Virginia Lombard: East is East and West is West and here the twain shall meet

Alexandra Bowers, The Charlestown Bridge

When Charlestown resident and teacher Virginia Lombard returns to Charlestown High School in the fall, she’ll have quite a tale to tell about her summer vacation.

Lombard will travel for three weeks in mainland China, courtesy of a grant from the Fund for Teachers, a Boston Plan for Excellence program that funds summer travel and study for Boston public school teachers.

“The Fund for Teachers is free-form,” said Lombard. “You make your own trip and find your own connections.” She added that sometimes an idea will come from someone’s trip of a previous year, and that teachers often find connections through local residents.

Lombard, who teaches Java programming and Web design, hopes to study how computer technology is used at several Chinese high schools, and to establish relationships that will continue after her return to the U.S.

For Lombard one reason she decided to apply for the grant is that Charlestown High School is reorganizing its class structure. The emphasis across the school will be on small learning communities to focus on the skills that each group of students needs to concentrate on.

Lombard will be in the bilingual unit, which teaches English skills to Chinese and Hispanic students. Roughly 15 percent of Charlestown High School students are in the Chinese bilingual program.

“There are a lot of students who have been in the U.S. for only one or two years, and they need the ESL classes,” said Lombard, adding that there are large groups of students from Hong Kong and from the nearby province of Guandong.

“It’s primarily Chinese and some Spanish-speaking students that sign up for Web design,” said Lombard, adding that some elective courses, including the ones she teaches, will be open to the whole school.

Lombard used the tools of her trade to set up her trip. She surfed the Web to find the sites of Chinese high schools and then wrote emails to explain her goals and set up her visits to the schools. All the schools have staff members who are fluent in English, which has made the planning easy.

“I talked with [the schools], and they said they’re advanced in what they’re doing,” said Lombard. “I’m looking to see what they’re doing with technology in the schools. I want them to show me and talk about things.”

Lombard will travel in China for three weeks, leaving on July 28. She will visit high schools in four cities – Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an and Chongqing. There will be time before her return for a boat cruise down the Yangzi River to see the Three Gorges before a giant dam under construction fills them in.

In addition to visiting high schools and speaking with teachers, Lombard hopes to learn about the culture and diversity of China as she travels through the country. She also has a list of sites to visit that includes the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the terra-cotta tombs of the First Emperor.

Lombard won’t be alone during her trip. Her niece, Caroline Turner, is a junior at Winchester High School. Turner is also the sports editor of her high school newspaper. When Lombard asked her if she would like to visit China, Turner’s reaction was immediate.

“She was so excited that she had her passport in the works the next day,” said Lombard.

Both Lombard and Turner are learning Mandarin Chinese using an audio foreign language course. “I’m trying to teach myself Mandarin. I drive around and people think I’m talking to myself,’ said Lombard.

Next week she’ll get a chance to find out if she’s pronouncing things correctly or not. And when she returns to her home in Charlestown, she’ll have even more chances to practice with her students as she bridges the digital divide between East and West.

Fellow Testimonial – Lori Davis

Fund for Teachers kicks off campaign

River Oaks Examiner

Fund for Teachers recently recognized its 2005 fellows at a special award ceremony at the Intercontinental Hotel.

Business leaders from around the city have joined forces to participate in the newly formed Houston Leadership Committee raising money for the Fund for Teachers Houston 2005-2006 campaign. Funds raised will be used to permanently endow summer sabbaticals for Houston-area teachers.

FFT grants will be awarded to teachers who work with students in grades K-12 and have a minimum of three years teaching experience. Participants will be selected based on how their summer fellowship will make the applicant a better teacher, how improved skills and capacity will be implemented in the classroom and how the teachers’ improved skills or capacity will benefit students, curricula and the school.

Founded by Apache Corp. Chairman Raymond Plank, the foundation’s enrichment fund is supported by individual and corporate donors.

