Bertha Ronzone Elementary School, Las Vegas, NVGrades K-5, Mathematics2013, Fall$2,000
Mrs. Moody will attend the National Conference of Teachers of Mathematics, where she will present research on hidden assessments. While there, Mrs. Moody will also attend presentations on innovative concepts and strategies for teaching English Language Learners and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Upon returning, Mrs. Moody will present her findings to her colleagues during staff development days.
West Morgan High School, Trinity, ALGrades 9-12, Language Arts2013, Fall$5,000
To reach students at their level and provide hands-on activities that will bring history to life, Mrs. Ashby and Ms. Dickerson will introduce “Live in Your Classroom, Play in Ours.” The project will promote friendly competition through trivia and gaming and will include cooperative learning opportunities for both students and educators. Students will delve deeply into history, economics, and literature as they learn of the social and civil developments that have shaped their lives.
Through “On Your Own,” Mr. Garcia’s students will use personal finance software to simulate living independently upon graduating from high school. Students will create budgets, interview for jobs, purchase automobiles, and rent apartments as they are provided with a glimpse into adult life. Ultimately, students will understand the consequences of decisions and the value of education in relationship to life quality.
Westside High School, Omaha, NEGrades 9-12, Service Learning2013, Fall$2,000
Through “Success through Service,” Dr. Serfass and Mrs. McGeary will introduce a service learning project for at-risk students. Students will be presented with options for local service opportunities and will vote on the options. After determining the sites, students will attend several outings throughout the academic year. Upon completion of the project, students will be tasked with reflecting on the work they’ve done and how it impacted the community.
Colonial Elementary School, Fort Myers, FLGrades K-5, School Counselor2013, Fall$2,000
Dr. Clements and Mr. Marino will introduce “STEM-ulating Students through Robotics,” a unit that will allow students to develop their knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. Students will design, build, and program small scale robots in an interdisciplinary project that will incorporate science and language arts lessons. Through multiple engaging and interactive lessons, students will learn more about the real world implications of the work they complete in the classroom.
Wickliffe High School, Wickliffe, OHGrades 9-12, Language Arts2013, Fall$2,000
To help students become deeper learners, Mrs. Sharp and Mrs. Shultz will introduce collaborative literature circle groups in their classrooms. Through these groups, students will be given the opportunity to develop higher level creative thinking and complex processing skills. Students will use self-selected literature to discuss texts with peers and ultimately read for comprehension and enjoyment.
To improve student reading fluency through the use of tablet technology, Mrs. Lemon and Mrs. Christie will introduce “Project iRead.” The tablets will allow students to read books that they choose and connect kinesthetically, visually, and orally with their reading. Students will listen to fluent reading, record themselves reading, and create digital products of their work. Ultimately student fluency, comprehension, and overall achievement will improve.
Southmoreland School District, Alverton, PAGrades 9-12, Language Arts2013, Fall$2,000
To address drops in reading proficiency, students in Mrs. Hixson’s and Mr. Brittain’s classes will study the classic texts “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “The Outsiders.” The books will allow students to practice active reading and Common Core anchors. While reading independently, students will be able to highlight meaningful information, question the texts, make personal connections, and define unfamiliar vocabulary.
Espanola Public Schools, Espanola, NMGrades K-5, Gifted and Talented2013, Fall$2,000
To learn how to best serve the under-identified, low income, and diverse gifted students in her district, Ms. Ortiz will attend the National Association for Gifted Children’s Conference. While there, Ms. Ortiz will experience seminars on brain based learning techniques, and learn how to serve twice exceptional children, and Common Core Standards application. Upon completion, Ms. Ortiz will share strategies and techniques with colleagues and will implement these strategies during student service time.
Through “STEM Scientists,” Mrs. Ciotta and Mrs. McEaddy will create a hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classroom environment for kindergarten students and English Language Learners. Students will be provided with daily opportunities to interact with animals, insects, plants, magnets, and construction toys. The revamped classroom will ultimately assist students in building STEM skills in a fun and engaging way.
East Hampton Middle School, East Hampton, CTGrades 6-8, Language Arts2013, Fall$2,000
To improve reading and writing workshops at East Hampton Middle School, Mrs. Tietjen will participate in an internship at Nancie Atwell's Center for Teaching and Learning. Throughout the course of the internship, Mrs. Tietjen will learn to structure a workshop-based curriculum, conduct effective individual conferences with students, and collect and analyze meaningful data on student progress. Upon returning to school, Mrs. Tietjen will introduce professional development trainings and collaborate with colleagues to implement reading and writing workshop strategies.
William Henry Harrison High School, Evansville, INGrades 9-12, Language Arts2013, Fall$2,000
Mr. Houston and Mr. Elpers will team teach a global leadership curriculum designed to assist Harrison High School’s students to improve academically and develop into mature global leaders. The innovative, standards-based curriculum will include cultural diversity, global awareness, world history, geography, language arts, problem solving, social skills development, and active student leadership. Students will participate in collaborative academic projects with local and international elementary schools and take part in community-based cultural experiences.
Robert E. Lee High School, San Antonio, TXGrades 9-12, Social Studies2013, Fall$5,000
Mr. Veroneau and Mr. Newberger will improve student participation by introducing Classroom Performance Systems (CPS) in their social studies classrooms. The technology will allow educators to provide immediate and ongoing feedback to students, perform real time formative and summative data assessments, and focus on specific learner outcomes and performance standards. CPS will subsequently allow teachers additional time for differentiated instruction and remediation activities.
To support struggling readers through the use of current technology, Ms. Foster and Ms. Ragan will introduce “iPad Buddies” in their classrooms. The initiative will serve as a resource for primary teachers to use during intervention groups. Ms. Foster and Ms. Ragan will focus on below grade level readers and will provide iPad training for students and colleagues through small group instruction.
Yucca Loma Elementary School, Apple Valley, CAGrades K-5, Science2013, Fall$5,000
Through “Robo-Mentors,” students at Granite Hills High School will team with Yucca Loma Elementary students to assist them with assembling basic robots. The high school students will collaborate weekly with their elementary counterparts to guide and support them as they prepare for a LEGO Robotics Challenge. Additionally the high school students will compete in a robotics challenge of their own. As a culminating activity, all students will attend the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
Western Foothills Regional School Unit #10, Peru, MEGrades 9-12, Computers / Technology2013, Fall$5,000
To support RSU 10's Mass Customized Learning (MCL) initiative, Mr. Waugh and colleagues will develop MCL compliant projects, lessons, techniques, assessments, and rubrics. The materials will be field tested in an after school program and shared with educators throughout the district. Ultimately, the materials developed will help RSU 10 teachers design assessments that accurately demonstrate student learning and comprehension.
La Mirada High School, La Mirada, CAGrades 9-12, Foreign Language Teacher2013, Fall$5,000
“Community Connections for Watershed Protection” will allow students to use a project based learning approach to research how the La Mirada community can help reduce ocean pollution and conserve drinking water. Students will interview scientists, members of environmental organizations, and other experts who specialize in ocean health. Through campus, creek, street, and beach cleanups, students will increase public awareness of the effects of litter on the local and global environment.
Belvidere Central Middle School, Belvidere, ILGrades 6-8, Social Studies2013, Fall$5,000
To integrate language arts and literacy skills into social studies classes, Ms. Hay and Mrs. Zarembski will incorporate the use of Kindles into their classroom lessons. Students will participate in novel studies from a variety of genres, and use the tablets to access online reading sources such as newspapers and textbooks. Ultimately, the hands-on technology will engage students in self-directed reading opportunities that were previously unavailable at their school.
Longwood Elementary School, Glenwood, ILGrades K-5, Language Arts2013, Fall$5,000
To increase capacity and create a rigorous curriculum aligned with English Language Arts Common Core State Standards, Ms. Mangan and Mrs. Munoz will lead a collegial study to create curricular units based on the “Understanding by Design” framework. The group will participate in a book study and work collaboratively to create curricular units that will emphasize higher level thinking for kindergarten through fourth grade students.
Fairview Elementary School, Maryville, TNGrades K-5, Library Media Specialist2013, Fall$5,000
“Going Interactive” will allow Ms. Costner and Mrs. Roberts to increase
student participation by using Promethean Boards in their classrooms.
Students will be encouraged to answer questions from video reviews,
participate in “Jeopardy”-style quizzes, and work directly with online
content from mathematics textbooks. Ms. Costner and Mrs. Roberts will
track individual responses and place appropriate emphasis on struggling
Lake Butler Middle School, Lake Butler, FLGrades 6-8, Social Studies2013, Fall$2,000
Mr. Riherd will introduce tablet technology into his social studies classroom, enabling students to explore primary and secondary online sources to enhance their learning experience. Students will share their discoveries with their peers and engage in collaborative study. Students will also be encouraged to determine the validity of their sources, identify biased sources, and eliminate sources that are deemed unreliable.
Ocean Air School, San Diego, CAGrades K-5, Reading, Spelling, Writing2013, Spring$5,000
Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Tech will implement a supplemental intervention project to maximize learning opportunities and incorporate best teaching methodologies for struggling readers. Working in small groups with teacher support, students will become more confident through successful reading experiences that show readers how to independently raise questions, propose solutions, make connections, synthesize information, and think critically. Struggling readers will be brought up to grade level to ensure that their early literacy difficulties do not become long term deficits.
Mrs. Costello and Mrs. Wells will introduce “Language Acquisition through Arts, Science, and Technology” to improve the academic achievement of English Language Learners. The project will provide activities that promote service learning through youth gardening, science reading card creation, and involvement in the school’s TV broadcasts. Students will use technology to expand vocabulary and develop critical thinking, cooperative learning, and creativity skills. Students will also participate in authentic experiences that will enhance their cognitive skills as they make connections between academic language and real-world experiences.
Falling Creek Middle School, Richmond, VAGrades 6-8, Science2013, Spring$2,000
Mrs. Gunn and Mrs. Stankovich will conduct a service learning project that will allow students to serve their school, community, and state. Through learning about clean-up efforts in the James River watershed, students will have a direct impact on the health of the Falling Creek Reservoir. Ultimately, students will reach out to the local community to lead a river clean-up day and their work will serve as a model for other communities within the watershed.
Westhill High School, Stamford, CTGrades 9-12, Science2013, Spring$2,000
To study the social and environmental effects of rising sea levels, Mrs. Grant will travel to Venice, Italy and Kiel, Germany to participate in the “Cities by the Sea” program. While studying urban coastal zone processes and city management, Mrs. Grant will collaborate with international researchers to investigate current cities affected by rising sea levels. Through the use of state of the art equipment and empirical data analysis, Mrs. Grant will share her findings with students and colleagues and bridge the gap between real world events and the classroom.
Mrs. Rodrigues and Mrs. Dunlap will create a leveled reading library to support students upon the implementation of the Common Core Reading Standards. Students will practice deep comprehension and close interpretive reading, write in a range of genres, and solve problems. The library will be available to struggling individuals and groups of students to practice particular standards.
J.D. Floyd K-8 School of Environmental, Spring Hill, FLGrades 6-8, Physical Education / Health2013, Spring$5,000
Ms. Voigt and Ms. Johnson will introduce the “Harvesting Health” project, which will infuse environmental science and health education through an interactive hands-on gardening project. Students will plant, care, harvest, and maintain a fruit tree grove and raised vegetable gardens. Additionally, students will complete a study of pomology and botany and understand that fruit and vegetable consumption leads to healthier bodies and brains.
Mrs. Shah will attend the “Reading and Writing Project” at Columbia University’s Teachers College. While there, she will work in advance sessions to improve her proficiency in the Common Core Reading Standards.Upon returning to Hilton Elementary School, Mrs. Shah will lead a reading lab with colleagues and discuss the workshop approach to teaching reading.
North Pole Middle School, North Pole, AKGrades 6-8, Special Education2013, Spring$5,000
To improve student reading performance, Mrs. Dennis and Mrs. Hawkins will lead a collegial study group for the development of high quality instructional practice. The team will work to increase instructional strategies in phonemic awareness, decoding skills, and reading fluency. Mrs. Dennis and her colleagues will learn the Lindamood Bell instructional strategies and support improved achievement across a large number of students.
Prairie Creek Elementary School, Spring Hill, KSGrades K-5, School Counselor2013, Spring$5,000
Mrs. Lawson and Mrs. Moore will organize “iPad Applications for Classroom Instruction,” a district-wide professional learning community. Through group activities, Mrs. Lawson and Mrs. Moore will facilitate effective teaching through the examination of educational tablet applications Educators using similar applications will be connected with one another to determine their effectiveness. The most effective applications will be shared between colleagues at evening professional development seminars.
