For the fourth year in a row, Hamilton County public school teachers have earned grants for summer learning experiences across the globe so they can come back and share what they learned with their students. The grants are made possible by the national nonprofit Fund for Teachers in partnership with PEF.

"Because we believe that teachers know best what will make them better, each year teachers are invited to design summer learning experiences that will have the greatest impact on their students, school and community," says Leslie Graitcer, PEF's Fund for Teachers Director. "Our goal is to empower teachers to be learners again so that they can return to the classroom with renewed energy and creative ideas that spur powerful student learning."

Fund for Teachers allotted $85,000 in grant money for Hamilton County public school teachers this year. Teachers could apply for $5,000 as an individual or $10,000 as a team. Fellows from 10 schools will visit 11 countries across four continents.

22 HCDE teachers have been awarded 2015 Fund for Teachers grants: 

  1. Susan Morrison, Kirsten Legac, and Julie Smith of East Hamilton Middle-High will travel to Vietnam to capture perspectives on the past and current needs and hopes of this developing country, thus broadening students' global understandings.
  2. James Carpenter of Ooltewah High will conduct an educator's tour of London, Paris, and Rome to gain exposure to those cultures and cities and better inform AP history students about the art, architecture and events that shaped our past.
  3. Kristen Burrus and Janie Fossett of Chattanooga School for the Arts & Sciences will visit San Francisco to explore the geology, engineering and architecture of the cities' earthquake proof buildings to develop a cross-curricular, multi-grade student exhibit involving middle school science, high school geometry, and ACE Mentor Program students. 
  4. James David and Michael Stone of STEM School Chattanooga will delve into China's STEM fields with a focus on a FabLab in Shanghai, the 2015 RoboCup in Hefei, an animation studio in Beijing, and historical engineering feats like the Great Wall of China and modern bullet trains, to inform STEM education classes and broaden student awareness of STEM achievements.
  5. Stacy Hill of STEM School Chattanooga will analyze the educational systems of Nepal, India, Singapore and China to discover and bring back new ideas and teaching methods for socially, economically and culturally diverse student populations.
  6. Margaret Hudgins of Center for Creative Arts will experience London's theater scene then participate in an actor training workshop led by internationally-renowned Keith Johnstone to enhance classes for students in all arts disciplines.
  7. Michelle Collins and Tracy Renfro of Soddy Daisy Middle will explore ancient artifacts and artistic techniques across Greece and Italy to connect World History classes with creative opportunities in the arts and enhance project-based instruction.
  8. Thais Campbell and Kelli Solock of Ooltewah Middle will explore Alaska's coastal wilderness and inland cultures to gain knowledge about local environmental concerns and create research materials that inform students' nonfiction texts and informational writing pieces.
  9. Emeri Gordon of Hixson Middle and Monica Gordon of Brown Middle will conduct field research at ancient and modern structures in Athens and Rome to facilitate students' synthesis of how ancient cultures, geography and technologies affect the present and future.
  10. Anthony Henderson of Soddy Daisy Middle will travel to Ireland to participate in the Joe Moody Summer School of traditional Irish music, song and dance, then observe Dublin's Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan Irish music and dance competition and visit the National Museum of Ireland to research and demonstrate for students the connections between Irish and American music and culture.
  11. Laura Ellis, Sharon DeVaney, Julie Thomas, Lauren Fisher, and Cynthia Connor of Apison Elementary will experience through on-site teaching the culture, language and practices of a Guatemalan partner school to bring back tools that facilitate student empathy and foster student collaborations with this partner school and others in the global community.

Four Cleveland and Bradley County teachers have also been awarded 2015 Fund for Teachers grants:

  1. Lisa Eulo of Walker Valley High and Carol Dale of Cleveland High will conduct a site visit with a partner school in Burghausen, Germany to collect research that prepares students for future exchange visits promoting global citizenry and collaboration. 
  2. Athena Davis of Cleveland High will participate in Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies' three-week seminar on Teaching the Shoah and Antisemitism to increase personal knowledge of the Holocaust and personalize the study of the topic for Holocaust Literature students.
  3. Stacey Wielfaert of Walker Valley High will retrace Hemingway's experiences in France and Spain, then enroll in a Paris-based workshop for high school writing teachers, to demonstrate for students the connections between the environment, historical moments and the act of writing during one of the most productive periods in American literary history.