Houston Leadership Committee raising money for FFT campaign

Friendswood Journal

Houston – The Houston business community is in a great position to give back to Houston-area teachers. Business leaders from around the city have joined forces to actively participate in the newly formed Houston Leadership Committee raising money for the Fund for Teachers (FFT) Houston 2005-2006 campaign. Funds raised will be used to permanently endow summer sabbaticals for Houston-area teachers. Bob Peebler, CEO and President of Input/Output and this year’s Campaign Chair recently said in regards to the 2004-05 Houston based Fund for Teachers campaign, titled Energy for Teachers “Since the fund was originally launched as Energy for Teachers, we have work to do to educate other businesses in Houston of the value of the Fund. It’s important that this year we increase the participation of oil companies verses mainly the energy service sector; we want to expand our participation to the non-energy sectors of Houston. I’m confident that we can expand outside of the energy sector, even though it will continue to be a significant target for our funding.” Adding to that, second year steering committee member Kurt Hoffman, Vice President of Marketing at Noble Drilling, said “This year we are looking forward to targeting a broader scope of area businesses in an effort to increase our fundraising potential which will in turn benefit a greater number of educators.”

Houston Leadership committee members for the 2005-06 Fund for Teachers endowment campaign include: Campaign Chair – President and CEO of Input/Output, Bob Peebler, Gala Chair President, Senior Vice President, Global Operations, Energy Service Group of Halliburton Company, David King; CEO and COO of Apache Corporation, G. Steven Farris; President and COO of Nabors Industries Ltd., Tony Petrello; President and CEO of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Jim Hackett; Vice President of Marketing of Noble Corporation, Kurt Hoffman; Chairman and CEO of Noble Corporation, James C. Day; Managing Partner with Baker Botts LLP, Walt Smith; Managing Director of RBC Capital Markets, Linda Stephens; President, North and South America for Schlumberger, Oilfield Services, John Yearwood and Chairman and CEO of National Oilwell, Peter Miller.

FFT is a unique public foundation whose mission is to enrich the lives of school teachers and students by providing outstanding teachers with recognition and opportunities for renewal. FFT provide funds for direct grants to teachers to support learning opportunities of their own design. It is estimated that the grant reaches 3,000 students over a span of a teacher’s career.

Newsletter – Volume 1, Summer 2005

In This Issue:
The Big Apple For Teachers
Evaluating teacher growth, practices

Read our recent newsletter, Odyssey.



Good Day Tulsa: 82 Tulsa teachers return to the classroom this year with fellowship experiences

Health and Fitness Magazine

Fund For Teachers provides funds for direct grants to teachers to support learning opportunities. Kurt Hoffman, vice president of marketing for Nobel Corporation, Linda Stephens, managing director for RBC Capital Markets and Mark White, former Texas Governor and president of H.I.S.D. Foundation.

Jones Apparel Group Pledges Long-term Financial and Corporate Commitment to Teachers and announces Campaign: Jones New York In the Classroom

Teachers will benefit through local Fund for Teachers organization

May 3, 2005 – Jones Apparel Group, Inc. (NYSE: JNY) announced today on National Teacher Day the launch of its first corporate-wide cause program, Jones New York In the Classroom. This nationwide program aims to improve the quality of education for children through the recruitment, retention and support of teachers in America’s public schools. Carrying its signature brand’s name, the Jones New York In The Classroom program not only commits dollars to support America’s teachers, but expansive human resources as well. Jones Apparel Group’s employee network, combined with the support of four leading national non-profit organizations, provides the strength needed to bring the program to life in communities across the country.

Fund for Teachers was one of the four beneficiary nonprofits selected by Jones New York to participate in this national campaign. Fund for Teachers (FFT) is a unique public foundation whose mission is to enrich the lives of schoolteachers and students by providing outstanding teachers with recognition and opportunities for renewal. FFT provides funds for direct grants to teachers to support learning opportunities of their own design. FFT impacts teachers, classrooms, schools and students. Founded by Apache Corp. Chairman, Raymond Plank, the foundation’s enrichment fund is supported by individual and corporate donors.

“This summer teachers from many various US cities will benefit from our grants program,” states Fund for Teachers Executive Director, Karen Kovach-Webb. “Next year we hope to provide grants for even more teachers. The Jones Apparel Group is helping Americans understand how vitally important it is to nurture and invest in teachers. Jones New York In the Classroom will help raise awareness of teachers, the most important resource for our country’s future,” added Kovach-Webb.