Grenada School District, Grenada, MSGrades K-5, Math and Science2013, Spring$5,000
To prepare for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, 4th through 8th grade teachers in the Grenada School District will meet monthly to study and engage in the new standards. Through a partnership with the Center for Mathematics and Science Education at the University of Mississippi, professional mathematics educators will facilitate the professional learning communities to promote effectiveness and sustainability.
Braintree High School, Braintree, MAGrades 9-12, Computers / Technology2013, Spring$5,000
The Braintree High School Dual
Enrollment Program (DEP) will allow at-risk students to take online courses
with the support of specially trained educators, during which they will earn simultaneous high school and
college credit. The primary focus of the
program is to encourage students to improve their time management, problem
solving, and research skills. Outcomes will be measured through tests, quizzes,
online homework assignments, discussion board participation, and analysis of
Keystone Oaks School District, Pittsburgh, PAGrades 6-8, Foreign Language Teacher2013, Spring$2,000
To develop the necessary skills and acquire the technology needed to record her lectures, Mrs. Brill will attend workshops and conferences through the Flipped Learning Network. Upon completing the training, Mrs. Brill will pilot a “flipped learning curriculum” in one French course and will later expand to her other French and Spanish classes. Upon evaluating the program, Mrs. Brill will engage colleagues in flipped training courses.
Mount Vernon City Schools, Mount Vernon, OHGrades 9-12, Mathematics2013, Spring$2,000
Ms. Daniels’ students will use calculus, statistics, and physics concepts to determine the volume of a three dimensional object. Students will use integration techniques and linear regression modeling with statistical analysis to find a model that will determine the appropriate volume. The project will enable students to see the real world uses and interconnectedness of several mathematical and scientific disciplines.
Edward W. Clark High School, Las Vegas, NVGrades 9-12, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)2013, Spring$2,000
Mrs. Vine will attend the National Science Teachers Association’s STEM Forum and will present on cross-curricular connections and solutions to promote weather and climate readiness. Forum workshops will provide a venue for Mrs. Vine and colleagues to collaborate and share data and involve themselves in hands-on activities.Upon returning, Mrs. Vine will share lessons aligned with standards in the fields of science, English, math, social studies, and technology.
The Frederick Douglass Academy, New York, NYGrades 9-12, Mathematics2013, Spring$5,000
To assist students struggling to master Integrated Algebra Standards, Mr. Encarnacion and Mr. Rodriguez will introduce netbooks in their classrooms. Using multiple mathematics programs and applications, teachers will promote self-directed learning and encourage learners to proceed at their own pace. Assessments, lessons, and practice problems will be done digitally, allowing students greater and faster feedback.
Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29, Mar Lin, PAGrades K-5, Computers / Technology2013, Spring$2,000
Through “Learn, Play, Succeed: Empowering Early Learners through Technology,” Ms. Siket and Ms. Polley will improve literacy and the educational achievement levels of developmentally delayed preschool children. The project will allow Ms. Siket and Ms. Polley to improve standards-aligned academic opportunities for early learners by securing, introducing, and integrating tablets and educational applications designed specifically for developmentally delayed children.
Alton High School, Alton, ILGrades 9-12, English2013, Spring$5,000
Mr. Hudson and Mrs. Brave will create a literacy library at Alton High School. Working with teachers throughout the district, the team will assist in delivering literacy-based instruction across all content areas. Educators will be provided with strategies to create literature rich environments, integrate technology, development formative and summative assessments, and collect data. All strategies will be aligned with Common Core State Standards.
Vandenboom Early Childhood Development Center, Marquette, MIGrades K-5, Special Education2013, Spring$5,000
Early childhood special education students will increase literacy, language, math, and communication skills through the strategic use of tablet technology. Conferences between educators, speech-language pathologists, instructional program aides, and individual students will be used to record students' progress through application data, observation, and teacher assessment. Educators will use digital photos, data collection, and notes to revisit students' goal progress, determine areas of focus, and collect data for small group instruction. Students’ goal progress will be relayed to parents and caregivers during conferences, home visits, and meetings throughout the school year.
Portland Community College, Portland, ORGrades K-5, Science2013, Spring$2,000
Ms. Kaplan will participate in the “Earth Expeditions Primate Conservation” course in Borneo and work with other educators to conduct field studies in an environment of extraordinary cultural and ecological diversity. Ms. Kaplan will learn to apply field methods to primate studies, work with researchers and conservation groups, and develop ways to engage communities in saving wildlife. Upon completing the course, Ms. Kaplan will share experiential knowledge to enhance student learning.
Macopin Middle School, West Milford, NJGrades 6-8, Mathematics2013, Spring$5,000
The “Flipping over Mathematics” project will use a blended learning approach to engage students by incorporating the digital world in classroom lessons. Students will use tablets to strengthen math skills, deepen their understanding through richer problems, and work collaboratively to place content into a meaningful context. The project will tap into students’ digital savvy and will encourage interactive learning.
Ms. Keane will travel to the Columbia University Teacher’s College Advanced Reading Institute to attend a course led by and grounded in the work of Lucy Calkins. During the workshop, Ms. Keane will deepen her understanding and approach to fiction and nonfiction reading instruction to aid in accelerating students’ reading development. Through this experience, Ms. Keane will advance her practice of Reading Workshop in the classroom.
Bixby Public Schools, Bixby, OKGrades 9-12, General Pedagogical Practice2013, Spring$2,000
To immerse herself in in-depth learning experiences with colleagues from throughout the nation, Ms. Adams will attend the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association Schools Conference. While attending, Ms. Adams will participate in sessions that will offer updates on clinical topics, top national speakers and subject experts, and problem-solving roundtable discussions. Upon returning, Ms. Adams will share her knowledge with colleagues within her school and district.
Westerly High School, Westerly, RIGrades 9-12, Science2013, Spring$5,000
Through “Retooling Schooling: Student Directed Learning in the High School Science Classroom,” Ms. Utley and Mrs. Fastovsky will meet the needs of students in heterogeneously grouped science classrooms while providing opportunities to develop and practice 21st century skills. Using Next Generation Science Standards as guidance and current literature on self-directed learning as references, Ms. Utley and Mrs. Fastovsky will design classroom learning centers that contain thematic units focused on topics of study.
James Monroe Elementary School, Santa Rosa, CAGrades K-5, Computers / Technology2013, Spring$2,000
To address the implementation of the Common Core Standards at James Monroe Elementary School, Mr. Persinger will travel to Manchester, New Hampshire to participate in the “Constructing Modern Knowledge” program. During the program, Mr. Persinger will refine multimedia projects that will empower students to meet Common Core Standards in English language arts and math. Mr. Persinger will improve his technology integration skills and gain experience in teaching computer programming. Upon returning, Mr. Persinger will share findings with his colleagues.
JHS 227 Edward B. Shallow School, Brooklyn, NYGrades 9-12, English2013, Spring$5,000
Through “Journey into Journalism,” Mrs. Kaplan and Mrs. Dinkins will assist students in creating a newspaper that will promote student expression and build writing and analytical reading skills through interdisciplinary collaboration. Students will cover all aspects of school and community news and will pay particular attention to focusing on health topics and issues concerning adolescents by writing a regular wellness column.
Franklin High School, Portland, ORGrades 9-12, Computers / Technology2013, Spring$5,000
Mrs. Bartley and Mr. Butenhoff will incorporate technology to expand Franklin High School’s Advanced Scholar Program (ASP). Students participating in the program will mentor struggling younger students and tutor students who need additional help. Additionally, ASP students will provide assistance with test preparation and college application. Mrs. Anglada Bartley will hold regular meetings in which ASP student mentors will report on the successes and challenges they’ve experienced.
Queensborough Community College, Bayside, NYHigher Education, Lecturer2013, Winter
Mr. Slodounik and several colleagues will study the effectiveness of self-regulated strategy instruction on the teaching of analytical writing in the context of their classrooms. The approach will emphasize explicit instruction, modeling and overt development of self-regulation.
Curtner Elementary School, Milpitas, CAGrades K-5, Special Education2013, Winter
To further impact the classroom, school, and community, Ms. Awai will take the Advanced Training of the Nurtured Heart Approach. The training will allow Ms. Awai to work with students in developing values and character, improving behavioral management, and improving academic performance. Additionally, Ms. Awai will provide workshops to educators and parents during Parent University nights in her school district.
Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Flossmoor, ILGrades K-5, Science2013, Winter
To improve the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Mr. Svozil will attend the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy at the National Robotics Engineering Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Upon completing the academy, Mr. Svozil will implement a robotics curriculum in his school’s College Engineering course. Students will be exposed to a problem based curriculum that will encourage them to learn core engineering concepts through authentic tasks and situations while building a robot.
To combat childhood obesity and teach students the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, Ms. Garmon will provide students at Judith Giacoma Elementary School with daily healthy snacks and an evidence-based curriculum for healthy eating choices and exercise. Additionally, Ms. Garmon will provide teachers with support and the equipment needed to lead students in daily physical activity. Ultimately, project leaders will create a school environment that values proper nutrition and physical fitness in addition to academic achievement.
To increase student engagement in the sciences and arts, and to integrate families and community members into the lifeblood of the school, Ms. Lerro and her colleagues will introduce the multidisciplinary project “Garden of Dreams in the Bronx.” Students and educators will create a vegetable garden to be used by the school and community and use it as a scientific laboratory and greening project. Cultivating growing spaces will allow students to broaden their hands-on experience in science, math, and the arts.
Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Montgomery, ALGrades K-5, Law2013, Winter
Dr. McDonald will attend a series of summer institutes to learn engaging and creative ways to incorporate historical and current legal issues into law curricula. Dr. McDonald’s studies will increase his knowledge of history, culture, and the arts by promoting cultural respect and responsive teaching through arts education. Upon returning, Dr. McDonald will incorporate law, writing, culture and the performing arts into instruction that will benefit the entire school community.
Annandale High School, Annandale, VAGrades 9-12, English2013, Winter
English Language Learners at Annandale High School will participate in Washington, DC’s Shakespeare Theater Company’s “Shakespearience” program and produce a staging of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Participants will engage in formal dance and mime instruction to develop expressiveness through movement and blocking. In addition to teaching management and critical thinking skills, the project will address student academic needs by fostering creativity and kinesthetic intelligence.
Eisenhower Elementary School, Green Bay, WIGrades K-5, School Social Worker2013, Winter
Through the “Eisenhower Engagement Program,” Mrs. Winkler and Ms. Schuette will implement research based interventions that focus on increasing student engagement through improving attendance, developing extracurricular activities, reducing behavioral referrals, and increasing parental involvement. Mrs. Winkler and Ms. Schuette will collaborate with teachers to provide interventions that target these areas in order to fully engage students in the learning environment. Ultimately, increased engagement in the learning environment will result in an increase in instructional time and greater academic success.
Central Bucks West High School, Doylestown, PAGrades 9-12, Mathematics2013, Winter
To increase student engagement and interaction, Ms. Walsh and Ms. House will create an “ActivClassroom” through the use of student response systems and dual pens with interactive whiteboards. Students and teachers will receive immediate feedback while working through problems, which will serve as a motivational tool and help improve student comprehension. The technology will allow multiple student responses to occur simultaneously, which will enhance teaching and learning.
Bradbury Heights Elementary School, Capitol Heights, MDGrades K-5, Special Education2013, Winter
To gain a stronger understanding of the effects of globalization on education, Mr. Pacheco will attend the Future of Learning Institute at Harvard University’s School of Education. The workshop will provide Mr. Pacheco with the skills and resources to become a more effective leader by examining how the digital revolution and mind/brain research influence teaching and learning. Upon completing the institute, Mr. Pacheco will share his learning in district wide professional development workshops.
Messalonskee High School, Oakland, MEGrades 9-12, Science2013, Winter
To support the implementation of the Mass Customized Learning (MCL) plan, educators at Messalonskee High School will engage in professional learning communities, attend workshops, and visit peers’ classrooms that have already implemented MCL. Through MCL, students will have individualized education plans to help them achieve rigorous learning standards. Educators trained in MCL will provide students with plans tailored to their specific learning needs and interests.
East Aurora School District, East Aurora, NYGrades K-5, Teacher2013, Winter
Ms. Kibler will implement “The Power of Place Value,” a professional development initiative aimed at increasing student growth in place value understanding. Ms. Kibler will attend the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ Annual Meeting and sessions focusing on sense, place value, and the Common Core Learning Standards. Upon returning to her district, Ms. Kibler will lead colleagues in a program to develop curriculum that will include hands-on learning, instruction, parent communication, school wide activities, and assessment.
