Testimonials

Fellows give their perspective on the benefits of the Fund For Teachers grants.

Bryan Meadows
Catherine Davis
Lori Davis
Sharon Felty

What Boston’s Teachers Are Doing This Summer

Boston Herald

SUMMER IS A TIME TO UNWIND for students and teachers, but many of Boston’s 5,000 teachers will spend part of July and August taking courses, attending workshops, and planning for the coming school year.

Ninety-four lucky Boston teachers will travel and study this summer, thanks to grants from the Boston Plan for Excellence and its partners, the Boston Public Schools and Houston’s Fund For Teachers. The projects the winning teachers designed vary, from learning about the culture of Ghana to exploring the ecology of the Southwest. Whatever their destination, they will bring back experiences that deepen their own understanding, enrich their teaching, and benefit their students next September.

Leslie McGowan, Grade 2 Teacher, Farragut Elementary School Destination: Italy

Several times each year, teachers and students from the Farragut walk to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, just a few blocks away, where they study the artistic and cultural history of Boston and Europe.

This summer, Ms. McGowan and fellow teacher Barbara Casserly will do some walking of their own, to deepen their knowledge of the arts so they can help students make a stronger connection with the Gardner. Their project, “In the Footsteps of Isabella Stewart Gardner,” will take them to the cities and museums of Italy that inspired Mrs. Gardner to create her unique art collection and museum.

A Boston native, Ms. McGowan is especially excited about this trip because she has been going to the Gardner since she was a child. “It has always been very special to me,” she says. Her favorite spot is the East Cloister, which looks into the courtyard. “I really look forward to visiting the Palazzo Barbaro in Venice, which was the model for that courtyard,” she adds.

The teacher team will trace Mrs. Gardner’s travels through Venice, Florence, Rome and Naples. They will shoot videos, keep journals, make sketches, and collect artifacts – all of which will be used as primary source material for Farragut students and teachers.

“When a teacher has a passion for a subject, it is contagious to the students,” Ms. McGowan emphasizes. “At the Farragut, we have a passion for the Gardner, and we’ve found that using the museum as a resource helps get even hard-to-reach students interested in their learning.”

Alicia Carroll, Kindergarten Teacher, Young Achievers K-8 Destination: Kenya

In the 15th century, ambassadors from what is now East Africa took a giraffe to China on the ship of a Chinese Muslim explorer. Yes a giraffe.

This unusual fact, says Ms. Carroll, inspired her to develop a children’s book and curriculum unit, Malindi’s Story. She’s worked on the project with Lucy Montgomery, a teacher at New Boston Middle School, for two years. Berit Bowman, also from Young Achievers, just signed on.

This summer all three will travel to Kenya to see the setting first hand. They’ll learn how a giraffe might have been captured, shipped across the Indian Ocean, and cared for along the way; investigate the tools that African and Arab sailors used to guide them on their journey; and meet with scholars who study the connections between Africa and China and the influence of Islam in the time of the Silk Routes.

This is a complex topic, grants Ms. Carroll. “Focusing on the giraffe lets us take a big idea and translate it into a story that is exciting and interesting for young children.” In fact, when she first shared the story with her students, “they were so fascinated, they wanted to learn everything they could about giraffes,” she says.

The team has many goals for Malindi’s Story, including helping students understand that Africans and Asians, and their descendants, had a shared history for centuries before European influence.

Students aren’t the only ones who will benefit from this project. “Teachers have to be researchers and scholars,” she emphasizes. “Like students, we benefit from pursuing our intellectual passion. It keeps us vital.”

Ullsses Goncalves, History Teacher, Madison Park High School Destination: Cape Verde Islands

Although many Madison Park students are of Cape Verdean descent, their history books rarely mention those West African islands. Mr. Goncalves will soon begin to fill the gaps, when he travels to Cape Verde this summer to research its role as a center for the Portuguese slave trade.

What is now Cape Verde was uninhabited when the Portuguese settled there around 1460, says Mr. Goncalves, and the islands eventually became holding places for captives from Africa until they were traded to slave owners in the Americas and the Caribbean.

One of his prime destinations is Cidade Velha, an ancient city and fortress on Santiago Island. Its many ruins, which Cape Verdean officials are hoping to preserve, date back to the 17th century.

“I plan to meet with government officials,” says Mr. Goncalves, “and encourage them to move forward with the preservation.”

That’s important for two reasons, he argues: a restored Cidade Velha would not only illuminate the history of slavery but also dramatize changes and improvements in the Cape Verde islands over time.

“I also hope to share with them my perspective as a history teacher with students of Cape Verdean descent,” he adds.

Mr. Goncalves will meet also with Daniel Pereira, Cape Verdean historian and expert on slavery. Additionally, he’ll do research at the national library, shoot video, and gather artifacts to share with students this fall.

In short, he wants nothing less than “to make history come alive” for himself and all his students.

