Professionals: Travel Beyond Excuse is a blog that is “helping teachers who want to travel.” This article features 35 sources for teacher travel grants, and in addition, you’ll find tons of ideas and strategies for traveling on the cheap.
  • Travel Grants From Teaching Traveling: Another website dedicated to education travel, Teaching Traveling is a great source of inspiration for educators looking for travel funding. In addition to the site’s Travel Grants section, you’ll find inspiring interviews with “teacher-travelers,” as well as ideas and tips for securing funding.

Writing an Awesome Application

Newsletter – Volume 11, Winter 2015

Teachers’ experiential learning inspires unique opportunities for students to learn, as well. Read about students in school gardens, the White Mountains, the Galapagos Islands, on stage and in Croatia as a result of FFT fellowships.

Read the latest issue of Odyssey, here.


TN Teacher Makes News, Promotes FFT Grants

Prior to an event recognizing the learning of our Chattanooga Fellows, a local new station highlighted the fellowship of one teacher who pursued literacy instruction at Columbia University. Watch her interview here.

Newsletter – Volume 11, Fall 2015

Follow our Fellows’ learning in Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the Florida Keys, British Columbia and Fiji this summer and read about plans for transforming their classrooms this fall.

Read the latest issue of Odyssey, here.


Washington Post: Teachers hit the road

Teachers hit the road over the summer to recharge, build new skills

Original article appears on, accessible here.

Posted on July 28, 2015

By: Michael Alison Chandler

For teachers across the country, the summer months mean training, not just vacation. They get called back to school to learn about the latest curriculum, reading strategies or behavior-management techniques.

And every summer, hundreds of teachers embark on their own professional development that they design themselves to pursue research or enhance their instruction, and they apply for grants to pay for them. Often, such training happens far from their schools, taking them to the rain forests of Costa Rica or to drumming circles in Brazil for field research and new skills that they can share when they return.

“We ask teachers to tell us, ‘What do you need to be better with your students and your school and your community, and how are you going to share what you learned?’ ” said Karen Webb, executive director of the Houston-based Fund for Teachers, which gives teachers grants to pay for their professional development plans.

The individual grants, in amounts of up to $5,000 for individual teachers and up to $10,000 for teams of teachers, help them pinpoint specific needs as they’re happening. The projects also can give teachers a way to recharge and reconnect with their passions and interests as scholars — an energy that they bring back to the classroom, she said.

Started in 2001 by Raymond Plank, founder of Apache Corp., an oil and gas company, the fund has given out $23.5 million to 6,300 preschool through high school teachers who have pursued research in 141 countries. This year it paid $1.8 million to 487 teachers.

Teachers in the District have participated in an excavation of the ancient Roman port city Ostia, an experience that aims to help students connect with Roman history, and have visited Hiroshima, Japan, where an atomic bomb was dropped, to create an educational documentary about history and cultural memory.

This summer, they are studying conflict resolution in Israel, the Arabic language in Morocco and martial arts in Brazil. One teacher from Capital City Public Charter School is traveling in Tanzania and Kenya to learn about Masai culture so she can build on a project offered at her school.

Another teacher from Paul Public Charter School traveled to Accra, Ghana, to learn about a “Reusable Bag Project,” so she can promote recycling and social entre­pre­neur­ship back home.

Heidi Batchelder, a reading specialist at Capital City, took part in two training opportunities to learn how to respond to students who have experienced trauma, as a number of students who live in poverty have, and to learn about the effect trauma can have on learning. She attended workshops in the District and at nearby Eastern Mennonite University and plans to share what she learned with other teachers when she returns to school.

She said that the training has given her some tools to help students in ways that are not solely academic. In the past, she said, if students shared something difficult from their personal life, she did not always know how to respond.

“I’m not a therapist, and that’s okay, but I can still put in place things that are therapeutic for my students,” she said.

Some teachers, like Batchelder, use the grants for workshops or course work that they pursue close to home.

Michael Martini, a world geography teacher at Alice Deal Middle School, said he seeks out travel opportunities whenever possible. He recently returned from a trip to Western Europe, where he studied organizations dedicated to international cooperation.

With stops in Geneva and Lausanne, Switzerland, he visited the International Red Cross and the International Olympic Committee, respectively. In Paris, he visited UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. And in Brussels, he met with someone at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters and toured the European Union Parliament.

He learned about different forms of diplomacy, through sportsmanship or trade or humanitarian aid, and he is bringing back ideas for new lessons and assignments for his students and those who are members of his Model United Nations club. For example, he plans to ask his students to nominate new landmarks to be recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

“I want my students to understand they can find diverse ways of connecting with people across the world,” he said.