Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence


Nov. 2, 2016 - Fifth and Eighth-Grade Teachers Encouraged to Apply for Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute

by OFE | 2016-11-30 12:06:07

Ashley Weston, a fifth-grade teacher at Liberty Elementary School in Broken Arrow, tries on historical clothing during the 2016 Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute.
Applications are now available for Oklahoma fifth- and eighth-grade teachers interested in receiving a fellowship to attend the 2017 Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute in the restored capital city of 18th-century Virginia.

The session for Oklahoma fifth-grade teachers will be held June 8 through 14, 2017. The program has been expanded this year to offer fellowships for Oklahoma eighth-grade social studies teachers. Their session will be held June 15 through 21, 2017. The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence coordinates the selection of Oklahoma teachers to participate in the renowned teacher institute. Applications are available on the foundation’s website at Completed applications must be postmarked by Feb. 1, 2017.

The fellowships cover all program activities, airfare, lodging and most meals. Each teacher also receives a $300 stipend for classroom materials. While at Colonial Williamsburg — the world’s largest living history museum — Oklahoma teachers will have the opportunity to meet character interpreters of 18th-century people and be immersed in early American history through hands-on activities and reenactments of historic events. Participants will visit nearby Jamestown, the site of the first permanent English colony in America, and visit the Yorktown battlefields where the Continental Army forced the British to surrender. Participants also will meet daily with a peer facilitator to discuss interactive teaching techniques and develop creative lesson plans based on their experiences.

“No textbook can replace the inspiration and knowledge gained by walking in the footsteps of early Americans, both famous and ordinary,” said former Teacher Institute participant Linda Goodnight of Wewoka. “Visualizing George Washington and his troops at Surrender Field, debating in the very courtroom where Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry pled the cause of liberty, and learning to make rope by hand in Jamestown colony will ignite my teaching – and my students – forever.

“The Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute is by far the finest, most comprehensive teacher training I have ever attended,” she added.  “I am a better American and a better teacher because of it.”

Oklahoma’s fifth-grade teacher institute program is designed for fifth-grade social studies/history teachers and resource teachers, such as librarians or gifted-talented teachers, who plan to teach U.S. history in their schools in 2017-2018. The middle-school program is open eighth-grade classroom teachers who teach U.S. history as part of their social studies curriculum. The fellowships are available to public and private school teachers. Participants are asked to share materials, skills and experiences with fellow teachers through two workshops or in-service programs upon their return from the institute.

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has coordinated Oklahoma’s participation in the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute since 1993, thanks to the leadership and support of the late Oklahoma City businessman Edward C. Joullian III, who was an active supporter and former board member of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Joullian was also a trustee of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a nonprofit organization that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. The Joullian family continues to support the program.

For more information, visit the Oklahoma Foundation website at or call Brenda Wheelock at (405) 236-0006.