Hard Work Pays Off For U.S. Teachers

New York City, New York, May 28, 2003 – More than 20 American teachers will get to take summer sabbatical trips, thanks to a $100,000 donation from RBC Capital Markets to Fund for Teachers, a charitable organization that provides grants to teachers.

RBC Capital Markets and other corporations will be recognized at a presentation in New York City on May 19 for their contributions, which has allowed the Fund for Teachers to expand into other parts of the United States.

Raymond Plank, CEO of Houston-based Apache Corporation, an oil and gas company, started the fund to celebrate the hard work of teachers. Plank believes recognizing the value of a teacher’s personal potential helps inspire potential in students.

Fund for Teachers provides grants up to $5,000 to K-12 teachers for summer sabbatical travel to explore a personal or professional passion. In 2002, 150 teachers from Houston, Tulsa, Oakland, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Denver received grants to travel and gain experience and information to use in the classroom.

RBC Capital Market’s gift will therefore touch the lives of thousands of students who will benefit from their teacher’s new knowledge.

In order to qualify for a grant, teachers must propose a summer activity and explain how the activity will make them a better teacher. Applicants must also describe what new skills they will gain and how they will implement these skills in the classroom.

McDonough Earns Summer Study Grant

Malden Observer
Wakefield, MA

The Boston Plan for Excellence announced that it has awarded $249,733 in grants to 94 teachers in the Boston Public Schools for summer travel and study as part of its Fund For Teachers/Boston initiative.

Tara McDonough of Malden who teaches at the Winthrop Elementary School in Dorchester was awarded a grant to be trained in the Orton-Gillingham method at Massachusetts General Hospital to work better with students who have language learning disabilities.

More than 300 Boston Public Schools teachers applied for a grant, either as an individual or as a member of a teacher team, and grants awarded range from $1,200 to $7,500.
Fund For Teachers/Boston is affiliated with the national Fund For Teachers foundation, whose mission is to enrich the lives of schoolteachers and students by providing recognition and opportunities for renewal to outstanding educators.

The grants will fund projects that teachers have designed themselves. Twenty-two recipients won a grant for an individual project, while 72 recipients were funded for a project they designed as a teacher team. In all, the 94 grant recipients will visit a total of 24 foreign countries and at least 17 states this summer.

Energy Community to Kick-off Campaign for Houston-area Teachers

HOUSTON (May 19, 2004) – The energy community in Houston is in a great position to give back to the city by helping to raise money for Houston-area teachers. Steve Trauber, Global Head of Energy for UBS Investment Bank and his wife Leticia are proud to announce they are co-chairing the Energy For Teachers endowment campaign, which will raise $3 million dollars for Fund For Teachers (FFT) in the Houston area by December 2004. Funds raised will be used to permanently endow summer sabbaticals for Houston-area teachers. The Energy for Teachers Campaign kicks off May 19, when leaders from throughout Houston’s energy industry will get together to begin their fund raising efforts.

“As a father of three school-age children, I know how much it means to see a child inspired by a teacher and that is why Leticia and I are excited to be able to support Fund For Teachers through the Energy For Teachers campaign. We look forward to helping Houston’s teachers bring the world into their classrooms for many more years,” said Steve Trauber.

Steering committee members for the Energy For Teachers endowment campaign include: President, CEO and COO of Apache Corporation, G. Steven Farris; President and COO of Nabors Industries Ltd., Tony Petrello; President and CEO of ConocoPhillips, J.J. Mulva; President and CEO of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Jim Hackett; President and CEO Energy Services Group of Halliburton Company, John Gibson; Chairman and CEO of Noble Corporation, James C. Day; President and CEO of Marathon Oil Corporation, Clarence P. Cazalot; President and CEO of Shell Exploration and Production, Raoul Restucci; Managing Partner with Baker Botts LLP, Walt Smith; President and Chief Executive Officer of Cooper Cameron, Sheldon Erikson; and President and CEO of GlobalSantaFe Corp., Jon A. Marshall and President.

The Fund For Teachers 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. Making a difference one teacher at a time, FFT provides funds for direct grants to teachers to support learning opportunities of their own design. Specifically, teachers are granted funds to travel and study during the summer, and then bring their discoveries back to the classroom as part of their curriculum in the school year. It is estimated that one grant reaches 3,000 students over the span of a teacher’s career. FFT truly makes a profound impact on the teachers who receive grants, the students they teach and the schools where they work.

“We have a bottom-up approach to systemic reform that is simple and direct. Re-energize teachers. Not a panacea, but when we demand so much of our educators, and their strengths and skills are so vital to the success of our schools, providing these experiences holds great promise for their future and for our children,” said Karen Kovach Webb, executive director of FFT.

Founded by Apache Corporation Chairman Raymond Plank in 2001, the foundation’s enrichment fund is supported by individual and corporate donors. In honor of Apache’s 50th anniversary and Raymond Plank, the energy community in Houston is proud to step up to raise money to endow Fund For Teachers.

“It is a very simple program, a very effective program and it raises the spirits of teachers,” Plank said.

