Teachers Celebrate America with FFT Fellowships

“Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained.” –James A. Garfield, 20th president of US 1881

When given the chance to pursue summer learning opportunities of their dreams, the majority of Fund for Teachers Fellows choose far-flung destinations, soaking in different languages and cultures. But, for many, staying stateside holds the most promise.

Dozens of Fund for Teachers Fellows are exploring American themes this summer: Colonial living, the Civil War, lives of US Presidents and patriotic landmarks. In honor of our nation’s Independence Day, meet the Fellows who will make the spirit and history of America come alive in their classrooms this fall:

  • Patricia S. (Louisiana) will participate in Colonial Williamsburg’s Teacher Institute, learning from mentor teachers, museum staff, and character interpreters, to enhance teaching skills and develop an interdisciplinary approach to creatively teaching this era in American history;
  • Lori M. (Oklahoma) will explore patriotic landmarks in Washington DC and New York City to develop a curriculum that offers an overview of our government, appreciation for our traditions, and hands-on learning opportunities related to our country’s symbols;
  • Ray K. (Chicago) will embark on a driving tour of the geographical areas that shaped the lives of Franklin, Jefferson, Revere, and Washington to increase personal knowledge of the pre-revolutionary colonial era and facilitate students’ inquiry into citizens’ responsibility to confront challenges within their communities;
  • Rebecca F. (Boston) will explore the history of immigration by conducting research at Ellis Island and the Tenement Museum on New York’s Lower East Side to help students gain an appreciation for family members who immigrated to America and to create an interdisciplinary unit that engenders awareness and pride in family histories;
  • Team Underground Railroad (Houston) will visit Underground Railroad and national landmarks in New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC to broaden knowledge of the Black American experience and more seamlessly incorporate African-American history with general social studies;
  • Michael G. (Expeditionary Learning, North Carolina) will tour Civil War landmarks in South Carolina before attending the Civil Rights Institute for educators in Little Rock, AR, to reinforce the connection between key events, people and places comprising the historical struggle for civil liberties; and
  • Lou Ann J. (Oklahoma) will research her personal connection to the Civil War on a 15-day journey through the South before attending the Civil War Trust National Teacher Institute in Charleston, SC, to learn strategies for empowering students to undertake a similar research project using research and technology.

Immigration Issue Focus of Fellows’ Research

The Supreme Court ruled this week on Arizona’s 2010 immigration law; but the summer before that law went into effect, a team of three Taos, New Mexico teachers navigated the controversial border issue – literally. The teaching team of Ned Dougherty, Toni Wright and Josán Perales, teachers at Vista Grande High School, designed their Fund for Teachers grant to research the visible and invisible divisions established by personal and international borders. They focused their attention on the U.S.-Mexico border from the Sonoran region to El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Interviews included representatives from The Minuteman Project, Humane Borders, and the Border Patrol.

We share their timely research with you here in the form of their post-fellowship report detailing their adventure and a newsletter article previously published. Ned applied for and was awarded a 2012 FFT grant to continue the borders research begun in 2009, this time conducting an ethnographic study chronicling the tenuous peace between Catholics and Protestants of Belfast, Ireland, to facilitate students’ perception of prejudice and violence as invisible, yet powerful, borders. You can follow his fellowship at teachpoet.com.

PBS Spotlights Louisiana Fellows

PBS’ South Eastern Education Desk produced a piece about two Louisiana Fellows’ upcoming fellowship to Canada. Danyé Pelichet and Demetria Scott will traverse Acadian communities in Canada to help students make connections with the settlers who migrated to Louisiana centuries ago and imprinted their culture and customs permanently within the state’s collective story. The “French Connection” team are two of our first class of Fellows since going statewide in the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.

Special thanks to PBS’ Southern Education Desk and producer Sue Lincoln for this piece.

Newsletter – Volume 8, Summer 2012

In this issue of Odyssey, we look at WHY teachers designed their particular fellowships, and HOW they plan to translate their summer experiences into students’ success when they return to their class- rooms this fall.

Read our recent newsletter, Odyssey.

