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Fund for Teachers Awards More Than $132,000 in Grants to 37 Oklahoma Teachers

Fund for Teachers has announced that 37 Oklahoma PreK through 12th-grade teachers have been selected for grants totaling more than $132,000 for self-designed professional development opportunities in locations around the world.

The Oklahoma grants are made possible through a partnership between the national nonprofit Fund for Teachers, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and the Tulsa Community Foundation. An Oklahoma Tribal Alliance, which began supporting the program last year, has expanded its support this year to help increase the Oklahoma fellowship funding to its highest level in five years. Additional funding was provided by the Stuart and Temple Foundations of Tulsa.

The Tribal Alliance is comprised of the Chickasaw Nation, Osage Nation, Cherokee Nation, Citizen-Potawatomi Nation, Choctaw Nation, Sac and Fox Nation, the Seminole Nation and the Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. This year, grants were awarded to six tribal members representing the Citizen Potawatomi, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Cherokee tribes.

Since 2002, more than 1,000 Oklahoma teachers have received Fund for Teachers grants totaling over $3.6 million. In 2006, Oklahoma became the first state in the nation to offer grants to educators statewide when the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence joined Fund for Teachers and the Tulsa Community Foundation as state partners. Fund for Teachers fellowships empower teachers to explore their academic passions, deepen their scholarship and enhance their craft, said Karen Eckhoff, executive director of the national nonprofit organization.

“Through experiential learning, bold experimentation and the realization of personal ambition, teachers are better equipped to impart tools and skills which serve their students far beyond the boundaries of the classroom,” Eckhoff said. “Fund for Teachers knows that good teachers become great teachers when they have the resources to explore their subject matter in the real world and translate it to their students and communities.”

Grant recipients, named Fund for Teachers Fellows, were awarded the grants after submitting proposals that explained the need for professional development opportunities to fill both teacher and student learning gaps in their classrooms. The applicants could request up to $5,000 for individual fellowships or up to $10,000 for teams of two or more. Applications are reviewed through a rigorous selection process that adheres to the Fund for Teachers scoring rubric. To eliminate bias, all applications are read without reference to teacher name, school district or demographics.

This year’s grants will be deferred to the summer of 2021 due to precautions regarding the COVID-19 global pandemic. At that time, Fellows will journey to 14 countries pursuing learning opportunities that range from professional conferences, educational tours and trainings, interviews, cultural experiences and much more. This year’s Oklahoma Fellows hail from 17 districts and 20 schools.

Fund for Teachers enriches the personal and professional growth of teachers by recognizing and supporting their pursuit of opportunities that have the greatest impact on their careers, classrooms and school communities. For more information about the application process, grant winners or student outcomes, visit fundforteachers.org.

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(EDITORS: Oklahoma’s Fund for Teachers 2020 Fellows are listed below by cities in which they teach. Each listing includes a brief fellowship description. If you would like to interview a local recipient, contact Sara Wilson at swilson@ofe.org for information.)

 

ALTUS – Stacey Davis teaches at Southwest Technology Center in Altus. She will document Hawaii’s environmentally conscious culture to heighten student awareness of how their actions affect the global community through authentic real-world problem solving. Students’ projects will culminate in an Earth Day celebration. She is teaming up with Renee Tanner of Tri County Technology Center in Bartlesville for the collaborative project.

BARTLESVILLE – Erin Rakes and Julie Pattison teach at Jane Phillips Elementary School. They will explore the history and culture of Vienna, Salzburg and Munich to create trauma-informed classrooms that incorporate hands-on learning experiences grounded in the arts for pK-5th grade students.

Renee Tanner teaches at Tri County Technology Center in Bartlesville. She will document Hawaii’s environmentally conscious culture to heighten student awareness of how their actions affect the global community through authentic real-world problem solving. Students’ projects will culminate in an Earth Day celebration. She is teaming up with Stacy Davis of Southwest Technology Center in Altus for the collaborative project.

CHANDLER – Pam Anderson teaches at Chandler Junior High School, and Ann Taylor teaches at Park Road Elementary School. The duo will visit Ireland and Scotland, exploring how storytelling bridges the past and present to help students develop an understanding and respect for other cultures. The project will build students’ reading, writing, and oral presentation skills and help them gain exposure to and an appreciation for their own cultural roots and diverse cultures.

CUSHING – Bill Peeper teaches at Cushing High School. He will explore the “crossroads of conflict” between Berlin, Krakow, Prague and Budapest to research the extensive unrest and political conflict during the 20th century. The project goal is to inspire students with the resilience and recovery of the people through personal narratives and local histories. 