Laingsburg High School, Laingsburg, MIGrades 9-12, English2013, Winter
Mrs. Strickland and Ms. Klabuhn will create a paperless classroom and allow students to “Login to Learning.” Students will submit writing assignments through Google Docs, peer groups will revise and edit the writings, and teachers will evaluate assignments online. The emphasis on technology will allow Mrs. Strickland and her colleagues to make class assignments more interactive and allow students to take charge of their learning.
Ella Canavan Elementary School, Medina, OHGrades K-5, Teacher2013, Winter
Through a partnership with Trout Unlimited, Mrs. Dobben’s students will experience the diversity and interdependence of life by examining local waterways. Students will raise trout from eggs to adults, monitor tank water quality, and engage in stream habitat study. The project will allow students to understand ecosystems, appreciate water resources, and begin to foster a conservation ethic.
Oakland Technical High School, Oakland, CAGrades 9-12, English2013, Winter
Through “Health Academy,” Ms. Bailey and Ms. Nixon will teach Oakland Technical High School students about nutritious cooking and its connection to lifelong health. Students will be encouraged to explore the impact of various food choices on the environment and local community. The project will culminate with students teaching their peers about healthy living tips through in class demonstrations, health fair tables, and writing assignments meant for publication.
Fulford Elementary School, North Miami Beach, FLGrades K-5, Math and Science2013, Winter
To increase student achievement and promote collaboration among educators, Ms. Santiago and Ms. Wedderburn will lead a three day weekend retreat for 20 early career teachers and education support professionals. The retreat will include interactive professional development activities that will focus on research in human cognition, the integration of technology into the classroom, and the application of Lesson Study. The participants will incorporate this training into their practices, share with their colleagues, and participate in yearlong follow-up opportunities.
Ms. Nicholson and Mrs. Keck will use Lego robotics sets to enhance student learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. Students will work collaboratively to design, build, program, and fine tune the functions of the robot. Working collectively, students will use the robots to assess possible solutions to green technology problems and complete specific functions and tasks.
Ms. Erickson Connor and Mr. Schroeder will introduce “Club Ped,” a fitness challenge that will equip students with pedometers and allow them to establish daily goals to increase movement. Students will confirm individual successes and track collective mileage to produce comprehensive statistics. The project will encourage increased student activity and incorporate mathematical models that allow students to fully understand the effectiveness of their fitness initiatives.
Hassan Elementary School, Rogers, MNGrades K-5, School Social Worker2013, Winter
Ms. Schmitz will create a “Mindful Classroom” as a Tier 1 Response to Intervention, with the intent to increase student focus, improve emotional regulation, and enhance interpersonal relationships. Through the implementation of direct instruction and daily practice, students in the classroom will improve academic performance and exhibit fewer absences due to anxiety and fewer aggressive behaviors.
César Chávez School, Portland, ORGrades K-5, School Counselor2013, Winter
Ms. Peake and Mr. Sairanen will lead a group of Advancement Via Individualized Determination (AVID) students in an environmental awareness experience at Oregon State University. Educators at the university will guide activities to expand student knowledge of sustainability, recycling, and clean energy. Upon returning to César Chávez School, students will share their learning with peers and implement a school wide recycling program.
UCLA Community School, Los Angeles, CAGrades K-5, Teacher2013, Winter
To address the wide range of learners in her multiage dual language classroom, Ms. Garcia will implement a reading workshop and create a leveled classroom library. Through daily reading routines, students will develop ownership of their reading in two languages. Students will learn how to pick high interest books at their reading level, build reading stamina, and comprehend text using reading strategies. During independent reading time, students will confer with teachers to set goals and meet in small groups for explicit instruction.
Firebaugh High School, Firebaugh, CAGrades 9-12, Education Support Professional2013, Winter
Mrs. Cunha and Mrs. Robinson will use tablet technology to create small group work centers that focus on math and science instruction. The learning will engage students in the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning modalities. Educators will use appropriate apps to provide students a hands-on learning environment with differentiated instruction that encourages immediate student feedback.
Hibbing Community College, Hibbing, MNHigher Education, Science2013, Winter
Hibbing Community College will partner with two local elementary schools in the Hibbing School District to enhance science learning through hands-on activities for students in first grade classes. Incorporating Minnesota science standards into classroom teaching demonstrations, three different learning sessions will be conducted throughout the year. Mr. Zbikowski will bring demonstration equipment and computer enhanced presentations to the classrooms, working with elementary teachers in the subjects of rocks and geology, simple machines, and mathematical and physical properties using a truss bridge structure.
Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Karbo will partner with students and the community to create a compost garden. Students will learn about the effects of waste on their environment and ways to decrease the amount of waste that is sent to landfills. Students will then use critical thinking skills and problem solving to find waste disposal solutions the can be incorporated locally.
Peter S. Ogden Elementary School, Vancouver, WAGrades K-5, Librarian2013, Winter
Through “Poetry Around Us,” students will study, compose, and present original poetry through an active exploration of their community. Students will shoot digital photographs to pair with their written work, take notes as they observe a variety of settings, and record themselves as they read their poems as part of a multimedia poetry showcase for families and classmates. Integrating technology with speech and language lessons will assist students in gaining a better understanding of the power of poetry as performance art.
Ms. Herrmann and Mrs. Keene will utilize tablet technology as part of their differentiation and intervention process. Students with learning disabilities, as well as general education students, will use the tablets as part of their curriculum in reading, writing, and math. The project will enable Ms. Herrmann and Mrs. Keene to create innovative instruction in content areas that will allow students to meet their Individual Education Plan (IEP) and learning goals.
Riverside Elementary School, Sioux City, IAGrades K-5, Teacher2013, Winter
Mrs. Voegeli will introduce “Finding My Learning Nook,” a technology project that will assist students in math and reading lessons. Math fluency apps will be used daily to improve students’ understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Students will also read ebooks that will allow them to practice reading skills at different levels and deepen conceptual understanding. Differentiated instruction will allow Mrs. Voegeli and her colleagues to meet the needs of all students while developing critical thinkers and problem solvers.
Hyde Elementary School, Coraopolis, PAGrades K-5, Special Education2013, Winter
Mrs. Strassner will implement the “Whale Done” behavior modification program to build an effective learning community among staff and students. Students will receive copies of the “Whale Done School” text, which teaches learners to build trust, accentuate positive attitudes, and redirect energy when mistakes occur. By using the practice of redirection, students will learn to overcome the possible negative problems that occur on buses and in classrooms.
Bay Middle School, Bay Village, OHGrades 6-8, Special Education2013, Fall$2,000
Mrs. Young will travel to Australia in a “Culture to Culture” experience to develop enticing, meaningful, and realistic learning opportunities for students needing intensive intervention at Bay Middle School. While there, she will gain a deeper understanding of Australian culture, compare man-made and natural points of interest, explore local government and economic systems, investigate educational settings, and video conference from an Australian class to Bay Middle School. Artifacts, chronicles, and online exchanges will empower Mrs. Young's students as they virtually travel the world.
State College Area School District, State College, PAGrades 6-8, Reading, Spelling, Writing2013, Fall$5,000
Mrs. Kauffman and Mrs. Taptich will lead the “Centre Teacher Writers,” a group consisting of elementary, middle, and high school educators, as well as two Penn State University professors. The team will work collaboratively to develop strategies to teach writing to diverse groups of students. Throughout the course of the year, the group will publish professional articles and newspaper columns, and create exemplars for student assignments. Additionally, the cohort will develop new components for enhancing student-teacher classroom writing conferences.
To assist educators in the implementation of new Common Core Standards, Mrs. Ono and Mrs. Brown will create a guided reading room in Lakeland Elementary School’s library. Educators will be encouraged to check out books to use in daily reading activities and for research and multidisciplinary reading projects. Library staff will assist teachers in matching students’ reading needs with required projects, particularly when working with the school’s deaf and hard of hearing student populations.
Hostos Community College - CUNY, Bronx, NYHigher Education, English2013, Fall$5,000
To improve the quality of writing courses available to ESL students, Drs. Zucker and Dicker will lead a series of workshops for adjunct faculty. Participants will learn how to implement more inclusive, student centered writing classes and respond to the needs of struggling learners. Upon completing the workshops, the cohort will create effective lessons that will be implemented in the classroom.
Ms. Isomura and Mrs. Buljan will lead a school wide professional learning community to prepare for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts. Through lesson study and inquiry, the team will refine teaching practices and lessons to provide culturally relevant and academically rigorous experiences for students. Ultimately, the cohort will create a common understanding of discourse, lesson study, and inquiry based learning.
Brazosport College, Lake Jackson, TXHigher Education, Mathematics2013, Fall$5,000
To improve completion of entry level math courses, student retention, and graduation rates, Mrs. and Mr. Agut will pilot the “Calculate2Gether” program. They will create a lending library that will allow struggling students access to common calculators. Students will work in groups to gain a deeper understanding of class material and discover solutions to problems. At the project’s conclusion, data will be analyzed to determine student success and retention.
Gar-Field High School, Woodbridge, VAGrades 9-12, Special Education2013, Fall$5,000
Mrs. McCurdy and Mrs. Clarke will introduce “System 44,” an innovative web-based reading improvement program. This foundational program will provide targeted instruction to high school students who struggle with deficits in phonics and are caught in a cycle of academic failure. Students will learn “word-attack” strategies which help them to decode, pronounce, and understand unfamiliar words to increase their vocabulary and fluency. The teachers will use differentiated instructional software activities, model and independent reading activities, and both large and small group instruction as needed.
Hyde Park Elementary School, Hyde Park, VTGrades K-5, Special Education2013, Fall$2,000
To improve her understanding of new policies in the field of special education, Mrs. Darrow will attend the Council for Exceptional Children Conference. While there, Mrs. Darrow will attend expert-led sessions on current research and evidence-based practices. Upon returning, Mrs. Darrow will share her knowledge with colleagues, students, and parents.
Cohasset High School, Cohasset, MAGrades 9-12, Social Studies2013, Fall$5,000
To expand opportunities for students to engage in coastal STEM projects, Mr. Buckley and colleagues will introduce a “Certificate of Environmental Stewardship.” The certification program will be developed by a collaborative partnership of educators, scientists, engineers, and state and federal agency liaisons. The project will empower teachers to equip students with the skills needed for success as employees and stewards of the fragile local coastal ecosystems.
SF Community School, San Francisco, CAGrades K-5, English2013, Fall$5,000
Ms. Zapata will lead a team of SF Community School (SFCS) educators that will support the needs of the school’s English Language Learners. Educators will place particular emphasis on strengthening the learning of Long Term English Language Learners, currently the lowest performing students across achievement indicators at SFCS. The project will allow educators to work collaboratively in study groups to provide the foundation for stronger blocks of classes and better use of strategies and interventions across all grade levels.
Mrs. Macht and Mr. Sgro will introduce “Classrooms Without Walls,” a science and technology program that will link classroom learning with real world scientific research. Mrs. Macht and her colleagues will partner with scientists affiliated with a local university to create projects that will connect academic learning to scientific practices and provide frameworks for students to learn about the importance of scientific thinking. The program will encourage students to become active learners and assume leadership positions as they teach their peers about the importance of science, math, and technology in their lives.
Lyman Memorial High School, Lebanon, CTGrades 9-12, Mathematics2013, Fall$5,000
Through “What Makes You Tick?,” Mr. Brodie and Ms. Escott will lead a project in which students will connect self-perception with the ways they view other people. Students will answer identity questions, formulate personal essays, and take self-portraits to be shared on a website. Lessons of character, tolerance, and acceptance will allow students to understand that the struggle for acceptance is both an individual and collective goal.
Whitewater High School, Whitewater, WIGrades 9-12, Computers / Technology2013, Fall$5,000
Ms. Masbruch and Mr. Lauersdorf will expand their Digital Electronics course to allow students to create software designs for circuits. The circuits will be used to control LED message boards, raise and lower toll bridge gates, detect jams in copy machines, and make robots dance. Through hands-on lessons, students will improve their technological literacy to become designers and architects. Students will ultimately be able to solve real world problems using truth tables, logical expressions, circuit simulation, and circuit construction.
Fox Ridge Middle School, Aurora, COGrades 6-8, Science2013, Fall$5,000
To create tangible, authentic experiences that promote student understanding of the human body, Ms. Parrish and Ms. Voreis will introduce the “Living Life Science” project. Students will develop critical thinking skills that will target the “why” behind cell function and structure, and will move away from rote memorization towards an inquiry based model. Student knowledge generated through this work will be evaluated with evidence based writing and modeling of specific systems.
