NFA Teachers Receive “Fund For Teachers” Grant

Jazmin Ortiz, Staff Writer

Being a teacher is about being able to spread knowledge, help students learn, and help them succeed in life, whether they are going straight to work or to college. “Fund For Teachers” helps teachers who have been teaching for more than three years, do exactly that and more.

The Fund For Teachers Fellowship program’s mission is to “strengthen instruction by investing in outstanding teachers’ self-determined professional growth and development in order to support student success, enrich their own practice, and strengthen their schools and communities.”  The grant encourages teachers to create their own “adventure” to improve their class curriculum. Teams of teachers can apply for up to $10,000 while individual teachers can apply for up to $5,000. NFA English teacher Christine Browning, and Social Studies teachers Kelley Coull and Shannon Andros applied for and received grants this year.

“I had won a different fellowship through the Dalio Foundation to spend a week in NYC attending different workshops at The Lincoln Center. It was during that time that I heard about Fund For Teachers. The idea of creating my own type of professional development, in addition to travel, was too good to pass up!” Andros explained.

Andros and Coull applied as a team.

Mrs. Coull and I are traveling to South Africa this summer to connect the comparative histories of our two countries and encourage students to collaborate on ways to take meaningful and informed action through our transnational partnership,” explained Andros.

Specifically, they will be traveling to cities that experienced the highest amount of apartheid. In each city, they will visit schools to ask students what they think are current racial and social issues in the 21st century. When Coull and Andros come back in the fall, they will be asking the same question to their students, in the hopes of, “ building a bridge of communication between South Africa and US students.” explained Coull.

“I also continuously want to instill in my students appreciation for other cultures; and the ability to identify our similarities across oceans is part of becoming a global citizen.” Coull added.

Browning will be embarking on the “Grand Tour,” the same trip that NFA’s  museum founder, William Slater, and his wife, Ellen Slater, took in 1945-1954 on their boat “Eleanor.”  Browning will be traveling to Portugal, France, and England, where she will visit museums and other points of interest that connect to the Slater collection.

My fellowship will help build my content knowledge by increasing familiarity with the history of the Grand Tour and with both British and American authors who wrote about their Grand Tour experiences and incorporated the tour into their writing,” explained Browning.

When Coull, Andros, and Browning return to school in the fall, they will be sharing their experiences with faculty, staff, and students in the hopes of “increasing content connections,” explained Browning, much like their colleague,  English teacher Gretchen Philbrick, did.

Philbrick received a Fund for Teachers grant two summers ago.  Her trip was based around the poet and playmaker, William Shakespeare. She started in  London, Stratford-upon-Avon,  Shakespeare’s birthplace,  and traveled to Verona, Italy, where Romeo and Juliet was staged.

“I got a new sense of excitement and enthusiasm about the Shakespeare unit of study, I got to experience Shakespeare all over again. It re-energized my teaching the year I came back from my fellowship; I also learned new ways of teaching that excite my students,” Philbrick explained.

“I hope [this year’s Fund recipients] get to fall in love all over again with teaching, along with the area they are basing their fellowship around, just like I did,” said Philbrick.