Boston Public Schools Teachers Win Grants for Summer Travel & Study

For the fourth year, the Boston Plan for Excellence (BPE) has awarded grants to teachers for summer travel and study as part of its Fund for Teachers/Boston (FFT) initiative with the Boston Public Schools (BPS).

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For the coming summer, 34 BPS teachers have won $127,500 in grants to visit 17 foreign countries and three states. Individual grants range from $2,210 to a maximum of $5,000; the maximum for team grants is $7,500. With these awards, to date more than 200 teachers in the city’s public schools have won grants totaling $700,000 and traveled to more than 50 countries and dozens of states. Lists of winners from all four years with project descriptions are at www.bpe.org.

FFT/Boston grants fund projects that teachers design to pursue a special interest, research an area they teach, or broaden their own learning about another culture. A Wilson Middle School teacher will travel through Israel, Jordan, and Egypt to enrich with personal experience the unit he teaches on Mesopotamia. A team of five teachers from the Gardner Extended Services School in Allston will participate in intensive Spanish-language instruction in the Dominican Republic and then volunteer at a children’s center there. Two teachers from the Horace Mann School for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing will also study Spanish but in Peru, then help out at an orphanage for deaf children in Cusco. With one of two Teachers as Artists (TAA) grants awarded through FFT/Boston, an artist-educator from the McKinley South End Academy will study painting and printmaking in New York City and explore the city’s museums and galleries.

Two teachers who live and/or teach in South Boston, Megan Wise and Erin McDonough, will be seeing the world this summer, thanks to grants from the Boston Plan for Excellence. Photo: Ian Drumm.

“For Boston’s teachers, this is an extraordinary opportunity,” said Ellen Guiney, Executive Director of the Boston Plan for Excellence. “The nature of teaching is to open the world to students, and Fund for Teachers/Boston allows educators to experience the world so that what they bring back to the classroom is authentic and meaningful.” Superintendent Michael G. Contompasis added, “This is a win-win program, for teachers and students.”

Fund for Teachers/Boston is affiliated with the national Fund for Teachers (FFT) foundation, founded by Apache Corporation Chairman Raymond Plank. Already established in Denver, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Tulsa, New York, and Houston, FFT expanded to Boston in 2004 and is administered by the Boston Plan for Excellence. TAA grants are underwritten by the Surdna Foundation and an anonymous foundation.

Established as the city’s local education foundation by the corporate and foundation communities in 1984, the Boston Plan for Excellence has been for the last eleven years the district’s primary partner in improving instruction. Led by a volunteer board of trustees, the nonprofit organization also manages Boston Teacher Residency, an independent teacher preparation and licensure program, and hosts Principal For A Day each fall.