Mrs. Jordan and Mrs. Heston will introduce “Reaching the Summit,” a unique after school program designed to close the achievement gaps for struggling students. School staff members and community volunteers will facilitate the program and engage students in learning by reinforcing and complementing classroom instruction in new and exciting ways. Participating students will have the opportunity to improve their academic skills and take part in school based mentoring. Students will also develop positive relationships with their peers and school staff members, which will result in improved attendance, academic progress, and greater connectivity to the school community.
Glacier Hills Elementary School of Arts and Science, Eagan, MNGrades K-5, Arts2013, Fall$5,000
Through the “STEAM Room,” Mrs. Frovik and Mrs. Jensen will lead a professional learning community that will allow teachers at Glacier Hill Elementary to work collectively and collaboratively with their colleagues and with local experts in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. The team will focus on problem solving, inquiry, and higher order thinking as they create a space in which students will foster creativity, innovation, invention, and design. Upon completing the learning, educators will introduce the STEAM room and encourage students to problem solve, find creative solutions, and understand their ability to positively impact society.
Through “Heart to Heart,” Mr. Chakrian and Ms. Heisey will implement a heart rate monitoring program at Waverly Elementary School. The program will allow students to monitor their exercise intensity in a safe and individualized manner. Data collected by the monitors will be downloaded and viewed by teachers, parents, and students and will enable all parties to track student progress toward cardiovascular fitness goals. Analysis of the data will also be used to help students make interdisciplinary connections to English and math classes.
West Allis Central High School, West Allis, WIGrades 9-12, Special Education2013, Fall$2,000
To more effectively serve students on the autism spectrum, Mrs. Bartosch will attend a “Social Thinking” clinic. After completing the clinic, Mrs. Bartosch will use her newly acquired knowledge to develop a course that will be offered in her school district to students dealing with social learning challenges. Teachers and support professionals working with autistic students will be trained to implement the newly developed program, which will be linked with Common Core Standards.
Douglas Intermediate Elementary, Douglas, MAGrades K-5, Librarian2013, Fall$5,000
Mrs. Nichols and Mrs. Findlay will lead a district wide tablet training session in preparation for an iPad implementation program in all elementary and middle schools. The program will teach educators to provide authentic learning experiences to students and help prepare them to be effective global citizens. Tablet integration will enhance student learning environments, which will allow them to explore, create, and become innovative problem solvers.
Independent School District 625, St. Paul, MNGrades K-5, Special Education2013, Fall$5,000
To increase student comprehension of grade level material, Ms. Glass and Ms. Tetlie will incorporate tablet technology into their special education classrooms. Educators will use the tablets to introduce research-based audio content to improve reading comprehension with students with severe print disabilities. Students will use targeted iPad apps, including talking vocabulary flash cards, to support their completion of coursework and demonstrate higher levels of understanding.
Park Forest Middle School, State College, PAGrades 6-8, Computers / Technology2013, Fall$2,000
Through “Renewable Electricity Producing Clean Water,” Mr. Hughes and Mr. McAninch will increase their students’ science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills by enhancing current curriculum with cross-curricular energy and environmental activities. Students will design, build, test, and evaluate various microbial fuel cells to determine which are most effective in converting energy. The experimental fuel cells will be outfitted with sensors that will record data on classrooms computers, which will allow students to instantly track and analyze progress.
Trewyn Day Treatment, Peoria, ILGrades K-5, Special Education2013, Spring$2,000
To improve students’ ability to express their needs and advocate for themselves, Ms. Stetler and Mrs. Maxwell will expose special needs students to various sensory therapies and equipment before and during classroom activities. Teachers and students will discover which therapies and equipment are most effective, eventually allowing students to express their needs and advocate for themselves in current and future educational settings.
Shorewood High School, Shoreline, WAGrades 9-12, Special Education2013, Spring$2,000
Ms. Mills will participate in the Combined Summer Institute, which will address support for students with deaf-blindness, multiple disabilities, and autism. While attending, Ms. Mills will gain vital knowledge that will enable her to more effectively support students with multiple disabilities. Ms. Mills and colleagues will incorporate information and insight gathered from the institute in classroom lessons that will help students make progress in their learning and support goals of independence and contribution to their communities.
Polytechnic High School, Long Beach, CAGrades 9-12, Science2013, Spring$2,000
Mrs. Hale-Hanes and Dr. Gundry will develop curriculum addressing the limited availability of potable water in many parts of the world. Students will engage in a series of investigations designed to encourage critical thinking about the challenges of making unsafe water consumable. Students will ultimately use pH probes to design a safe buffer for drinking water for a small village.
Two Rivers High School, Ogden, UTGrades 9-12, English2013, Spring$2,000
Mrs. Cox will improve her English teaching practice by attending the National Council of Teachers of English’s Annual Convention. During the convention, Mrs. Cox will attend workshops, listen to keynote speakers, and work with leaders in the field. Following the convention, Mrs. Cox will reexamine her approached to teaching language arts and adjust her instruction to best meet the needs of at-risk students.
William K. Willis High School, Columbus, OHGrades 9-12, Librarian2013, Spring$5,000
Mr. Steinbower will lead a civil rights and social justice unit that will have students examining the impact of the civil rights movement on the southern United States and apartheid on past, present, and future South Africa. Student and educators will attend a panel discussion about the evolution of race relations and will have access to a traveling exhibit that will focus on the injustices of the landmark Emmett Till case. Ultimately, students will be asked to identify societal inequalities and discuss methods of eradicating them.
To bolster Central Heights Elementary School’s web based Lead21 reading and math interventions, Mr. Herron and Mr. Mainwaring will introduce tablet technology in their classrooms. Students will have greater access to hands-on programs directly correlated with lessons. The use of tablets will increase educators’ ability to enhance small group learning, meet individual learning styles, and assist students in becoming technologically proficient.
Milton High School, Milton, VTGrades 9-12, Arts2013, Spring$5,000
Ms. Reckord and Mrs. Manley will introduce “Art: A Common Language,” a project that will use art to inspire communication between students in India and Milton, Vermont. Students in each site will use prompts to create art and then share their work through the Vermont Young Writer’s Project’s website. Writing about and commenting on artwork through blogging will create a dialogue between the students and provide them with a unique audience for their art and writing.
Cary-Grove High School, Cary, ILGrades 9-12, Teacher2013, Spring$2,000
Mr. Cook will embark upon an action research project studying the business and economics of Northern Kenya’s desert region. Mr. Cook will examine and record the actions being taken by Non-Governmental Organizations to develop a sustainable marketplace for an undeveloped local economy. Upon completing the research, Mr. Cook will record his findings on a website containing interdisciplinary business case studies for high school students.
South Milwaukee High School, South Milwaukee, WIGrades 9-12, Computers / Technology2013, Spring$5,000
Through the “Smart Cooperative,” students will work with individual art teachers to visualize “practicing peace.” Students will use iOS devices for the visual creation, alteration, storage, and display of personal art works. The project will culminate with an exhibit at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, during which students will display their unique works in a digital gallery.
New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NMHigher Education, General Pedagogical Practice2013, Spring$2,000
Dr. Perez will travel to Cuernavaca, Mexico, to participate in a language and culture immersion program for educators. While living with a host family, she will participate in language study and visit elementary schools and historical sites to learn about Mexican culture and heritage. Dr. Perez will share the knowledge she gains with her pre-service and in-service teachers enrolled in her early childhood courses focusing on language, culture, and pedagogy, and also her colleagues who integrate English as a Second Language instruction in their courses.
Charlotte County Schools, Port Charlotte, FLGrades 9-12, Arts2013, Spring$2,000
Mrs. Harvey and Mrs. Morehouse will introduce students to the Common Core Reading Standards through arts and science integration. Activities will address standards for writing, speaking, and listening, as well as the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for art and science. Students will ultimately demonstrate higher levels of thinking as they study science, poetry, history, and writing.
Sitton Elementary School, Portland, ORGrades K-5, Special Education2013, Spring$5,000
Mrs. Martine and Mrs. Hefty will create a classroom resource library that will offer a diverse collection of assistive technological devices, switches, and accessible computer programs that will assist students with moderate to severe disabilities. Students will increase their independent comprehension and collaboration skills by increasing their functional communication and occupying their leisure time with pleasurable activities. Students will have open access to the library to ensure their needs are met more immediately.
To assist students in developing a lifelong sense of stewardship for the ocean and coastal communities, Mrs. Forshee and colleagues will lead a project stressing the connection between local and global coastal issues. The team will provide students 21st century learning opportunities through technology integration, student-centered learning, inquiry, challenge-based practices, and real world connections. Students will conduct research, document their findings, and create presentations to share with their peers.
To address the unique learning needs of students with emotional disabilities, Mr. Acuna and Mrs. Keith will introduce tablet technology in their middle school classrooms. Student will analyze the text and delivery of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and write short persuasive speeches that compare and contrast the written and video modalities of the speech. Students will then record, edit, and present their speeches to their teachers and peers.
Through “Stepping Stones to Reading and Writing Success,” students will work in small intervention groups towards grade level competency. The lowest performing students will receive strategies to enhance their fluency skills, learn to monitor and clarify their understandings, and write summaries using on-level texts.Ultimately, Ms. Brecque and Mrs. Pearce wish to see students make a gain of at least one grade level in reading and heightened writing skills.
North Brookfield Public Schools, North Brookfield, MAGrades K-5, Mathematics2013, Spring$5,000
To aid in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Mr. Mooney and Mrs. Laflamme will implement “Creating a Mathematical Community.” The project will provide coaching, support, modeling, and guidance to all elementary school staff throughout the process of blending the CCSS mathematical standards into rigorous curriculum. The work will form a bridge between teachers and students as North Brookfield Public Schools continues to bolster its mathematics department.
Harmony High School, Saint Cloud, FLGrades 9-12, English2013, Spring$2,000
To demonstrate how people’s words and actions can have massive impacts on society, Ms. Allison will introduce a lesson examining the events and forces that led to the Holocaust. Students will participate in literature circles and will analyze artwork and primary sources from concentration camps and the German government. Ultimately, students will learn about an unspeakable chapter of history, what allowed it to happen, and what can be done to prevent it from occurring in the future.
Harry S. Truman College, Chicago, ILHigher Education, General Pedagogical Practice2013, Spring$5,000
A team of high school and college teachers will coordinate “GEARed UP for Truman,” a summer college readiness program for Chicago public high school graduates who have applied to Truman College and tested below college levels on the COMPASS placement exam. The team will build a community of students and supportive adults who focus on mathematics and college readiness. Ultimately, the program will reduce the number of developmental courses needed by students by getting them closer to college level math.
Hazelwood East High School, Saint Louis, MOGrades 9-12, Mathematics2013, Spring$5,000
To improve problem solving and group work in Algebra I classrooms, Mr. Martin and Ms. Knight will introduce tablet technology. Student collaboration will increase through the sharing of student work, problem sets, and e-portfolios. Mr. Martin and Ms. Knight will stress the improvement of 21st century skills and allow scholars to work in individualized, innovative ways.
Coquille School District, Coquille, ORGrades 9-12, Special Education2013, Spring$5,000
To meet college credit requirements and increase curriculum offerings for high school students, Mrs. Eschler and Mr. Cumberland will promote a district-wide plan of accelerated college credit proficiency. Coquille School District (CSD) will partner with Southwestern Oregon Community College and the Oregon University Systems to provide at-risk high school students with opportunities to begin the transition into post-secondary education.
Viewlands Elementary School, Seattle, WAGrades K-5, Special Education2013, Spring$5,000
Mrs. Silvia and a team of colleagues will learn to work with behaviorally challenged special needs students. The team will learn to execute Applied Behavioral Analysis in the classroom, support students with autism and oppositional defiance, and manage disruptive behavior and promote academic achievement. The professional learning community will allow team members to support the entire school staff when challenging behaviors arise.
Mrs. Dieda will be trained in “Where Everyone Belongs (WEB),” a structured environment program that guides incoming 6th and 7th grade students toward both academic and social success. After completing the training, Mrs. Dieda will lead a yearlong orientation and transition program that will allow 8th grade students to become WEB leaders and help incoming students transition to middle school by being positive role models, motivators, and teachers.
