13 Local Teachers Win Grants For Summer Travel, Study

Sandra Storey, Gazette Staff
Jamaica Plain, MA

Jamaica Plain public school teachers have been awarded grants for summer travel and study; it was recently announced by the Boston Plan for Excellence (BPE), which gave the grants through the Fund for Teachers (FFT).

Thirteen of the 94 Boston Public Schools (BPS) teachers chosen to receive part of the $249,733 in grants live in JP. More winning teachers come from JP than from any other community.

JP resident teachers who will be able to travel and study this summer, often along with other teachers or students, and their projects, include:

Beth Balliro will visit historically significant murals in Mexico and learn of the impact of mural art.

Sabra Brown will take a course in fashion design at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Lynn Burke will visit and create a video of Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.

Kevin Freeley will travel to Hebel Province with the Inner-City Kids in China Program.

Kara Lysy will visit Cape Verde to learn about its culture.

Jennifer Miller will attend an international literacy conference in Havana and study Cuba’s literacy campaign.

Lucy Montgomery will travel to Kenya to research and write about the influence of Islam on Africa and China.

Ingrid Roche will take part in an Arabic language studies program in Morocco. Carla Ryder will explore the origins of the Olympics in Greece.

Paul Sedgwick will take Akonting (banjo) lessons in Gambia and create a drama unit.

Rosalba Solis, who teaches at the Hernandez, will tour Mexico to focus on ancient civilizations and take a music course there.

Kathleen Wright, a teacher at the Kennedy, will attend the Family Nature Camp at the College of the Atlantic.

Alice Yong will investigate Native American culture and other aspects of the Southeast US.

Five JP schools had teachers who were among those chosen, including the Hennigan, Hernandez, Kennedy and Young Achievers (with New Boston Pilot Middle School) elementary and K-8 schools and English High School.

More than 300 BPS teachers applied for a grant, either as individuals or as members of a teacher team, and grants range from $1,200 to $7,500.

FFT/Boston is affiliated with the national FFT foundation whose mission is to enrich the lives of school-teachers and students by providing recognition and opportunities for renewal to outstanding educators.

“We all expect teachers to use their own experiences to enrich their work with students,” said BPE executive director Ellen Guiney. “There is no better way than travel to learn and grow and deepen one’s knowledge. We are thrilled to be able to offer these extraordinary opportunities for professional and personal renewal to Boston’s very hard-working teachers.”

The grants will fund projects teachers have designed themselves. Twenty-two recipients won grants for individual projects, while 72 recipients were funded for a project they designed as a teacher team. In all, the 94 grant recipients will visit a total of 24 foreign countries and at least 17 states this summer.

FFT is the brainchild of Apache Corporation Chairman Raymond Plank, who started the foundation after years of educational philanthropic endeavors. Already established in six US cities, FFT expanded to Boston this year. In Boston, the program is administered by the BPE; these are the first grants BPE has awarded.

Established in 1984, the BPE has been the district’s primary partner in improving instruction for the last eight years. Led by a volunteer board of trustees, the nonprofit organization also manages with the district an independent teacher preparation and certification program and hosts Principal For A Day each fall.