Permian Basin K-12 Educators Eligible for Fund for Teachers Grants

Teachers: Design Your Ideal Summer Odyssey & Bring Learning Back to Students

(September 30, 2011) HOUSTON – Venture capitalists for teachers – that describes Fund for Teachers. But instead of investing in innovative ideas, Fund for Teachers invests in innovative teachers. This national nonprofit invites eligible educators to propose their ideal learning experience through an online application beginning October 1. If selected, teachers receive up to $10,000 to put their plans into action during summer 2012.

“The starting point for a Fund for Teachers fellowship is a curious teacher seeking opportunities to grow personally and professionally,” explained Karen Kovach-Webb, Fund for Teachers’ executive director. “With Fund for Teachers grants, these teachers then pursue experiences that inspire classrooms and motivate the students shaping our world.”

Unlike other teacher grant opportunities, Fund for Teachers puts virtually no limitations on teachers’ requests. Any destination or discipline is fair game, as evidenced by the 433 teachers from across America who traveled in 116 countries on 7 continents last summer. Since 2001, 4,500 teachers leveraged $15.9 million in FFT grants into global odysseys that perpetually impact students, classrooms and communities back home.

“Embarking on an educational adventure that I designed brought my teaching full circle and made me the student again,” said Kylee Shipp, teacher at Silverton School of Expeditionary Learning in Silverton, CO. “By exploring the relationship between art and history in Mexico, I was able to take the time to think about my own learning processes and subsequently construct culturally relevant content for my students. Fund for Teachers provided me with the amazing gift of inspiration that I now share with my diverse population of students.”

Fund for Teachers’ founding sponsor, Apache Corporation, invited the nonprofit to make this opportunity available to Permian Basin teachers.

“Teachers are charged with preparing students with the requisite tools and skills to become our civic and corporate leaders of tomorrow,” said John Christmann, Apache Corporation’s regional vice president for the Permian Basin. “That’s why Apache believes in supporting teachers’ life-long learning. We know that teachers are preparing our next generation of global citizens.”

Application guidelines and helpful tips accompany the online application at fundforteachers.org. The deadline for submitting proposals is January 27, 2012; candidates are notified by April.

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, their students and their schools. For more information, visit www.fundforteachers.org.

Following in the Footsteps of a World War II Veteran

Humble, TX, Teacher Retraces Namesake’s Steps – from Point of Engagement to Final Resting Place – to Make Soldiers’ Sacrifices Relevant for Students

(Houston) November 10, 2011 – On June 5, 1944, Silas DuFrene stood on the Cliffs of Dover facing his ultimate fate across the English Channel. Sixty-seven years later, his nephew and namesake stood in the same place, pondering his uncle’s sacrifice and preparing for a 15-day pilgrimage to help students at Eagle Springs Elementary tackle the question “Why do soldiers fight and serve?”

Armed with an $4,100 Fund for Teachers grant last June, Silas DuFrene retraced a World War II soldier’s journey–from his uncle’s engagement point in England to his final resting place in Epinal, France. DuFrene’s itinerary included London’s Imperial War Museum, soldiers’ barracks and the British Museum’s WWII archives. He followed his uncle’s journey to the beaches of Normandy, adding stops at the Hôtel Meruice, a Nazi command post during the occupation of Paris, and the Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation commemorating the memory of more than 200,000 people sent to concentration camps. Silas also left for Krakow, Poland, to experience Auschwitz. His tour ended where his uncle’s did, at the American Cemetery in Epinal, France.

“At the end of my fellowship, I understood why our soldiers go to war and fight. To protect the life of another is truly a high calling.”

“I wanted students to understand why soldiers, like my uncle, fought and died in this war. But helping young children visualize the people and events of World War II as real and relevant, rather than facts in a book, is daunting,” explained DuFrene. “On my fellowship, I visited key places and collected information to help students grasp our soldiers’ dedication to protecting those who are unable to protect themselves.”

“I can recall the moment I walked onto the D-Day beaches in Normandy. It was almost as if I could hear the chaos of that military invasion nearly 70 years ago,” said DuFrene. “I felt such a sense of such gratitude for the sacrifice those men displayed that day. As I walked around the memorial cemetery, I the true enormity of that sacrifice overwhelmed me. And after visiting Auschwitz at the end of my fellowship, I understood why our soldiers go to war and fight. To protect the life of another is truly a high calling.”

Three New States Eligible for Fund for Teachers Grants

For the first time, national nonprofit Fund for Teachers invites Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi educators to design ideal summer odyssey and bring learning back to students. Teachers propose what they want to learn and where; if selected, Fund for Teachers awards up to $10,000 to make it happen.