Riverton High School, Riverton, ILGrades 9-12, School Counselor2013, Spring$2,000
To better enhance students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills, Riverton High School will strengthen its “Project Lead the Way (PLTW)” curriculum. Required training will be provided to educators for certification, which will allow them to teach a PLTW course being offered to seniors. Ms. Campbell will attend a two-week intensive training at a PLTW university and share her learning with her colleagues.
Morgan Elementary School, Shelby Township, MIGrades K-5, English2013, Spring$2,000
Mrs. Laber and Dr. Christ will integrate tablet technology into literacy instruction to facilitate critical thinking in fourth grade students. Through the lesson, students will focus on making inferences, comparing and contrasting, making connections, and analyzing texts. Ultimately, students will display improved critical thinking about text and will have gained proficiency in an emerging technology.
Memorial High School, West New York, NJGrades 9-12, Arts2013, Spring$2,000
Ms. Atkinson will travel to South Africa to conduct a case study for the development of a cross curricular unit on human rights, the Holocaust, and genocide studies. While abroad, Ms. Atkinson will conduct a performance workshop with a group of adolescents affected by the remnants of apartheid while conducting in depth research at the South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation and a number of museums. The developed unit will be integrated into dance and theatre curriculum for Memorial High School performing arts majors.
Pearl R. Miller Middle School, Kinnelon, NJGrades 6-8, English2013, Winter
Ms. Florio and Ms. Kelly will establish book clubs at Pearl R. Miller Middle School to give students in reading classes access to multiple copies of essential texts. Students in groups will read, share, and discuss high-level reading and thinking strategies. Students will increase reading fluency, stamina, independence, and passion for reading as they are introduced to concepts that will be necessary for college and career readiness.
Alton High School, Alton, ILGrades 9-12, School Social Worker2013, Winter
Ms. Scott and Mrs. Wittman will empower at-risk students to express themselves through music, drama, dance, visual arts, rap, step, and poetry using Creative Art Therapy. Students will study the arts, compose music, record songs, and create dance and step routines. Students’ technological proficiency will improve through the use of graphic design software, camcorders, and music production equipment. The project will culminate with participants sharing their experiences with elementary school students.
Fireside Elementary School, Phoenix, AZGrades K-5, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)2013, Winter
To gain STEM resources to share with her students, Mrs. Gosney will attend the Advanced Space Camp for Educators in Huntsville, Alabama. The camp will expose Mrs. Gosney to intensive classroom, laboratory, and training time focusing on space science and exploration. During the program, Mrs. Gosney will participate in trainings, simulations, and activities designed to promote lifelong learning in classroom settings.
Tualatin High School, Tualatin, ORGrades 9-12, Mathematics2013, Winter
Ms. Hay will participate in the Knapsack Institute, a three-day workshop held in Colorado Springs, Colorado that focuses on inequality and social justice. The institute is an intensive professional development experience that allows educators to develop skills to more effectively communicate around issues of racial equality. Ms. Hay will learn powerful strategies for transforming curriculum and becoming a more culturally competent educator and facilitator.
Michael F. Wallace Middle School, Waterbury, CTGrades K-5, Physical Education2013, Winter
Ms. Phoenix, along with Wallace Middle School’s Positive Behavior Support Committee, will open a school store. By demonstrating positive behavior, students will earn currency that will allow them to purchase products at the store, all of which will encourage physical activity. Through investing in these products, students will learn the value of hard work and saving, as well as the importance of lifelong physical fitness.
Love Chapel Elementary School, Erwin, TNGrades K-5, Music2013, Winter
Dr. Dwyer and Mrs. Hatcher will collaborate with colleagues to design learning centers that will integrate electronic tablet technology into the curriculum of low income kindergarteners. Students will use the tablets in small, differentiated groups utilizing program applications designed to develop reading, writing, and mathematical abilities. Students will interact with stories and songs that promote phonemic awareness and number concepts. Hands-on activities will be created that will assist kindergarteners to achieve school readiness and success.
To address an English Language Learner population struggling to make consistent gains in academic achievement, Ms. Walker and Ms. Moy will lead a continuing collegial study of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP). Educators will participate in a study circle and be trained in the implementation and evaluation of SIOP and how the tool can improve student achievement. The resulting teaching and learning of English Language Learner (ELL) students will be measured by student language proficiency.
Selma Unified School District, Selma, CAGrades K-5, Resource Specialist2013, Winter
Mrs. Pasillas and Mrs. Breedlove will use iPads to increase the level of Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goal specific instruction, student motivation, and educator productivity in a highly engaging and motivating manner. Students in Tier 3 intensive interventions and speech therapy will have access to educational apps targeted directly at their individual needs. The use of this technology, coupled with effective instruction, will allow struggling students to take a greater individual role in the course of their learning.
Mrs. Whitbred and Mrs. Westra will introduce tablets into their classrooms and create multimedia lessons that will encourage students to think critically and produce ebook narratives, tall tales, poems, and cartoons and share them with their peers. Additionally, students will use the tablets to conduct research for science and social studies group projects.
Mount Washington Elementary School, Mount Washington, KYGrades K-5, Mathematics2013, Winter
Mount Washington Elementary School's Common Core Mastery Team will provide school wide professional development via research based “Thinking Strategies” instruction groups. One of the nation’s leading vessels for mastery of Common Core Standards, “Thinking Strategies” instruction empowers students to think critically, improves classroom engagement, and elevates student achievement. The group will share their learning with colleagues in districts throughout the region and state.
Ferris High School, Spokane, WAGrades 9-12, English2013, Winter
To improve the language arts curriculum at Ferris High School, Mr. Halstead will attend the Teachers’ College Writing Institute at Columbia University. At the workshop, Mr. Halstead will learn strategies for implementing the writing workshop model in his classroom. Upon returning, Mr. Halstead will conduct writing workshops at the school and district level and collaborate with colleagues to implement highly engaging teaching strategies.
Bradley East Elementary School, Bradley, ILGrades K-5, Teacher2013, Winter
Through “The Daily 5,” Mrs. Rizzo and Mrs. Norman-DeSelm will create independent iPad iPod learning centers for reading and math. By adding a technology component to current lessons, educators will encourage student independence and hands-on projects. Tablets iPods will be available to students to use in independent centers and preloaded with specific apps that focus on student needs and allow student choice.
Jefferson Early Childhood Center, Moline, ILGrades K-5, Special Education2013, Winter
Mrs. Shipman and Mrs. Oltman will create an outdoor space to implement early childhood best practices. The cohort will create lessons through Creative Curriculum, a standards based research tool currently implemented at Jefferson Early Childhood Center. Planned activities across subject areas will foster sequenced, developmental growth that correlates with Illinois Early Learning Standards. Through the outdoor learning space, Mrs. Shipman and her colleagues will foster an enriched child-centered learning environment for students, their families, and members of the community.
Global Connections High School, Seatac, WAGrades 9-12, English2013, Winter
To improve teaching practice through more consistent assessment methods, Ms. Schicht and Ms. Weseman will form an Assembly Leadership Team (ALT) at Global Connections High School. The ALT will study standards based grading, collect data regarding grading practices, and ultimately create a shared vision of assessment. Participants will implement a school wide common belief and practice around assessment that will impact every teacher and student.
Pueblo Magnet High School, Tucson, AZGrades 9-12, Exceptional Education2013, Winter
To learn more about inclusive practices in the Common Core general education classroom for students with disabilities, Ms. DeMartino will attend the Model Schools Conference in Washington, DC. At the conference, experts in the field will discuss the elements of effective instruction, provide a roadmap on the development and support of instructional effectiveness, and discuss ways to create a culture of responsibility in schools. Ms. DeMartino will use this knowledge to develop a sustained inclusion program at Pueblo Magnet High School.
Mount Vernon High School, Mount Vernon, OHGrades K-5, Foreign Language Teacher2013, Winter
To embellish the language arts and social studies curriculum at Mount Vernon High School, Mrs. Behrensmeyer will attend an immersive Greek cultural study through the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece. Mrs. Behrensmeyer will study ancient and contemporary art, architecture, engineering, writing, and literature and will share her findings with colleagues. Upon returning, she will create interdisciplinary culture capsules to infuse classics into the total curriculum.
Fremont Public Schools, Fremont, NEGrades K-5, Teacher of the Blind2013, Winter
Mrs. Robinson and Ms. George will create a “Sensory Courtyard” which will offer a unique, hands-on approach to providing greater educational opportunities for students with special needs. The courtyard will offer accessibility for every learner and allow students to have opportunities to actively participate in unique educational experiences. Students will increase their exploration of new textures to awaken their senses and become more productive.
To improve student writing proficiency, Mrs. Stein will attend the Teacher’s College Summer Writing Institute at Columbia University. The institute will offer professional development focused on curriculum development, student writing assistance, and classroom structure creations that support inquiry and collaboration. Upon completing her studies, Mrs. Stein will share her knowledge with colleagues via monthly workshops featuring book talks, in-class lesson studies, and coaching periods.
Bush Middle School, Birmingham, ALGrades 6-8, Mathematics2013, Winter
Through the use of Renaissance Learning software, Ms. Purnell and her colleagues will incorporate technology to address gaps in the critical math skills of students with learning disabilities. Daily use of the Accelerated Math program will enable students to receive personalized intervention and targeted instruction, which will lead to greater conceptual understanding.
Rincon High School, Tucson, AZGrades 9-12, Exceptional Education2013, Winter
To learn about life centered career education, Mrs. Van Gelder will attend a series of sessions taught by leaders in the field of special education. The sessions will focus on transition assessments, social skills instruction, life centered career education, and behavior modification strategies. Upon completing this learning, Mrs. Van Gelder will present best practices at collegial workshops and train other special educators to utilize essential strategies.
Miami Beach Senior High School, Miami Beach, FLGrades 9-12, Social Studies2013, Winter
Ms. Garcia and Mrs. Bush will provide a group of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) students with curricular support, career exploration, and academic enrichment opportunities through a series of field trips in the Miami metropolitan area. Activities in the program will focus on writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading. Assignments will highlight financial planning, scholarships, and the college application process while also preparing students with the skills necessary for future work environments. The program will culminate with student reflections that allow them to analyze their thoughts, feelings, and acquired skills.
Joy Elementary, Fairbanks, AKGrades K-5, Physical Education / Health2013, Winter
To gain a wealth of new knowledge and current best practices to share with physical educators across the state, Ms. Myrum will attend the American Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance national conference. Knowledge obtained at this conference will be used immediately to improve classroom instruction. Additionally, Ms. Myrum will present findings from the conference to her colleagues at the local, regional, and state levels.
Peter S. Ogden Elementary School, Vancouver, WAGrades K-5, Mathematics2013, Winter
Through “Poetry Around Us,” students will study, compose, and present original poetry through an active exploration of their community. Students will shoot digital photographs to pair with their written work, take notes as they observe a variety of settings, and record themselves as they read their poems as part of a multimedia poetry showcase for families and classmates. Integrating technology with speech and language lessons will assist students in gaining a better understanding of the power of poetry as performance art.
Mt. Pilchuck Elementary School, Lake Stevens, WAGrades K-5, Special Education2013, Winter
To appeal to young learners by engaging their visual, auditory, and tactile senses, Mrs. Wyant and Ms. Janowiak will introduce interactive whiteboards into their classrooms. Working with general education students, special education students will be exposed to developmentally appropriate materials that will meet the needs of all learners. Whiteboard technology will assist Mrs. Wyant and her colleagues in meeting the individual and specific needs of students at all levels and improving student understanding of core concepts.
Clarksburg High School, Clarksburg, MDGrades 9-12, Computers / Technology2013, Winter
Mr. Sell and Ms. Amberg will broaden the scope of the current curriculum in Clarksburg High School’s Introductory Computer Science course by introducing robotic technology. Students will be exposed to computer programming and analytical thinking by working with Finch robots. Mr. Sell will teach foundational computer science lessons while fostering student creativity, as students learn problem solving, critical thinking, and basic programming concepts in an innovative way.
Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Wagoner will implement interactive whiteboard technology in their classrooms. Educators will focus on reading and writing lessons that will result in increased comprehension and understanding of subject material. Ultimately, Mr. Shoals and Mrs. Wagoner will enhance instructional knowledge and practice, increase student engagement in learning, and promote staff support and collaboration.
Hall-Woodward Elementary, Winston Salem, NCGrades K-5, Education Support Professional2012, Spring
Dempsey Moore will participate in the “Maximizing Leadership Potential”
workshop at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North
Carolina. Through the workshop, Ms.