EDMOND – Katie Donaghue and Jill Auten teach at Deer Creek High School. They will create mini video lessons with correlating essential questions from sites associated with the birth of our nation in Philadelphia, PA, to enhance the learning of U.S. history and U.S. government.

INOLA – Cambry Riedl, Becky Robinson and Courtney Tice teach at Inola High School. They will participate in the Broadway Teacher Workshop in New York City to enhance an emerging theater program and better prepare students for collegiate auditions.

JENKS – Lana Bible, Michelle Diaz, Chari Paredes and Sophia Quiroz teach at Jenks East Elementary School. They will attend the Network of Immersion & CLIL Educators (Content and Language Integrated Learning) Conference in Seville, Spain, to learn strategies for addressing the needs of language learners who are emotionally and behaviorally fragile due to trauma and those with interrupted formal education.

Beth Wilson teaches at Jenks East Intermediate School. She will research outdoor education programs and facilities in Alaska that embed a respect for the local environment to develop hands on learning experiences for special education students with mild to moderate learning disabilities and/or emotional disturbances.

KETCHUMKim Byrd, Sabrina Chandler, Andrea Frost and Kandi Osburn teach at Ketchum Elementary School. They will research historic sites in Washington, D.C. to instill in students a stronger love for U.S. history, inspire them with stories of the endurance and fortitude of our Founding Fathers, and introduce to the curriculum a History Bowl that incorporates the community members as judges.

MANNFORD – Daphne Gaebler and Denise Wilson teach at Mannford Middle School. They will document U.S. Japanese American relocation sites and related museums in Washington, California, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah to develop materials for learning focused on the lasting effects of America’s impact and role in World War II.

MOORE – Amy Branch, Josh McMartin and Melissa Moseley teach at West Junior High School, Oklahoma City, which is in the Moore Public Schools district. They will attend the TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped CHildren) training at the University of North Carolina to develop proficiencies in teaching functional academic, vocational, and leisure skills that increase lifelong independence for students with disabilities.

NORMAN – Michale Gentry and Lynn Susanto teach at Lincoln Elementary School. The pair will explore key places on historic Route 66 to create digital learning resources about Oklahoma history, with a focus on how stories are shared both past and present to spark their student’s interest in citizenship and the state’s future.

Diane Wood also teaches at Lincoln Elementary School. She will investigate the Italian Slow Food movement, the European Union’s plan to end food waste, Italian school cafeteria standards, and organic farming and sustainability practices to implement a food waste prevention plan in the school cafeteria that incorporates service learning and project-based learning experiences.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Philip Moll teaches at Odyssey Leadership Academy. He will explore characteristics of Paris, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Houten, Copenhagen, and San Francisco while simultaneously researching the history of 20th century government sanctioned racial segregation to study in depth Charles Montgomery’s “Happy City” and Richard Rothstein’s “Color of Law.” The project will help students reflect on their role within their city and use design thinking to create real project proposals for a happier, more equitable, and more ecologically stable world.

Tasha McKinney teaches at Emerson Alternative High School. She will attend the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Chicago to learn about the most innovative practices for technology integration, student collaboration, and reading intensification as a means of enhancing educational opportunities for at-risk youth and their families.

SHAWNEE – Norma Neely teaches at Horace Mann Elementary School. She will retrace the expedition of Lewis and Clark via the Columbia and Snake Rivers to authenticate learning about the Pacific Northwest and inspire a student driven, community-wide learning event that compares and contrasts regional climate, flora and fauna, uses of natural resources and Native American groups.

STROUD – Tina Livingstone teaches at Parkview Elementary School. She will learn techniques for fostering imagination and ingenuity through the Creativity Workshop in Florence and, afterwards, explore museums there and in New York City. Her goal is to find inspiring ways to incorporate visual art into core subjects and to produce students who are inventors and problem-solvers.

TULSA – Michelle Newberry and Christa Wallace teach at Hamilton Elementary School. They will participate in the Creativity Workshop in Barcelona to explore techniques to increase creative potential and help students transcend emotional trauma and develop self-esteem and confidence.

Betty Foshee and Elizabeth Martin teach at Lee Elementary School. They will attend Project Zero Classroom in Cambridge, Mass., to continue schoolwide integration of flexible, systematic and research-based practices. Their professional development focuses on three core practices: thinking routines, documentation of child thinking, and reflective professional practice.Ch