The Houston campaign is part of a larger $50 million nationwide campaign taking place in Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York, Boston and Tulsa.

Zarrow, Apache Corp. Chairman Offer $1 Million Challenge for Teacher Support

TULSA, Okla., April 29, 2004 – Tulsa philanthropist Henry Zarrow and Apache Corp. Chairman and educational humanitarian Raymond Plank are offering a $1 million challenge grant to inspire local residents,foundations and businesses to endow a fund for Oklahoma public school teacher sabbaticals in the United States and abroad that would ultimately benefit students in the classroom.

Zarrow and Plank are providing $500,000 each to the Fund for Teachers in the Tulsa area, which will be administered through Tulsa Community Foundation (TCF). Their gifts are intended to generate $2 million in additional contributions from around the Tulsa area. Now in its third year locally, the Fund for Teachers provides grants of up to $5,000 to pre-kindergarten though 12th grade teachers for summer sabbaticals. The Tulsa program is affiliated with other Fund for Teachers efforts that Plank founded around the county to provide teachers career development opportunities of the caliber available in the corporate world.

Apache, a Houston-based energy company and historically a leading oil and gas producer in Oklahoma, is celebrating its 50th anniversary by spearheading a national initiative to raise $50 million for Fund for Teachers endowments across the United States. The company is directly providing $15 million over three years. Plank and Zarrow together are asking the Tulsa community to show their support for teacher development and public education by giving to the local program.

“Mr. Zarrow, Apache and Plank are challenging this community to join together in matching on a two-for-one basis, a $1 million challenge grant to permanently endow Fund for Teachers in the Tulsa area,” said Phil Lakin, executive director of Tulsa Community Foundation. “The initial goal is for an endowment of about $3 million, with funds administered by TCF, which would generate enough cash from investments to fund approximately 40 teacher sabbaticals each year for Tulsa area teachers.”

“For years, Tulsa area teachers have foregone many of the employee benefits and incentives offered in the corporate world,” Lakin said. “By meeting the Zarrow-Plank match, we as a community not only demonstrate how much we support these educators, but also provide them with invaluable career development opportunities that many could not pursue on their own.”

In addition to announcing the challenge grant, Tulsa Community Foundation and the Fund for Teachers will present grants totaling almost $250,000 to 100 teachers at an awards ceremony to be held from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thursday, April 29 at the Doubletree Hotel, Warren Place, in the Warren Ballroom. Plank and Apache President/CEO/COO G. Steven Farris, will join Zarrow and Tulsa Community Foundation President Joe Cappy and Executive Director, Phil Lakin, to present the awards.

About Fund for Teachers and Apache Corporation

Fund for Teachers is the brainchild of Plank, who started the organization in 2001 after years of educational philanthropic endeavors in Minnesota and Colorado. The Fund for Teachers is a unique foundation whose mission is to enrich the lives of schoolteachers and students by providing recognition and opportunities for renewal to outstanding teachers. Making a difference one teacher at a time, Fund for Teachers awards grants directly to teachers to support professional development opportunities of their own design. Since 1998, 567 teachers in seven cities-Denver; Houston; New York; Oakland, Calif.; Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.; and Tulsa-have received funding, including 267 Fellows during the summer of 2003. FFT Fellows have participated in programs and traveled in 45 countries on six continents. In 2004 Fund for Teachers continues to expand, awarding funds to approximately 375 teachers including, for the first time, educators in Boston, rural Colorado and rural Oklahoma, and to the ational network of Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound schools (reaching teachers in 27 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico).

“Oklahoma has been good to Apache and we have been a leading producer in the state for many years,” Plank said. Apache drilled its first well in 1955 in Cushing, Okla., and opened a field office in Tulsa later that same year. Company production at the time averaged 800 barrels of oil per day. Today, with its Central Region headquarters still a fixture in Tulsa, Apache is the third-largest natural gas producer in the state with average volumes of 150 million cubic feet per day. The company employs 94 people in Tulsa and 85 more throughout the state. Regional capital expenditures in 2004 are estimated at $150 million.

About Tulsa Community Foundation

Tulsa Community Foundation (TCF) is a public charity organized in 1998 by its chairman, George B. Kaiser, and an esteemed group of business and civic leaders. TCF’s mission is to receive, protect and distribute gifts from individuals and organizations for the improvement of the Tulsa and eastern Oklahoma area. Currently, TCF manages over $700 million invested through: 90 Donor Advised Funds, established by individuals, corporations, and private foundations; 155 Charitable Agency Endowment Funds established by and/or for the benefit of specific charitable organizations; and nine Supporting Organizations. Last year, TCF distributed over $13 million to charitable organizations. Individuals, corporations, and nonprofit organizations use the Foundation for a wide variety of reasons. Although their gifts vary in size, the generosity and foresight of TCF donors reflect a passionate commitment to the community and a desire to improve Tulsa’s quality of life for future generations.

Fellow Testimonial – Catherine Davis

FFT Fund Raising

Fund raising for Tulsa area schools. View video.