Dempsey Moore will prepare to become an effective teacher leader through the
examination of self awareness, learning agility, communication, and
influence. Additionally, Ms. Dempsey
Moore will learn to navigate conflict management and professional relationship
building. The methods learned will be
shared with other educators at Hall-Woodward Elementary upon completion of the
PS 327 Dr. Rose B. English School, Brooklyn, NYGrades K-5, Computers / Technology2012, Spring
Ms. Butler will implement a digitized interactive
curriculum to deliver personalized lesson plans and homework assignments to students. The system will manage all elements of
teaching, learning, and assessment while allowing Ms. Butler to remain at the
center of instruction. Students will
learn while taking part in multimedia activities featuring state of the art
animations, games, creative explorations, and collaborative projects. The project
will ultimately improve student test scores and increase student confidence,
motivation, and enjoyment of math and language arts
Odessa Elementary School, New Port Richey, FLGrades K-5, Special Education2012, Spring
Mrs. Robinson and her colleagues will
introduce learning activities that pair students with autism with basic
education students. The project will
serve to enhance academic learning and communication and social skills for both
groups. Students will gain a deeper
understanding of one another while working together in the areas of reading,
writing, science, and social studies.
Saint Anthony Park Elementary, Saint Paul, MNGrades K-5, Arts2012, Spring
Ollmann will embark on an immersive cultural and Spanish language study in
Guatemala and Mexico. Through the
University of Mexico, Mr. Ollmann will take part in an intensive study of the
Spanish language as well as take elective courses in Mexican history, culture,
and dance. Throughout the study, Mr.
Ollmann will blog about his learning and, upon returning, share his experiences
with colleagues through workshop presentations.
Hillcrest Elementary School, San Francisco, CAGrades K-5, English2012, Spring
deepen her understanding of assessment based literacy instruction that supports
emerging readers who are English language learners, Ms. Martinez will attend
the Reading Institute hosted by Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at
Columbia University. Upon completion,
Ms. Martinez will infuse her classroom with a rich, literature based bilingual
reading workshop and share her learning with grade level colleagues during
weekly collaboration meetings.
Stagg Street Elementary School, Van Nuys, CAGrades K-5, Science2012, Spring
Through the “Science is Real Life”
project, Ms. Arellano and her colleagues will bring grade level standards to
life by introducing students to the Los Angeles Conservation Corp’s Sea
Lab. Students will see the water cycle
in action through direct observation and discussion. Participation in active science laboratories
will allow students to become immersed in scientific lessons and make
connections between the lessons and their own lives.
Northgate Middle/Senior High School, Pittsburgh, PAGrades K-5, Science2012, Spring
students at Northgate High School will enhance laboratory learning through the
incorporation of iPads in the lab setting.
Tablet simulations will portray volatile chemical reactions and
molecular interactivity and allow students to visualize molecules and
stereoisomers. Mrs. Boring and Mrs.
Coughenour will make available video content that will extend learning beyond
the classroom and increase student interest in the study of science.
Indiana School for the Blind, Indianapolis, INGrades 6-8, Special Education2012, Spring
Masih will travel to Finland to study a school for the visually impaired and
discuss with educators instructional strategies for working with visually
impaired students. During her travels
Mrs. Masih will blog about her learning so her middle school world cultures
class can read about it during the school year. Upon return, Mrs. Masih will share new strategies and policy ideas with
teachers at the Indiana School for the Blind and with other educators in her
Mason County Middle School, Maysville, KYGrades 6-8, Science2012, Spring
Bowling will present two workshops at the National Science Teachers Association’s
Regional Conference. In the first
workshop, Mrs. Bowling will teach colleagues how to incorporate social networks
in science classes; in the second workshop, she will discuss the use of
chemistry demonstrations to spark student interest and kick off a unit of study
on the structure and transformation of matter. Additionally, Mrs. Bowling will attend sessions focusing on the integration
of the new Common Core Literacy Standards into science content area. The information learned at the sessions will
be shared within her district through a professional learning community.
Ponderosa Elementary School, Sunnyvale, CAGrades K-5, Reading, Spelling, Writing2012, Spring
Dodson will lead a professional learning community at Ponderosa Elementary
School in implementing the “Reader’s Workshop.” Colleagues will collaboratively develop an implementation plan for an
improved school wide language arts program.
Support will be provided to students through traditional books and an
online program assessing reading comprehension.
Bartlett High School, Anchorage, AKGrades 9-12, Reading, Spelling, Writing2012, Spring
To improve student reading and writing
proficiency, educators at Bartlett High School and its feeder elementary and
middle schools will implement the “Step Up to Writing” program as a school wide
initiative. The cohesive writing program
will provide students with a common set of skills and vocabulary to discuss
reading and writing. Language arts
educators initially trained in the program’s implementation will train
educators in all other subject areas.
Norwich High School, Norwich, NYGrades 9-12, Social Studies2012, Spring
Maholchic will attend the AP Annual Conference, where she will present the
seminar “Teaching Timed Writing: A Gradual Release Model.” During the session, she will share strategies
that she has developed in her classroom to improve student writing in a timed
setting. Additionally, Ms. Maholchic
will attend seminars on ways to strengthen the AP program at her school and
explore new classroom strategies. Upon completing
the conference, Ms. Maholchic will share new ideas and strategies with her
Russell Area Technology Center, Russell, KYGrades 9-12, Computers / Technology2012, Spring
To encourage students to become technology
leaders, educators at Russell Area Technology Center will implement the “SMART
Classroom Suite.” Through the use of
SMART boards, students will work collaboratively on educational games and
discussion questions. Furthermore,
students will expand their view of technology as a social and professional tool
and take initiative in contributing to the design of classroom lessons.
Denver Place Elementary, Wilmington, OHGrades K-5, Science2012, Spring
a partnership with the Cincinnati Zoo, Miami University, and Project Dragonfly,
Mrs. Randolph will travel to Belize to take part in Earth Expeditions. Mrs. Randolph will participate in investigations
to monitor manatee population dynamics, human influence on coral reefs, and
aquatic mangrove species sampling. Expedition leaders will emphasize use of inquiry based learning to
generate knowledge of conservation. After the expedition, Mrs. Randolph will develop inquiry based science
units to introduce students to marine ecosystems, problem solving through
inquiry, and conservation themes.
Randolph Middle School, Randolph, NJGrades 6-8, Special Education2012, Spring
Zschack and a colleague will travel to Thailand to volunteer at an orphanage
that was created amid the destruction of the 2004 tsunami. Through this immersive cultural experience,
Ms. Zschack will gain knowledge in the fields of special education, history,
and language arts. Upon return, Ms.
Zschack will implement a service based learning project that will bring to
light the struggles of children in foreign cultures.
Lake Weir High School, Ocala, FLGrades 9-12, Special Education2012, Spring
students who have failed state reading tests, Mrs. Brazell-Smith will attend a
dyslexia screening seminar. After
completing the seminar, Mrs. Brazell-Smith will equip educators at Lake Weir
High School with effective strategies to identify dyslexic students, including
a basic screening. The screening will
enable educators to identify students with learning disabilities and present
them with accommodations in the classroom and on state tests.
Packard Children's Hospital School, Palo Alto, CAGrades 9-12, Literature2012, Spring
provide hospitalized students with engaging and imaginative curriculums, Ms. Ho
will attend the Oxbridge Academic Teacher's Seminar on Literature and the
Fantastic. The seminar will focus on
classic fantasy novels and the influence of Oxford on their authors. After completing the seminar, Ms. Ho will
develop curriculum for a fantasy literature course focusing on escapism and imagination. Additionally, Ms. Ho will share knowledge
with colleagues in her school, district, and hospital schools throughout the
Osage Elementary School, Voorhees, NJGrades K-5, Arts2012, Spring
Wormann will complete the initial “Level of Musicianship and Leadership”
program through Music For People, in which she will seek to promote a humanistic
approach to the way music is taught, performed, and appreciated. The program will allow Ms. Wormann to
establish a base of improvisational techniques and competencies and learn to
facilitate these skills to benefit students and fellow music teachers. The learning will be documented through
journals, audio recordings, and collaborations with mentors in the
W. Charles Akins High School, Austin, TXGrades 9-12, Mathematics2012, Spring
equipped with reading, writing, and behavior documentation applications, W.
Charles Akins High School Social Behavioral Skills (SSBS) students will improve
their reading and writing achievement, behavioral choices, and social skills in
academic settings. Mrs. Newcomb and her
colleagues will use behavioral applications to document, collect, and interpret
data that will be used to make Individual Educational Plan decisions. Staff will ultimately collaborate with
parents to address truancy, poor study habits, social skills, and other chronic
behavior problems endemic to the SSBS student population.
Liberty Elementary School, Santa Maria, CAGrades K-5, English2012, Spring
Second grade teachers at Liberty
Elementary School will expose students to interactive hands-on visual projects
to improve student understanding of the school’s comprehensive language arts
program. Educators will create and
provide interactive vocabulary activities to expand the English learners’ language
base. The ultimate goal will be to
encourage students to speak using newly learned language as frequently as
possible while making connections and building comprehension.
Red Hill Elementary School, North Garden, VAGrades K-5, Education Support Professional2012, Spring
White and Ms. Hilker will lead a study group focusing on the use of
differentiation through the discussion of proactive, purposeful, responsive, and
learner centered instruction. The group
will target specific concepts and strategies related to differentiation using
modified lesson study methods as a means of collaboration, implementation, and
reflection. After creating and
delivering collaborative assessments, projects, and lessons, teachers will
evaluate and refine these products to more effectively differentiate
Chambersburg Area High School, Chambersburg, PAGrades 9-12, Science2012, Spring
Mr. McKenry will
implement an “Adopt-a-Stream” classroom project in order to improve student
achievement in genetic and ecology lessons and foster a conservation ethic in
students. Students will take care of and
monitor a local stream in order to determine its health and will propose steps
to conserve and improve the aquatic resource.
Project participants will raise trout in the classroom to investigate
growth and development and analyze ecological relationships between living and
nonliving entities in an aquatic ecosystem.
Montezuma Elementary School, Montezuma, INGrades K-5, History2012, Spring
McMullen will travel to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to attend
the annual Arthur and Rochelle Belfer National Conference for Educators. Museum educators and scholars will share
rationales, strategies, and approaches for presenting the complex subject of
the Holocaust to students. Mrs.
McMullen will hear survivor testimony and have extensive time to view the
museum's permanent exhibitions. Seminar
sessions will emphasize planning and implementing units of study for Holocaust
The Renaissance Charter School, Jackson Heights, NYGrades K-5, English2012, Spring
Ms. Tubridy will introduce “Poets for
Change,” a personal inquiry and poetry project that will use poetry and
research as a vehicle from promoting change in students’ lives. Senior ELA students will study the form and
craft of poetry and learn performance techniques. During the school’s Experiential Learning
Week, a team of students will train for city poetry slams, and student
anthologies will be printed to culminate the project.
Siegel High School, Murfreesboro, TNGrades 9-12, Science2012, Spring
Siegel High School agriculture
students will gain experience in water conservation techniques by designing and
planting a riparian buffer along a local creek. Students will assess the need for reducing runoff and increasing
infiltration for a limestone dominated landscape. Mrs. Farrow and Ms. Hooper will provide the
service learning opportunity as part of their agriscience and landscaping
classes and will share the outcomes of the project with the local school board,
colleagues, and members of the community.
Fresno County Office of Education, Fresno, CAHigher Education, Special Education2012, Spring
Special education teachers will use
iPads to increase student learning and collaboration among educators. Through a hands-on approach to community
based learning, educators will present practical lessons on social and
communication skills. Students will
additionally learn through vocational trainings that focus on students’ ability
to live independently.
Jane Addams Elementary School, Palatine, ILGrades K-5, Mathematics2012, Spring
To foster student creativity, Mrs.
Galezewski will encourage elementary students to participate in the creative
process through musical composition. Students will first observe educators composing music and then will
write collaborative compositions through the use of learned musical knowledge
and technology. Students will ultimately
compose individual or small group pieces and perform them on recorders,
xylophones, and other classroom instruments.
Washington Community Schools, Washington, IAGrades 6-8, Special Education2012, Spring
To increase the reading proficiency of
underperforming and special education students, Mrs. Spencer and Mrs. Kinsinger
will expand the “System 44 Reading” program. Through the program, students will be exposed
to small group instruction, independent reading assignments, and computer
lessons. The process will emphasize the
phonetic skills needed to become an independent reader. Upon completion of the program, students will
possess the strategies needed to decode unfamiliar words.