Houston, TX (PRWEB) November 09, 2011

Venture capitalists for educators – that describes Fund for Teachers. But instead of investing in innovative ideas, Fund for Teachers invests in innovative teachers. And this year, for the first time, this national nonprofit invites educators from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to propose their ideal learning experience. If selected, teachers receive up to $10,000 to put their plans into action during summer 2012.

Unlike other teacher grant opportunities, Fund for Teachers puts virtually no limitations on teachers’ requests. Any destination or discipline is fair game, as evidenced by the 433 teachers from across America who traveled in 116 countries on 7 continents last summer. Since 2001, 4,500 teachers leveraged $15.9 million in FFT grants into global odysseys that perpetually impact students, classrooms and communities back home.

Fund for Teachers’ founding sponsor, Apache Corporation, invited the nonprofit to make this opportunity available to teachers in these three areas.

“The starting point for a Fund for Teachers fellowship is a curious teacher seeking opportunities to grow personally and professionally,” explained Karen Kovach-Webb, Fund for Teachers’ executive director. “With Fund for Teachers grants, these teachers then pursue experiences that inspire classrooms and motivate the students shaping our world.”

“Traveling to five European countries in a three-week time frame afforded me the experiences I needed to fully believe in myself and strengthened the dynamic of the interaction with my students,” said Margaret Atkinson, teacher at Northwestern Middle School in Zachary, LA. With her Fund for Teachers grant, Atkinson traversed Europe researching individuals’ resistance to intolerance during World War II to demonstrate for students the power of an individual and the dangerous implications of intolerance.

“Embarking on an educational adventure that I designed brought my teaching full circle and made me the student again,” said Kylee Shipp, teacher at Silverton School of Expeditionary Learning in Silverton, CO. “By exploring the relationship between art and history in Mexico, I was able to take the time to think about my own learning processes and subsequently construct culturally relevant content for my students. Fund for Teachers provided me with the amazing gift of inspiration that I now share with my diverse population of students.”

“Teachers are charged with preparing students with the requisite tools and skills to become our civic and corporate leaders of tomorrow,” said Jon Jeppesen, Apache Corporation’s executive vice president for Gulf of Mexico operations. “That’s why Apache believes in supporting teachers’ life-long learning. We know that teachers are preparing our next generation of global citizens.”

Application guidelines and helpful tips accompany the online application at fundforteachers.org. The deadline for submitting proposals is January 27, 2012; candidates are notified by April.

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, their students and their schools. For more information, visit fundforteachers.org.

Houston Fellows Appear on HISD Student Achievement Show

2011 Houston Fellows Kristina Long, Terri Marsh and José Torres appeared on HISD School Board President Paula Harris’ television program, “Student Achievement Show”. They shared information about their summer projects, implementation plans, and how other teachers can benefit from a Fund for Teachers fellowship.

Thank you Kristina, Terri and Jose for representing Fund for Teachers!

Oklahoma Fellows Tour German Auto Plants

by Silas Allen
The Stillwater News Press

STILLWATER, Okla. — As a part of a program designed to help teachers bring the world into their classrooms, two automotive instructors at Meridian Technology Center took a trip over the summer to the birthplace of the automobile.

David Shields and Shelly Smith went to Germany recently to tour auto manufacturing facilities there. The trip was funded by a grant from Fund for Teachers, a program designed to enrich K-12 education.

The two instructors toured auto manufacturing facilities in Stuttgart and Munich. During the trip, they toured plants owned by BMW, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

One of the more interesting aspects of the trip, Shields said, was seeing the differences in the attitudes toward cars between Germany and the United States. While the Germans take as much pride in their cars as Americans, their driving habits are different, particularly in urban areas, he said.

When Germans commute into a major city, rather than driving to their place of work, they’ll typically park in a commuter lot on the outskirts of the city and take a train into the city, Shields said.

That style of commuting is possible, Smith said, because light rail systems in major urban areas like Stuttgart and Munich are so comprehensive. Unlike urban areas in middle America like Dallas and Kansas City, urban areas in Germany are designed to allow commuters to get anywhere in the city limits without the use of a car.

“If you knew what train to take, you could get there,” Smith said.

Each of the factories Shields and Smith toured included a museum chronicling the history of the company. Those museums included details on how existing technology came to be, Shields said.

For example, he said, the Mercedes-Benz museum has a display that includes the world’s first automobile, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Being in the same room as that kind of history was a great experience, Shields said.

The museum did a good job of explaining how engineers had produced the car simply by trying their options, finding out what didn’t work and learning from their mistakes, he added; one of the exhibits in the museum lists ideas that ultimately failed, but allowed the engineers eventually to build a working product.

“It was just trial and error,” he said.

Smith said he was also impressed with the so-called fit and finish, or alignment, spacing and security of the car’s components. By today’s standards, he said, it might not be impressive, but considering the engineers were working with a brand-new product and using 19th-century technology, the car was remarkably well assembled.

