Remembering D-day

“…a duty of memory, a duty of gratitude…”

On June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Normandy, commencing a march across Europe to defeat Hitler.

Nearly seventy Fund for Teachers Fellows are immersing themselves in world history this summer, but seven will focus their energy on understanding the historical importance of WWII and the events that transpired on D-day:

Connie Cox, Blue Spring, MO: Film key European World War II sites to inform the district’s new middle school Honors History curriculum and facilitate a student-made documentary of local war heroes.

Alexandra Edwards and Milagros Cruz, Brooklyn, NY: Investigate human rights abuses of the Holocaust and how Jewish communities rebuilt in Germany, Poland and the Netherlands to learn how communities teach tolerance education and apply these strategies to the implementation of a new student-centered Restorative Justice Program.

Amber and Gary Malone, New York, NY: Research in Japan how World War II and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are taught and perceived from the Japanese perspective through school and museum visits and interviews to develop a cross-curricular Social Studies and English Language Arts unit.

Nance Adler, Seattle, WA: Attend Centropa’s Summer Seminar in Vienna and Sarajevo to work with the first oral history project combining old family photos with stories of Holocaust survivors and instill values of empathy and tolerance in middle school students.

Natalie Biden, Bronx, NY: Conduct a comparative exploration through the American South and post-Holocaust Europe, researching the historical significance of past and present civil rights issues and the implications for urban students.

Additional D-day resources:

American Experience: Teacher Guide
Army Feature: Photos and Video
Henry Ford Museum: D-day 3D

$2 Million Awarded to Teachers

FFT Awards Millions to Educators for Innovative Learning Experiences
Trusts teachers to redefine professional development, one fellowship at a time

April 30, 2014 (HOUSTON) – Fund for Teachers, a national nonprofit that invests in teacher learning to advance student achievement, has awarded $2 million to teachers across America for self-designed learning experiences. This summer, 525 preK-12 teachers will pursue knowledge and skills they identified as essential to student success. Fellowship destinations include conferences, self-guided expeditions, fieldwork and service learning projects in 85 countries on 6 continents. A complete list of Fellows and their projects is available at

This form of personalized teacher learning contrasts with the more traditional, but less effective, professional development offered by most districts. More than 90% of teachers participate in workshop-style training sessions; yet studies show that short, one-shot workshops don’t change teacher practice and have no effect on student achievement. Alternatively, Fund for Teachers invites educators to choose the subject area and outlet for their professional development and provides $5,000 for individual grants or $10,000 for team grants.

“Fund for Teachers bridges the gap between what teachers have and what students need to advance academically,” said Karen Webb, Fund for Teachers’ executive director. “Fellows turn our initial investment into broadened perspectives and engaged learning – for themselves and their students. The result is a transformed career and classroom.”

Since 2001, Fund for Teachers has invested $22 million in the personal/professional growth of 6,000+ educators. This new class of Fellows will post updates throughout the summer on the organization’s blog, Facebook and Twitter feed. Teachers may begin applying for 2015 Fund for Teachers grants online beginning October 1.

Fund for Teachers enriches the personal and professional growth of teachers by recognizing and supporting them as they identify and pursue opportunities around the world that impact their practice, the academic lives of their students and school communities. For more information, visit

Teacher Visits WWII Sites on Fund for Teachers Fellowship; Discovers Grandfather’s Photo in RAF Museum

While researching D-Day sites across England and France on his Fund for Teachers fellowship, a Chicago teacher discovers a photo of his grandfather hanging in a wartime museum. He now uses his grandfather’s service to guide students’ exploration of World War II and the overarching question, “What makes people brave?”

Last July, with a Fund for Teachers grant, Dan Lundak set out to retrace his grandfather’s D-Day experience. The American History teacher planned to use his research to help eighth graders at Chicago’s Sauganash Elementary School personally connect with World War II. The pilgrimage grew more personal than expected, however, upon discovering his grandfather’s photograph hanging in a wartime museum.

Continue reading, here.

Thanking Teachers By Awarding $2 Million in Grants for Summer Fellowships

National nonprofit Fund for Teachers believes the key to improving teacher effectiveness lies in asking what teachers need to improve, then funding their individual growth strategies. For Teacher Appreciation Week, Fund for Teachers distributes $2 million in grants to 500+ teachers to narrow achievement gaps and enhance learning in 350 classrooms across the country.