St. Paul Music Academy, Saint Paul, MNGrades K-5, Arts2012, Spring
Kelly will collaborate with Arpita Chatterjee, a licensed music educator in
India, for a musical exchange that will inform both educators of the technical
and cultural methods used in various forms of music. Ms. Kelly and Ms. Chatterjee will develop a
pilot music and English language acquisition project using American folk music. Additionally, Ms. Chatterjee will assist Ms.
Kelly in developing a music unit studying the musical styles of classical folk
and Bollywood Indian music.
Pocomoke Middle School, Pocomoke City, MDGrades 6-8, Computers / Technology2012, Spring
To address varying readiness levels and
interests, educators at Pocomoke Middle School will introduce iPads in
classrooms to provide instructional methods that draw on students’
interests. Educators will use instant
feedback to prepare for lessons and modify instruction to improve student
engagement. In addition, Mrs. Ziglejeva
and her colleagues will look for students to express higher levels of intrinsic
motivation, productivity, autonomy, achievement, and self competence.
HB Woodlawn School, Arlington, VAGrades 9-12, Education Support Professional2012, Spring
Dr. Van Evera will lead
a collegial reading group focused on building a sense of community among staff
members and understanding how data analysis techniques can be used to guide
continuous school improvement. Group
readings will focus on school environment as an essential element of high
quality learning. After the reading is
complete, the group will create an action plan for HB Woodlawn School based on
learning and data collected.
Saranac Lake High School, Saranac Lake, NYGrades 9-12, Science2012, Winter
Clicking Into Engaging Science Lessons
When Amanda Zullo began teaching a multi-grade high school chemistry class, she knew she needed to change the way her class worked to meet the needs of a wider range of students. With no prerequisites, the Regents chemistry course placed in the same classroom “the valedictorian and the kids who are hoping to meet the graduation requirements,” she says. “It challenged me to try different ways of teaching to reach the broadest group of students possible.”
Zullo shifted to an inquiry-based model of classroom instruction, one in which students work together in groups to solve open-ended problems. To ensure students were on task, she walked from group to group to check for understanding. But she knew that spot checks “based on gut” weren’t enough to ensure that all students were learning.
In searching for a solution, Zullo discovered a counterintuitive corollary about technology and teaching: finding a tool to quickly gauge student understanding paved the way for more open-ended, deeper learning.
Through the NEA Foundation Student Achievement Grant, Zullo obtained a classroom set of “clickers,” a system of handheld devices that students use to respond to questions posed during class. The system compiles the results and pinpoints which students are struggling to understand key concepts, allowing Zullo to focus on helping exactly who needs it.
“You could tell if the kids were on target as they were doing these projects,” she says. “It immediately took the fear factor out of spending a day teaching kids something they may or may not learn from. With this, I can just find out on the spot and adjust on the fly to make sure everyone’s on target with the learning goals at hand.”
Zullo worked with other science and math teachers to learn how to use the system, which has also helped spark classroom discussion. “A teacher could borrow the laptop from the library, pick up the clickers and bring them to their classroom and use them,” Zullo says. “It became very seamless.” Collaboration on the technology also opened the door for collaboration in the classroom, as Zullo began co-teaching lessons with an Algebra teacher. “As we found this was effective, we were encouraged to try more and broader things,” she says.
The technology has also helped focus tutoring in the school’s after school library program, which is overseen by educational support staff. “You can export reports from the system and see what kids got right and wrong,” Zullo says. “That way, the students come into the library after school and get help with what they need. It’s helped realign that support with the classroom expectations.”
All told, 300 students and 15 teachers have used the clickers since they were introduced in March 2012. Zullo saw the number of critical thinking statements included in student lab reports increase by 45 percent; this is a significant increase and is what new standards such as the Common Core State Standards aspire to achieve.
The clicker has facilitated formative assessment of student understanding, higher-order and cross-disciplinary instruction, and more aligned afterschool supports—all of these are known by research to contribute to higher-student achievement. Zullo adds, however, that an equally important shift occurred—she became a more “reflective” teacher. That is, with the reports generated by the clickers, she had access to a new source of data and information that she could use to reflect on and tweak her practice. In her own words, “In the end, the reflection on what’s happening in your classroom is really valuable.”
Fowler will attend the New and Aspiring
School Leaders program at Harvard University. Through the program, Mr. Fowler will gain new
tools, frameworks, leadership techniques, instructional practice techniques,
and ideas to more effectively build and sustain learning environments. Upon
program completion, Mr. Fowler will share his knowledge with staff and
administrators within his district.
Techie Teachers, Mrs. Tardif will
undergo Smart Notebook Certification Training. The training will provide Mrs.
Tardif with the skills necessary to fully utilize her school’s technology equipment
as educational tools. Upon completing the training, Mrs. Tardif will provide
materials and training for her colleagues within a collaborative study group.
East Stroudsburg Area High School South, East Stroudsburg, PAGrades 9-12, General Pedagogical Practice2012, Winter
improve the quality of education for ESL and Hispanic heritage students, Ms.
Rasely-Philipps and her colleagues will develop an academic group at school
that will foster personal and cultural connections as well as academic and
career choices. The group will study methods of teaching across cultures and
develop a mentorship program that connects students with area professionals to
improve retention and graduation rates among Hispanic students. The group will
work in the future to build like programs for other at-risk populations.
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VAHigher Education, Education Support Professional2012, Spring
Eckhoff will guide a teacher learning community of recent graduates as they
navigate their first teaching year in a primary grades classroom. Acting as a participant observer, Dr. Eckhoff
will facilitate face-to-face and virtual meetings, collect group artifacts,
preserve transcripts from meetings, visit community members' classrooms, and
maintain field notes documenting the work of the community throughout the
year. Through the implementation and
documentation of the community, Dr. Eckhoff will contribute to understandings
of the impact of such groups on novice teachers' identities and teaching
practices as they navigate the complexities of contemporary, early childhood
Edward J. Milliken Technical Center, Oakdale, NYGrades 9-12, Physical Education2012, Spring
To learn about the benefits of community
service and personal health, Ms. Gottlieb and Mr. Audiino will lead a group of
students in becoming certified personal fitness trainers. Participating students will visit other
schools and design lessons to teach fellow students the importance of fitness
and health and the impact they have on peoples’ lives. Ultimately, Ms. Gottlieb and Mr. Audiino will
include students at other local schools in the initiative.
South High School, Minneapolis, MNGrades 9-12, Education Support Professional2012, Spring
improve communications with students and parents from the growing Somali
community in Minneapolis, Ms. Bouche and Ms. Koskela will study the Somali
language. Through the language study,
Ms. Bouche and Ms. Koskela will better bridge the current language gap and
provide assistance to their Somali students. The project will allow the team to better understand concepts, language
comprehension, and the Somali culture.
Sierra Madre School - Elementary Campus, Sierra Madre, CAGrades K-5, Reading, Spelling, Writing2012, Spring
Halpern will attend the Summer Literacy Institute at Lesley University to
create reading and writing workshops, focusing on improving student achievement
in both reading comprehension and writing nonfiction text. After the institute, Ms. Halpern and
colleagues will infuse nonfiction text into collegial workshops to prepare for
the transition to the Common Core Standards. Ms. Halpern will devise innovative teacher-student workshops that
embrace informational text while transitioning from the current fiction-focused
University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NYHigher Education, Social Studies2012, Spring
Dr. Morreale will present “Community
Resources,” a multidisciplinary service learning course that will engage
students in their living and learning communities. Through critical reflection, students will be
provided with international, national, and local perspectives of the causes and
challenges of poverty and homelessness. Students will gain problem solving skills through self directed
learning, community service, the creation of a public service announcement, and
reflective group discussion.
William K. Willis High School, Columbus, OHGrades 9-12, Literature2012, Spring
Mr. Steinbower will
attend the National Council for Teachers of English Assembly on Literature for
Adolescents Conference to learn methods in which to incorporate popular young
adult literature into classroom lessons. Upon completing the conference, Mr. Steinbower and colleagues will work
with visiting authors to improve literacy in underserved populations at Willis
High School and surrounding schools. Results of the study will be shared with colleagues via articles
published in several state wide education newsletters.
Troy School, North Troy, VTGrades K-5, Science2012, Spring
Mrs. Nemeth and Mrs.
Boutin will introduce a “grow lab” in their kindergarten and 1st grade
classrooms. Students will study and
monitor the evolution of various plants by planting, cultivating, and
harvesting multiple species. Throughout
the project, students will be encouraged to cultivate a respect for the natural
world and a lifelong appreciation for healthy and sustainable living.
JFK Middle School, Hudson, MAGrades 6-8, Science2012, Spring
JFK Middle School students will
participate in the conservation of the Blanding’s turtle, a threatened species
in eastern Massachusetts. In
collaboration with wildlife biologists, students will raise and care for
hatchlings which will be released upon maturation and tracked via radio
transmitters. Students will learn about
scientific research methods, turtle ecology and biology, and the complexities
of species conservation.
Harry Russell Elementary, West Carrollton, OHGrades K-5, Science2012, Spring
Bowman will participate in Earth Expeditions, a global conservation and
education program that promotes inquiry based learning and experiences for
students. Mrs. Bowman will learn in the field
with other educators and conservationists from around the world. Upon completion of the expedition, she will
share her knowledge by leading first grade students in an inquiry based
Ed W. Clark High School, Las Vegas, NVGrades 9-12, Science2012, Spring
prepare students for the competitive 21st century economy, Ms. Vine will attend
the National Science Teachers Association STEM Forum and Expo, at which she
will present a hands-on workshop about successful informal initiatives and
community programs. The conference will
also provide Ms. Vine the opportunity to meet with equipment specialists,
attend hands-on training sessions, and collaborate and strategize with other
professionals about current programs and their outcomes.
Lebanon High School, Lebanon, NHGrades 9-12, Computers / Technology2012, Spring
“Community Wellness through Digital Art”
will expand Lebanon High School’s art offerings to include the use of digital
tools. Ms. Clary and her colleagues will
expand students’ technology resources and provide a diverse group of student
artists a new opportunity in which to explore their creative processes. Students will be charged with completing
projects thematically focusing on community wellness. Project results will be shared with the
community through a digital art show and website.
Garfield High School, Seattle, WAGrades 9-12, History2012, Spring
To understand the
importance of Seattle’s International District in the displacement of Japanese
Americans during World War II, Mrs. Woodward and Mr. Lovre will lead a school
wide common book project. Garfield High
School students and faculty will read the novel Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and learn about the events
that led to the establishment of internment camps in the United States. Students will articulate causes of the internment,
ways to prevent future injustices, and alternative solutions for conflict
mediation among various groups or people.
Valley View Elementary, Ashwaubenon, WIGrades K-5, Foreign Language Teacher2012, Spring$5,000
From Wisconsin to Ecuador: Improving language, technology skills and finding new friends
Increased student global awareness through real-time contact with peers in a foreign country
Increased student motivation to learn a foreign language through authentic/real-life contact with native speakers
Increased confidence in speaking a foreign language through use of technology
Jennifer Nelson was the first to admit that her fourth-grade Spanish curriculum “was kind of dull,” and she knew that even the students who had been learning the language for years often lacked the confidence to use it. Infusing technology into the classroom not only made her students comfortable speaking and writing Spanish, but also led to lasting connections with peers in Ecuador and greater interest among students in sticking with Spanish language study
After setting up online resources about Ecuador for her students to explore and then use in their own multimedia projects, Nelson decided to reach out to a school in the South American country and have her students write their counterparts letters. “Many of them didn’t think they could write an entire letter in Spanish,” she says—but they did, and when the responses arrived from their pen pals, they worked together to translate the letters. “I was so impressed by their detective skills,” Nelson says.
But that was just the beginning. Nelson tapped a site called KidBlog to allow her students to blog back and forth with their Ecuadoran pen pals. “Penpaling is great, but it takes so long to get something back,” she says. “I want them to be able to communicate more quickly.” The next step was arranging a live Skype video session between the two schools, a conversation which was conducted in English and Spanish as the students from both countries excitedly shared their work and key facts about their schools with each other. Nelson says that students’ initial nervousness about conversing in Spanish quickly faded during the video session, which attracted the attention of the local media.
“The biggest excitement was being able to see our pen pals and have them see us,” she says. “But the most significant thing was how my students have gained self-confidence in their Spanish speaking—when students reflected on the process, several wrote that they realized they knew a lot more Spanish than they thought and needed to be more confident.”
As a result, Nelson has modified her assessments to include writing components and make them more rigorous. Since the district’s high school Spanish students have the opportunity to take a trip to Ecuador, the experience has also served as “a great motivator for the students to continue learning Spanish all the way through high school,” Nelson says.
