Oklahoma pre-K-12th grade teachers seeking customized professional development opportunities are encouraged to attend upcoming information sessions in Oklahoma City, Lawton and Clinton about Fund for Teachers grants.
In partnership with the national nonprofit Fund for Teachers, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and the Tulsa Community Foundation will offer grant proposal writing and information sessions. The meetings are scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at The Oklahoman, 100 W. Main St., Suite 100, in Oklahoma City; at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 30 at Great Plains Technology Center, 4500 W. Lee Blvd. in Lawton; and 5 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Clinton Schools Administration Building, 1720 Opal Ave. in Clinton.
Webinar information sessions will be available in November and December on the national Fund for Teachers website. Registration and webinar information can be found at www.fundforteachers.org/fft-events.
Teachers attending the sessions will learn about eligibility requirements, the application process, tips and advice for developing a fellowship proposal and grant writing assistance. The Fund for Teachers grant program awards fellowships of up to $5,000 for individual teachers and up to $10,000 for teams of teachers for self-designed professional development experiences to take place anywhere in the world during the summer months. The grant cycle application process opens Oct. 1 online at www.fundforteachers.org and will close Jan. 30, 2020.
Fund for Teachers supports teachers in their desire to improve their craft and gain understanding by offering professional development unique to the needs of their students and teaching philosophy. Since 2006, the Fund for Teachers program in Oklahoma has provided more than $3.1 million in grant funds to 878 Oklahoma teachers. Oklahoma’s 2019 Fund for Teachers program was funded in part with support from a tribal alliance including the Chickasaw Nation, Cherokee Nation, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, the Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Native America teachers from all Oklahoma tribal areas are also encouraged to apply for the 2020 grant cycle.
Fund for Teachers fellowships are open to Oklahoma pre-K through 12th-grade teachers in public, private, parochial and charter schools. Applicants must have at least three years of teaching experience, be full-time employees and spend 50 percent or more of their time in a classroom setting. In addition, applicants must have the intention of returning to their school and/or district following their summer professional development. School administrators are not eligible for the grants.
This summer, 28 teachers from Oklahoma schools returned from learning odysseys in locations in Europe, Japan, South America and North America. Fellows ignited new passions for learning as they adventured through diverse ecosystems, toured historical locations, observed industry professionals, experimented with new technology, and more.
Chelsea Archie and teammate Shanna Eicher, science teachers from Owasso Seventh Grade Center, ventured to Eastern Australia to investigate the effects of climate change on the country’s ocean and land ecosystems to develop an inquiry-based unit that engages students in local and global conservation efforts. While in Australia, the team met with conservationists and research scientists to discuss the current state of local ecosystems and to strategize about conservation. Their learning adventure included guided tours of rain forests and animal sanctuaries, behind-the scenes research at the Cairns Aquarium, underwater research at the Great Barrier Reef, observing conservation efforts at the Australia Zoo and visiting local research colleges.
“I would describe this fellowship as a game-changing event in my education career,” Archie said. “As educators, it is our duty to learn as much as we can so we can be the best teachers for our students. I can now infuse more real-world problem-solving and critical thinking into my classroom, talk with colleagues about complex world issues, and encourage others to stretch outside of their comfort zones.”