Last week, Fund for Teachers announced the names of 296 public, private and charter school teachers chosen to receive $1.19 million in grants for self-designed summer fellowships and experiential learning this summer.
Fund for Teachers is the only grant in the country that trusts teachers to design the learning experience THEY deem relevant to their careers and classrooms. Because of that, every fellowship is totally unique; however, they do fall into general categories. Each Friday, we will introduce you to a few new Fellows pursuing similar topics. Because yesterday was World Health Day, we’ll begin by highlighting teachers who designed fellowships around health and well-being.
Pattie Biekert & Nancee Terracciano | The Friendship School – Waterford, CT
Engage in forest bathing opportunities in England to foster student appreciation of the need to protect our natural world and support their journeys toward mental, emotional and physical health and well-being.
“Humans learn in a variety of ways,” wrote the duo. “Forest bathing specifically utilizes three of Gardners’ multiple intelligences; BodilyKinesthetic, Intrapersonal and Naturalist, but it also can positively affect the others of Linguistic, Logical/Mathematical, Spatial, Musical and Interpersonal also. We believe that teaching our students to slow down, to observe nature, feel nature, smell nature, and breathe clean air will help them develop a heightened sense of awareness for their environment.”
Amy Bizzarri | Schurz High School – Chicago, IL
Complete trauma-informed yoga teacher training offered by the nonprofit Light a Path in Asheville, NC, to bring the practice to both an afterschool and parent/community program for a school community in which more than 80% of students report significant trauma in their lives.
“By training as a trauma-informed yoga teacher, I will earn the skills that have evolved from several different evidence-based physical education-focused modalities, and learn how to use these skills to bring yoga to my diverse learning community. I plan on using my knowledge to institute an afterschool yoga program open to both students, parents, and our greater community.”
Dana Chambers & Christine Kepley | Quail Creek Elementary – Oklahoma City
Document the cognitive-motor interventions available to students with motor delays at
the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity Conference in Waikoloa Village, HI and afterwards at the SPARK PE Institute in San Diego, CA to implement techniques for addressing physical and mental health, body image and learning gaps of students from low-income families.
Frankee Grove | DaVinci RISE High School – Hawthorne, CA
Attend in Elspeet, Netherlands, the Mindful Self-Compassion Intensive led by experts from the University of Texas and Harvard University, then complete a six-week virtual course entitled “Self-Compassion for Educators” by Mindful Schools to learn self-compassion strategies and create and implement a curriculum that addresses stress, trauma, and academic learning loss in foster youth.
“My goal is to develop tools to help my students reduce their stress and anxiety, grow more compassion, and re-engage in school with more focus, attention, and emotional regulation so they can focus on the academic learning they must undertake to graduate,” Frankee said. “They need new tools to overcome setbacks that have been exacerbated by the pandemic and self-compassion practices are proven to increase resilience, motivation, and focus.”
Laure O’Keefe | Anna Westin House/The Emily Program – Saint Paul, MN
Interview therapeutic horticulturists and horticulture therapists in Denver, Knoxville and
Nashville to create for highly capable students addressing eating disorders the opportunity to utilize plant care/gardening for personal stress management and demonstrate the ability to practice health enhancing behaviors through skills learned.
“I provide instruction in all core subjects in cross-age groups for these students who are so different in so many ways, coming from a variety of school settings in states in the upper Midwest as well as from each coast. What they all have in common is being highly capable students with a primary mental health diagnosis of an Eating Disorder and many times a secondary diagnosis (Anxiety, Depression, OCD, PTSD) which has brought them to either Residential or Intensive Day Treatment for variable periods from 6 weeks to 5 months or more,” said Laure. “This grant will provide students the opportunity to utilize plant care or gardening as a personal stress management plan and demonstrate the ability to practice health enhancing behaviors through skills learned. That little patch of nature will sit on the student’s table and our class will be full of lush plants to feed our hearts and calm our minds and hands.”
Brandy O’Neal | Paul Revere Elementary School – Chicago, IL
Participate in trainings, conferences, and a farm immersion programs through Shelburne Farms’ Project Seasons for Young Learners, the Soul Fire Farm Immersion in Petersburg, NY, and the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx to learn strategies for integrating nature-based education in my classroom that promote deep learning, identity building, and health and wellness.
“I believe that learning courage in an engaging, therapeutic environment like nature will lead students to being more willing to take risks when learning a new math concept, more open-minded in social interactions, and more adventurous in food choices,” said Brandy. “My aim is to demystify the natural world by giving students more access to their outdoor environment, which will lead to better academic and health outcomes.”
Matt Shea | Old Saybrook Middle School – Old Saybrook, CT
Research ways to incorporate regenerative farming, holistic nutrition, and earth healing along the coast of Maine into a physical education and health curriculum that promotes wellness and connection with nature.
“As a health and wellness teacher, I believe to foster this connection, our students need innovative education about mindfulness, connecting with nature, connecting with the food they eat, opening their minds to how they can do their part in making the planet a better place and in turn create a positive and healthy environmental and social climate in the world around them,” said Matt.
“Now more than ever, it is imperative that we invest in the most important component of any classroom — the teacher,” said Karen Eckhoff, Executive Director of FFT. “Educators are facing countless challenges every day, and Fund for Teachers is dedicated to further diversifying the ways that we can support them. Our grants represent trust in teachers’ professionalism, creativity, and vision, offering flexibility to meet the unique needs of each classroom, with the students remaining the ultimate beneficiaries as they continue to grow and learn in today’s ever-changing world.”
We look forward to introducing you to more 2022 FFT Fellows next Friday!