The biggest challenge involved with the Bringing Everyone Together With Technology project was finding a school in Ecuador interested in working with her class; Nelson wound up talking to other teachers and language professors at universities across Wisconsin before finally making a connection with a teacher in an Ecuadoran school. “The interesting thing was that she was from the United States and had been a sub in my school district,” she says. Nelson has since connected with teachers in Nicaragua and Spain interested in similar partnerships; other teachers in her district are now making connections of their own.
Nelson credits the NEA Foundation’s Student Achievement grant with providing her with the impetus to get the project rolling. “I’d wanted to do something like this for a long time, but I’d never even tried Skype,” she says. “The grant made me take the first step forward and go for it.”
Magnolia Middle School, Meridian, MSGrades 6-8, Mathematics2012, Spring
Through the “Pass Path to Math
Achievement” project, students will meet the demands of Magnolia Middle
School’s 21st century technology goals. Mrs. Cole and Mrs. Webb will appeal to students’ enthusiasm for
technology to improve their math understanding with PassKey self-pacing mathematics software. Through daily use of this technology,
students will manage the pace of their personal learning processes.
Hall Memorial School, Willington, CTGrades K-5, Reading, Spelling, Writing2012, Spring
Hennessey will attend the Columbia University Teacher’s College writing
institute to gain a stronger understanding of research based strategies that
will improve writing curriculums and strengthen students’ writing
abilities. Ms. Hennessey will use the
knowledge gained at the training to address school improvement initiatives with
the intent to improve student proficiency in language arts.
Beacon Day Treatment, River Rouge, MIGrades 9-12, Special Education2012, Spring
To increase student understanding of
math and science, Ms. Fanelli and Mr. Wachtel will work with students to
collect data in laboratory experiments, analyze the data, describe mathematical
phenomena, and design experiments to explore self directed, open ended
questions. Students will also work with
educators to become fluent in mathematical language and equipment. Ultimately, each student will pose his or her
own research question, design an appropriate experiment, and analyze and
explain the results.
Mrs. Thompson will introduce iPads into
her language arts classes to help better meet students’ needs as they improve
their speaking, listening, viewing, and media literacy skills. Students will engage in differentiated
learning projects and work in collaborative groups. Ultimately students will display an ability to
fully process the information-rich world they inhabit and increase their
engagement in language arts lessons.
Adams-Friendship Area Schools, Friendship, WIGrades K-5, Computers / Technology2012, Spring
increase literacy skills through the strategic use of technology and digital
media to produce a school wide news program. The program will present students with life and career skills including
self direction, flexibility, adaptability, productivity, and
responsibility. In addition to the news
program, student journalists will produce an online newsletter to be shared
with their classmates.
Frank West Elementary School, Bakersfield, CAGrades K-5, Mathematics2012, Spring
Mrs. Feldt, Mrs. Cannon, and a team of
colleagues will strengthen math lessons by teaching the “Han-5 System of
Mathematics,” a program with differing strategies for visual, kinesthetic, and
auditory learners to master basic math concepts. Students will learn to skip count fluently,
multiply, divide and solve several types of algorithms. The team will focus on ensuring that all
students are proficient in math and aware of the importance of math in their
Hawthorne Elementary School, Madison, WAGrades K-5, Reading, Spelling, Writing2012, Spring
Ms. Kluetzman and Ms.
Funk will integrate iPod Touches in their classrooms to support and enhance
student vocabulary development and reading comprehension. Students will use the tablets to participate
in white board activities, listen to stories and songs in support of
comprehensive strategies, and use applications for vocabulary and early reading
skill development. Hands-on activities
will be designed to appeal to underperforming students in an effort to improve
students’ language arts proficiencies.
Nathan Hale High School, Seattle, WAGrades 9-12, Science2012, Spring
Ms. Walker will study at
Mexico’s El Eden Biological Preserve, where she will gain field research skills
and gather baseline data on the biodiversity of the area. Work will be conducted with a team of teacher
researchers to learn field method protocols and tools and contribute to an
analysis of conservation biology issues. Throughout the learning, Ms. Walker will blog about her learning
experiences and apply new field study skills in working with colleagues to
design field research opportunities for her biology students.
South Ripley Elementary School, Versailles, INGrades 6-8, Science2012, Spring
Mrs. Dennis and Mrs. Gilpin will
introduce a project based learning experience through which students will
determine the best alternative energy source to use on school property. Students will research different “green”
energy methods, draft informative papers, and write persuasive articles to
change energy use in their school and community. Students will work with sustainable energy
experts in the community to better understand the workings of renewable
energies and to determine the best option to be implemented at South Ripley
Thornwood High School, South Holland, ILGrades 9-12, Special Education2012, Spring
Mrs. Liberio and Mrs. Hoekstra will
introduce touch screen technology to encourage increased academic participation
and communication by special needs students diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s,
nonverbal learning disorders, and learning difficulties. Students will gain instructional information
by kinesthetically, visually, and auditorially increasing their awareness of
surrounding environments. The use of
iPads will allow nonverbal students to become members of a highly social
technological environment and will provide them with a conduit to communicate
in the classroom more effectively.
Maple Elementary School, West Bloomfield, MIGrades K-5, Reading, Spelling, Writing2012, Spring
Mrs. Estes and Mrs. Miller will use
iPads to improve ESL and Title I student achievement in reading and
writing. Conferences between educators
and individual students will be used to record student writing samples both
digitally and observationally. Educators
will use digital photos and notes to revisit students’ writing samples,
determine areas of focus, and collect data for whole group instruction. Student samples will ultimately be shared
during parent-teacher conferences throughout the school year.
Lincoln County School District, Newport, ORGrades K-5, Science2012, Spring
County School District will partner with the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Westwind
Stewardship Group, and Willamette University to facilitate a two day science
workshop for district educators. Participants will engage in field studies of unique biological communities
as they learn innovative strategies for teaching ocean literacy. Teacher leaders will be identified in ocean
literacy and will work with Willamette faculty and Oregon Coast Aquarium staff to
conduct teacher research and lead their schools in implementing instruction
tied to science, math, and literacy content standards.
Holt Public Schools, Holt, MIGrades 9-12, Mathematics2012, Spring
of mathematics educators will conduct lesson study to develop instructional
practices across middle and high school grades that support students'
engagement in a Mathematical Practice Standard from the Common Core State
Standards. The cohort will collaborate
to plan, teach, observe and revise one lesson for each grade level to develop
students' problem solving abilities.
Washington County Career Center, Marietta, OHGrades 9-12, English2012, Spring
To assist students in
fully developing the cultural literacy necessary to excel in AP English, Mr.
Koons will introduce Kindle Fires in the classroom. The tablets will provide students with
dictionary search functions that will enable them to annotate unfamiliar words,
literary and cultural allusions, and other information essential to a deeper
understanding of written works during class reading and research. Students will greatly enhance their
understanding of material that would otherwise be ignored or misunderstood.
Denton Middle School, Mobile, ALGrades 6-8, Science2012, Spring
To spark student interest in science,
technology, engineering, and math, Mrs. Loper and Ms. Williams will introduce
“Pathway to STEM,” a hands-on technology project. The project will combine local and state
standards from all core content areas to develop critical thinking skills through
habits of inquiry and self directed learning.
Students will develop a passion for STEM subject matter and will develop
communication and cooperative learning skills via critical reflection and
Hilltonia Middle School, Columbus, OHGrades 6-8, Science2012, Spring
School educators and students will participate in the “Indoor Gardens” project
as the initial step in creating a foundation for improving student literacy and
achievement. The educators will
integrate learning through the use of hydroponic and vertical garden systems in
classrooms. Utilizing the knowledge,
expertise, and equipment gained through the project, school staff will develop
integrated lessons to engage and challenge students while increasing literacy
Athens State University, Athens, ALHigher Education, Education Support Professional2012, Spring
novice teachers become more effective classroom practitioners, Athens State
University will partner with surrounding school districts to implement the
“Tying Excellence with Accountability Mentorship” program. The program will provide recent graduates of
the Athens State College of Education with ongoing support from faculty mentors
to assist with the link between theory and practice. Through collaboration with mentors, educators
will work to reduce feelings of isolation and stress, increase job satisfaction
and performance, and improve retention.
Glastonbury High School, Glastonbury, CTGrades 9-12, Reading, Spelling, Writing2012, Winter
Alexandru will conduct multiple sessions with foreign language teachers within
her school district. The sessions will focus on curriculum development that
will incorporate efficient interpretive reading strategies in daily instruction
that will be reflected in all common summative assessments. Additionally, the
group plans to develop student assessments that measure increased oral language
Southeast Local School District, Ravenna, OHGrades 9-12, Computers / Technology2012, Winter
improve technological proficiency among educators within the Southeast Local
School District, Mr. Farmakidis will share with colleagues a series of teaching
models which focus on integrating technological applications into teacher
pedagogies. Throughout the course of the learning, Mr. Farmakidis will assist
colleagues in an ongoing pedagogical shift to fully and effectively integrate
technology into all K-12 classrooms across the curriculum.
Annandale High School, Annandale, VAGrades 9-12, Arts2012, Winter
“Theatre Without Borders” brings non-native English speakers to the stage
Annandale High has one of the most diverse student populations of any Fairfax County, VA school. With students from Central and South America, West and East Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, many students must juggle academics with learning a new language and settling into a new home, a new school, and an unfamiliar culture.
To offer her students a creative outlet for learning, ESOL teacher Leslie Chekin created “Theatre Without Borders.” Its purpose? To allow students to study classical theater, literature, and most importantly, English. Since participating in the program, almost all of our 40 students have significantly improved test scores on the state’s English language proficiency (ELP).
The program started small nine years ago, with no budget for a stage and most sets and costumes paid for out of pocket. “We had applied for a county grant, but there was no money,” Chekin said. Then last fall, Chekin and her partner, Michelle Picard, received a $5,000 Student Achievement Grant from the NEA Foundation. With it, Chekin and her colleagues in the performing arts department transformed the existing old program into what she describes as a “total theater concept,” exposing students to all aspects of theater, from design and stage management to lights and sound.
Like almost everything in education, change came gradually. Her students’ first challenge was to conquer stage fright. Every student must audition, even for a non-speaking role. They learn about acting, directing, public speaking, and organizing publicity campaigns, as well as each play’s themes, characters, and plot.
“During my first year in the program, everything about theater was challenging,” said student Fabiola Alba. “I couldn’t even pronounce my lines.” But she persevered, and has now performed in and even directed a handful of Shakespeare’s plays. “It wasn’t easy,” she said, but by the year’s end, her language skills had dramatically improved.
“After you perform his plays, Shakespeare is always going to be something important in your life,” said Carlos Portillo, another student. “I’m still part of the program and am not ready to leave it yet,” said Andrea Albarracin, who discovered that working together is the key to a successful performance. Their foray into the literary titan’s works was not blind. Students attended performances at the Shakespeare Theatre Company and Gala Hispanic Theatre in Washington, D.C. They even performed their own mini-production of “All’s Well That Ends Well” for visiting representatives of the Shakespeare Theatre Company.
With each production came its own internal drama, according to Chekin. Many of her students struggle with the displacement of moving, learning a new language, and difficult home lives. But in overcoming challenges together, they gain important life skills. “They see themselves as a company,” she said. “That feeling of pride and identity? They pass that on to each other.”
The program may be the only exposure to theater and the performing arts these students have ever received. It also serves a larger purpose. “The real hurdles to graduation, in particular for students coming from other countries, are math and English,” Chekin said. In February, the class completed the state’s ELP test. “All of the kids, except for two or three, moved up an entire level, if not higher,” she said. One student later became a certified lights technician. Another became a student ambassador to the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and returned after graduating to lead an interactive workshop on “Much Ado About Nothing.”
“There used to be a barrier between performing arts and ESL students,” Chekin said. Now, the theater crew has earned a small following in the community. “They have a reputation for being hysterically funny and unpredictable,” Chekin said. Last year’s performances of “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Macbeth” drew audiences of 200-300 people. In 2012, the show goes on, as a new company of students aim to create their own interpretation of the classics.
Rancho Verde High School, Moreno Valley, CAGrades 9-12, Social Studies2012, Winter
Bootsma and Mrs. Vansant will introduce vertically-teamed, collaborative AP
social studies and AP English classes at Rancho Verde High School. Eight
collaborative team teachers will be granted self initiated workshops that will
enable them to vertically align both social studies and English standards. Educators
will implement learned strategies by grade level and across curriculum.