Across the country this week, gift cards, cookies, bouquets and lattés remind teachers that they matter. National nonprofit Fund for Teachers joins the Teacher Appreciation Week celebration by distributing checks totaling $2 million to more than 500 preK-12 teachers for their self-designed summer fellowships.

2013 Houston Fellows

A complete list of grant winners, along with their fellowship descriptions, is available at

Fund for Teachers’ approach to improving teacher effectiveness involves recognizing and rewarding educators’ innovative ideas for improvement. Instead of applying a top-down, unilateral approach to professional development, Fund for Teachers asks individual teachers what they need to succeed. Teachers annually propose solutions for narrowing achievement gaps – theirs or their students’ – by pursuing new behavioral strategies, instructional techniques, curriculum enhancements or scholarly advancement. Fund for Teachers then supports teachers’ growth plans by funding summer odysseys to locations ranging from hometowns to distant continents.

Since 2001, Fund for Teachers has awarded $20 million in grants to more than 5,000 preK-12 teachers.

“Effective teachers model for their students a growth mindset of inquiry, engagement, and achievement,” said Karen Webb, Fund for Teachers’ executive director. “Fund for Teachers grants represent exemplary educators’ efforts to analyze growth areas, develop strategies for improvement and pursue deeper learning to leverage greater student success.”

When school lets out for the summer, Fund for Teachers grant recipients become the students – conducting field research, volunteering with community organizations, mastering new skills, strengthening command of a subject. Each self-designed fellowship increases teachers’ competency, confidence, and commitment to teaching. Most importantly, these odysseys culminate in broadened perspectives that directly transfer to students, classrooms and school communities.

The online application for 2014 grants is available beginning October 1, 2013. For more information, visit

About Fund for Teachers
Fund for Teachers enriches the personal and professional growth of teachers by recognizing and supporting them as they identify and pursue opportunities around the world that impact their practice, students and school communities.

Teachers in the following locations are currently eligible for Fund for Teachers grants: Alabama, Boston, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Louisiana, Minneapolis, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York City, Oakland, Oklahoma, San Francisco, Texas, Washington DC, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Fellows Study Bosnian Genocide

Pius X educators study Bosnian Genocide through Fund for Teachers summer fellowship
Neighboorhood Extra, Lincoln, Nebraska
December 04, 2012 4:33 pm • Article Submitted

This past summer, two Pius X teachers had the extraordinary hands-on opportunity to explore the historic and social impact of the Bosnian Genocide of the 1990s, thanks to a fellowship they received from Fund for Teachers. Through this grant, World Geography teacher Shiela Sievert and English teacher Sandra Sullivan travelled to Croatia and Bosnia to witness firsthand how the Balkan people have dealt with the aftermath of a modern genocide.

Fellow Moves Audience at Annual Fundraiser

Fund for Teachers annual fundraiser, Food for Thought, was a huge success thanks in great part to the moving speech given by Houston Fellow, Patricia Greenleaf. Watch as Patricia shares her fellowship’s impact on her teaching and the many at-risk students she serves.

What can WE do?

In 2011, Rayna Dineen studied the heritage and strategies of service at India’s renowned Riverside School and Gandhi’s ashram to enrich her school’s service learning program as her Fund for Teachers Fellowship.

She believes citizenship and service can transform the lives of children. A teacher for over 30 years, both in Santa Fe and points across the U.S., Rayna knows education is more than mastering academic knowledge. It is learning to be compassionate, kind citizens and standing up for what you know is right. Principal and co-founder of Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences, Rayna supervises a group of students who call themselves Youth United, who courageously took on the entrenched problem of literacy and asked themselves, “What can WE do?”.

Watch as Rayna shares her vision of education with TedX audiences.

This video originally appeared on TedX’s YouTube channel.

Reanimating Ötzi The Iceman In Forensics Class

This blog post originally appeared on, where she and other Fund for Teachers shared their summer fellowship experiences.

Forensics is a relatively new science course with limited curriculum available. For the last three years, I have been teaching a course I developed from scratch, and I am always looking for new and interesting ways to engage students. This summer, my search took me to Ötzi the Iceman, one of the most significant discoveries in forensic science.

Ötzi the Iceman comes from a distant and mysterious past. Twenty years ago, he was pulled out of the Alpine glacial ice in almost perfect condition, complete with clothes, tools, and visible tattoos. And there are unanswered questions surrounding his death, which took place thousands of years ago. He was originally thought to have been a lost herder that took a fatal wrong turn in the snowy Alps. But recent evidence points to a more sinister explanation, making Ötzi the earliest human for whom we have direct evidence of a possible murder.