Although they recently returned from the trip, Shields and Smith said they’re already working to incorporate lessons they learned in Germany into their courses. The two took about 1,200 photos during the trip, and they said they hope to be able to use them to show students what the inside of a German auto manufacturing plant looks like.

Another idea they hope to incorporate into their classes is the use of virtual tours. Many German auto factories offer online virtual tours of their facilities, as do several factories in the United States and Japan. Those tours could allow the students to compare an American auto plant — for instance, the Ford F-150 plant in Dearborn, Mich. — with one in Europe to see what methods are different and what are similar.

As important as it is to show students the inner workings of German factories, it’s also important to give them an idea of the culture surrounding the German auto industry, Shields said. To that end, he said, the two instructors won’t simply be giving students an overview of auto factories, but they’ll also be discussing German culture and geography.

From Umbria to Ulaanbaatar

Many thanks to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) for featuring Fund for Teachers in their latest edition of Education Update. Read here about three Fellows who shared their “experiences of transformative personal and professional growth achieve through exciting, death-defying, and enlightening adventures” for the article.

“Disability is not inability. Give me a chance to prove it.”

Fund for Teachers Fellows Danielle Merdin and Terri Wellner traveled to Kenya to establish a Virtual Information Project partnership with classes at Nairobi’s Kilimani Public School, an inclusive school for students with disabilities, similar to their school in Boston. Watch their touching documentary here.

Students honor McAuliffe legacy with science fair

Sarah Thomas
The Boston Globe

FRAMINGHAM – A quarter century after high school teacher Christa McAuliffe died on the space shuttle Challenger, a new generation of students honored the teacher’s legacy Thursday evening with a science fair held at her alma mater, Framingham State University.

“More than anything else, Christa was about teaching,” said Mary Liscombe, executive director of the Christa McAuliffe Center for Education and Teaching Excellence, which is based on the campus. “Her story reinforces the message that anyone can live their dreams, and that message endures through teachers who inspire their students to learn.”

Training for the Challenger flight included some lighter moments for Framingham State grad Christa McAuliffe (left), chosen as the first teacher in space, and her backup, Barbara Morgan. (Nasa via Associated Press/File 1986)

The fair, which showcased the work of McAuliffe Regional Charter Public Middle School’s eighth-grade students, was the capstone of the center’s memorial for McAuliffe and the six other crew members who died on Jan. 28, 1986.

Hundreds of people crowded into the McCarthy Center Forum at Framingham State for the evening’s events, which included short speeches by Liscombe and state Senator Karen Spilka.

“This is a bittersweet celebration,” Spilka said. “Christa is an inspiration to us all, and it’s great to see such a packed room. My thanks to all the students that participated. You are our future.”

Grace Corrigan, McAuliffe’s mother, was scheduled to appear, but was unable to attend.

The fair was conceived by Dan Anderson, McAuliffe Regional’s eighth-grade science teacher. Despite his school being named after such a famous crew member of the Challenger, Anderson said that until last year, he didn’t know much about space.

“It wasn’t on our curriculum. We focused on cells and genetics, and that’s where my passion really was,” Anderson said. “I didn’t have as much genuine excitement for space science, and I think my students could tell that.”

Luckily, Anderson had a solution: space camp. With the help of McAuliffe Regional’s director, Kristin Harrison, Anderson applied for a grant from the Fund for Teachers to spend a week at the Space Academy for Educators in Huntsville, Ala.

“Part of the grant was bringing some part of my experience back, and this fair was the way we decided to do it,” Anderson said. “We have learned so much. The students at our school learn experientially, and they have interviewed space scientists from all over the world. I love space now!”

One student, Matthew Yaeger, wore a regulation NASA space suit to present his research on propulsion in space, and said he has wanted to be an astronaut since the second grade.

“It was a great project,” said Yaeger, who collaborated with his friend Jacob Komissar. “We went to Worcester Polytechnic and talked to a lot of scientists. It was kind of cool, because I had all these ideas of how propelling space ships could work, and then I found out NASA had been thinking of the same things.”

Another student, Caroline Boldt, said she didn’t have much of an interest in space before she started her project on Pluto with her friend Shannon Pruyn.

“My favorite subject is biology, but when I grow up I want to do something in the arts,” Boldt said. “Now I think I’ll have to do pictures of space in my art.”

The evening’s events also included archival displays from the Christa McAuliffe collections, and performances at the Challenger Learning Center planetarium.

The students who participated in the fair put themselves in contention for a grand prize trip to space camp in the summer by writing short essays about what the project taught them.

Sarah Thomas can be reached at sarah.m.thomas@gmail.com.

© Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company.