A World of Knowledge

Fund helps teachers learn lessons about other cultures

Rich Fahey
The Atlanta Educator

The Atlanta Education Fund and a nationally-known non-profit group that supports teachers have joined forces to help 18 APS teachersí dreams come true… and students will benefit as well.

This summer, those 18 teachers who have received Fund for Teachers fellowships worth $77,114 will embark on adventures such as helping to conserve and expand the population of Giant Pandas in China or assisting teachers and students in Ghana in harvesting bio diesel fuel from household resources, while offering English instruction.

The Fund for Teachers is a non- profit group that helps teachers pursue self designed programs that promote summer learning and exploration. Teachers submit proposals detailing how their fellowship will make them better teachers and how their improved skills will be implemented in the classroom. Teachers are awarded grants based on merit.

To date, more than 4,000 teachers from across the United States have received more than $12 million in grants to study and travel in 110 countries on all seven continents. In 2008, the Atlanta Education Fund became the Fund for Teachers’ newest community partner. The AEF’s mission is to galvanize community support to accelerate and sustain student achievement in Atlanta Public Schools.

ìI am excited about this partnership between the Atlanta Education Fund and Fund for Teachers,” said Hosanna Johnson, AEF President. “In all oftheworkwedoto support the district, the quality of Atlanta’s schools is only as good as the quality of the teachers. We are happy to be part of a program that gives back to those who most deserve it.”

Last summer, Michell Carter of Sarah Smith Elementary School volunteered with the Earthwatch Institute,
assessing the endangered hawksbill turtles on a remote island off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. In the evenings she collected vast amounts of plastic products that washed up on the once pristine shoreline.

When she returned to Atlanta, Carter documented the amount of trash each student produced, and led the effort to reduce the amount of plastic waste by up to 60 percent in some classrooms.

Last summer, through the Atlanta Fund for Teachers, Gideons Elementary teacher Darlene Dobbs explored the discoveries of ancient Egyptians in the areas of science, math and linguistics.

Sarah Smith Elementary teacher Michell Carter assisted scientists in gathering data on the hawksbill turtles, an endangered species, in the Great Barrier Reef last summer.

Here are the 2009 Atlanta Fund for Teachers Fellows, their schools and what each will be doing this summer.

Sam Bean, Langston Longley
Stanton D. H. Elementary
Travel to Japan to observe and learn various techniques for teaching critical thinking math skills.

Terri Dunson
Rivers Elementary
Volunteer with the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China, focusing on wildlife conservation and scientific research.

Sabrina Harris
Bolton Academy
Live with a family in Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica, taking daily Spanish classes through the Study Abroad, Inc., program.

Charon Kirkland, Woodson Elementary, and Lorrae Walker, Scott Elementary
Attend a tropical ecology and conservation workshop on the island Dominica through the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to identify better strategies for teaching ecology in the classroom.

Angela Nelson
Garden Hills Elementary
Observe teaching strategies and cultural differences in Jordan and Egypt as related to ESL students.

Xylecia Taylor
Williams Elementary
Assist teachers and students in Ghana to harvest biodiesel fuel from house- hold resources while offering English instruction.

Traci West
Bolton Academy
Study Hispanic culture through the Equinox Spanish School in Ecuador to develop and enhance teaching and learning skills.

Reosha Bush and Tiedra Hutchings
Crim Open Campus High School
Study the English perspective of American colonist James Oglethorpe by exploring early colonial England, and research information on the founding of Georgia.

Sydney Butler
Crim Open Campus High School
Attend an international special education conference in Spain to acquire knowledge about the practic of special education in other countries.

Reginald Colbert, North Atlanta High School, and Nat Colbert, Sutton Middle School
Participate in the Verbier Festival Academy in Verbier, Switzerland, to observe and research strategies used in master classes and chamber music coaching.

Amy Leonard
Grady High School
Explore life, death and entertainment in ancient Rome through a tour of archaeological sites in southern Italy.

Neville McFarlane
Jackson High School
Attend a photovoltaic design & installation workshop at Solar Energy International in Colorado, to promote renewable energy in schools.

Beverly Easterling
Kennedy Middle School
Study racial reconciliation and restorative justice in South Africa to develop a more positive climate in the school setting and community.

Breverly Littles
Young Middle School
Benefit from an immersion program in Spain to enhance language skills, improve knowledge of the country and research African influences on Spanish culture.