Experts predict that two million more new teachers will be needed over the next decade, while recent studies show that approximately one-third of the nation’s teachers leave the profession during the first three years and almost half in the first five years. Research also confirms that not only are teachers the single most important factor in raising student achievement, but the ever-growing teacher shortage has challenged America”s schools, and has had a negative impact on the quality of education for America’s most valuable resources-its children.

“This is Jones Apparel Group’s investment in the future,” said Peter Boneparth, President and Chief Executive Officer of Jones Apparel Group, Inc. “Teachers are essential to the success of our children and Jones Apparel Group wants to take a leadership role in providing immediate and tangible help in the classroom, while encouraging others to join us along the way. We believe that if we appreciate the teacher, we in turn appreciate our children, which is exactly why Jones Apparel Group was inspired to take up this cause,” added Boneparth. Jones Apparel Group is taking a multi-faceted approach to supporting teachers at critical points in their careers, with a focus on four areas: recruitment, retention, professional development and recognition and support. By implementing corporate programs to raise funds and allowing employees paid time off to donate their time toward the initiative, Jones Apparel Group is making a long-term financial and corporate commitment to the following non-profit organizations and foundations: TeachersCount, New Teacher Academy, Fund for Teachers and Adopt-A-Classroom. Each of these groups addresses one or more of the Jones New York In The Classroom areas of focus.

Jones Apparel Group commissioned extensive market research with both their customers and their employees to determine what cause platform they chose. According to Stacy Lastrina, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Jones Apparel Group, “When we asked what issues are important, both employees and consumers lined up behind children and behind education as top priorities.”

Importantly, the Jones Apparel Group commitment goes beyond its initial $1 million grant to its founding non-profit partners. Specifically, each of Jones Apparel Group’s 18,000 employees will be offered the opportunity to volunteer up to three hours of paid time off each month in local communities in support of teachers and education, totaling up to 600,000 hours annually to support the cause. Additionally, Jones Apparel Group will work with its retail partners to launch its in-store cause marketing program, including a limited edition t-shirt featuring artwork from New York City artist Ryan McGinness.

An additional partner in the Jones New York In The Classroom program is The Fruit Company, an online retailer of fine fruits and gourmet gift specialties based in Hood River, Oregon. Working as a preferred gift vendor with Jones Apparel Group, The Fruit Company will donate 20 percent of its sales from gifts purchased on their Web site ( with a special promotional code to the Jones New York In the Classroom’s founding non-profit partners.

Jones New York In The Classroom is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the quality of education in America and inspiring others, both individuals and corporations, to do the same through support of teachers and vital teacher-based programs. For more information on Jones New York In The Classroom and their partners please visit

Jones Apparel Group, Inc. (, a Fortune 500 company, is a leading designer, marketer and wholesaler of branded apparel, footwear and accessories. We also market directly to consumers through our chain of specialty retail and value-based stores, and operate the Barneys chain of luxury stores. Our nationally recognized brands include Jones New York, Evan-Picone, Norton McNaughton, Gloria Vanderbilt, Erika, l.e.i., Energie, Nine West, Easy Spirit, Enzo Angiolini, Bandolino, Joan & David, Mootsies Tootsies, Sam & Libby, Napier, Judith Jack, Kasper, Anne Klein, Albert Nipon, Le Suit and Barneys New York. The Company also markets apparel under the Polo Jeans Company brand licensed from Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, costume jewelry under the Tommy Hilfiger brand licensed from Tommy Hilfiger Licensing, Inc. and the Givenchy brand licensed from Givenchy Corporation and footwear under the Dockers Women brand licensed from Levi Strauss & Co. Each brand is differentiated by its own distinctive styling, pricing strategy, distribution channel and target consumer. We primarily contract for the manufacture of our products through a worldwide network of quality manufacturers. We have capitalized on our nationally known brand names by entering into various licenses for several of our trademarks, including Jones New York, Evan-Picone, Anne Klein New York, Nine West, Gloria Vanderbilt and l.e.i., with select manufacturers of women’s and men’s products which we do not manufacture. For more than 30 years, we have built a reputation for excellence in product quality and value, and in operational execution.