 

Fund for Teachers Grant Inspires Replication of Lewis & Clark’s Journey

Elementary school teachers use Fund for Teachers grant to retrace explorers’ 7,000 mile cross-country route: Return to create scaled-down version for students in forests behind school; Trails dedicated to fallen war hero prior to Memorial Day. 

Read the press release, here.

FFT Fellow to Carry Olympic Torch

Sean Brooks’ 2010 Fund for Teachers fellowship was to enhance his school’s new dual-language program by traveling to Dominica and enrolling in Spanish language courses and visiting local schools.

Boston teacher will carry the Olympic Flame in
London 2012 Summer Olympic Torch Relay
Dorchester educator selected to represent the United States

BOSTON – A Boston Public Schools teacher will represent the United States in the prestigious Olympic Torch Relay before the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Sean Brooks, a resident of Dorchester, is English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at the Dever-McCormack K-8 School in Dorchester. He will carry the Olympic Flame for 300 meters in Dalkeith, Scotland, on June 14.

Sean is one of five outstanding teachers from the United States pre-selected to be a torchbearer through a program sponsored by Samsung Electronics America. “I am honored and thrilled to represent my country, my school, and my fellow teachers as an Olympic Torchbearer,” he said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I will remember forever.”

The 2012 Summer Olympics Torch Relay will begin on May 19, when the torch arrives from Greece, and continue for 70 days along an 8,000-mile route throughout the United Kingdom (plus a stop in Dublin, Ireland), ending in London on July 26.

Sean is designing a unit to teach his students about the Olympics, using the international event to help students learn about geography, history, sports, and more. Many of Sean’s students were born outside of the United States, including children born in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.

Sean was nominated for the honor by Maria Fenwick, Executive Director of organization Teach Plus Boston, a non-profit organization focused on teacher leadership. Sean is an alumnus of the Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellows program, in which he advocated with other public school teachers for policy changes to elevate the teaching profession.

Sean has been teaching for 10 years, including the past six years at the Dever-McCormack. In addition to his teaching responsibilities at the school, Sean has pursued grants for classroom materials, designed after-school English classes for parents, and planned multi-sensory lessons to engage his English Language Learner students, including a non-fiction reading unit that culminated with students planting a vegetable garden. Sean also serves as a teachers’ union building representative and as a mentor for the Boston Teacher Residency program.

“Sean is an outstanding teacher leader in an urban ‘turnaround school’ that has been underperforming for several years,” wrote Ms. Fenwick. “Despite numerous changes in school leadership and frequent staff turnover, Sean has stayed through the turmoil to provide consistent leadership for students and peer teachers alike. He has an unwaveringly positive attitude and goes above and beyond to help his school succeed.”

Teach Plus is a national non-profit based in Boston whose mission is to improve outcomes for urban children by ensuring that a greater proportion of students have access to effective, experienced teachers. Teach Plus runs three programs designed to place teacher leaders at the center of reform: Teaching Policy Fellows, the T+ Network, and T3: Turnaround Teacher Teams. The programs focus on demonstrably effective teachers who want to continue classroom teaching while also expanding their impact as leaders in their schools and in national, state, and district policy. Teach Plus began with 16 founding teachers from urban district and charter schools in Greater Boston. Since its inception as a non-profit in August 2009, Teach Plus has grown to a network of more than 7,000 solutions-oriented teachers in six major cities across the country. www.teachplus.org

To view the full release, click here.

NYT: A Spotlight on Teaching, Not Teachers

Fund for Teachers Board of Directors member, Robert Hughes, is a contributor to these letters to the editor, responding to Joe Nocera’s article, Gates Puts the Focus on Teaching. Tell us what you would like to say to those making education policy at facebook.com/fundforteachers.

CPS Board Honors Outstanding Teachers

On the eve of National Teacher Day, the Cincinnati Board of Education recently…showcased seven other CPS teachers recently named as 2012 Fund for Teachers Fellows for summer travel and research, designed to develop engaging, thought-provoking classroom lessons for their students. More than $30,000 was awarded to Cincinnati educators through the program, locally sponsored by the Strive Partnership.

Read the article in it’s entirety, here.