Update, 5-8-15: Ganster, Knorr, and Bohlman attended the orientation session in preparation for the training in New York this summer.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and Fund for Teachers has recently announced that three teachers at Eagle Point Elementary School have been selected to receive a 2015 Wisconsin Schools of Recognition Teacher Fellowship grant for $9,285.
Reading specialist Sharon Ganster, kindergarten teacher Alyssa Knorr, and fourth grade teacher Rachel Bohlman applied for the competitive grant. They requested to participate in the Lucy Calkins Teachers’ College in New York for intensive training in “Reading Workshop.” The opportunity to apply for the grant came as a result of Eagle Point’s designation as a School of Recognition, which was awarded this past fall by the Department of Public Instruction.
Grants are awarded by the Fund for Teachers. According to their website, Fund for Teachers is one of the largest funders of teacher learning in the country, investing $24 million in more than 6,500 teachers since 2001. The program annually awards grants to preK-12 educators seeking relevant knowledge and learning experiences through self-designed summer fellowships.
In order to use the grant funding, the teachers needed to gain acceptance to the New York Teachers’ College training program. All three teachers were accepted. “We are very excited about this, not only for the three teachers who will benefit personally and professionally, but also for our school. These teachers will help us develop teacher resources and demonstration classrooms as we begin learning about and implementing reading workshop next year,” said Eagle Point Principal, Ann Schoenberger.
Ganster, Knorr and Bohlman collectively thanked the Fund for Teachers, saying “We are grateful for the opportunity to attend the Summer Institute on the Teaching of Reading at The Teachers College in New York. The learning journey we are about to embark on will not only impact our own teaching, but as we share our learning with our school, district, and community, everyone will benefit. What we are most excited about is the impact it will have on our students. Watching them grow as readers and become lifelong readers is why we do what we do each and every day. Thank you Fund for Teachers!”
“The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Fund for Teachers are committed to celebrating teachers who are passionate about their work and motivated from within. Teaching offers unique challenges and rewards to those who choose to work in the profession,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers in a letter to the three teachers. “We salute you and thank you for your dedication.”
“Fund for Teachers serves as a piggy bank of sorts, funding educators’ quests for deeper knowledge or mastery that transfers directly to students,” said Karen Webb, Fund for Teachers executive director. “We all learn by knowing, by doing. These grants offer teachers more than ‘one-size-fits-all’ professional development and it’s free for the district. Everyone wins, with the biggest winners being the students.”
This year the organization is awarding $1.8 million in grants to 487 teachers for self-designed fellowships.
The three teachers will attend an orientation meeting in May where they will receive information about their fellowship and receive their check.