Fund for Teachers - The Podcast

di Carrie Caton

Fund for Teachers is a national nonprofit that awards grants for self-designed fellowships to America's most innovative preK-12 teachers. This is a podcast to elevate these public/private/charter school educators as inspiring architects of their careers, classrooms and school communities.

Episodi del podcast

  • Stagione 3

  • Diving & Learning With a Purpose

    Diving & Learning With a Purpose

    A smart, but angry young student who dreamed of becoming a pediatrician; a chemistry major; a Target hourly employee; and a substitute teacher. This was Veronica Wylie’s circuitous path to her high school classroom in Hazelhurst, MS. Along the way, she’s earned three master’s degrees, founded a nonprofit, interned with NASA and is currently collaborating with Harvard to create antiracist science curricula. The motivation behind all of this activity is providing her students opportunities – even if they are 60 feet underwater. Today we visit with Veronica Wylie, high school science teacher at Wylie is a high school chemistry and physical science teacher in Hazlehurst High School. She designed a Fund for Teachers fellowship to earn a diving certification to complete archaeology and marine life trainings with the organization Diving With a Purpose, a nonprofit that partners with the National Association of Black Scuba Divers on submerged heritage preservation and conservation projects worldwide with a focus on the African Diaspora. She is also a Ph.D. candidate in education leadership and administration at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. Her latest of three graduate degrees is a Master of Arts in Teaching chemistry student at Illinois State University. She interned this summer with NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement in Houston and also started collaborating with teams as a Fellow at Harvard’s Antiracist Science Education Project through the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. One of my first questions to her was, “When do you have time to teach?” to which she replied, “I teach whenever I can, wherever I can, about whatever is relevant.” Then I asked her about her work, her students and her fellowship.

  • Advising Athletes for Success Beyond the Court

    Advising Athletes for Success Beyond the Court

    The Supreme Court recently ruled that college athletes may benefit from perks beyond tuition, room and board and five state legislatures determined that college athletes may begin profiting from their personal brands. This ruling can be life-changing for student athletes, like those with whom Wendy Hutchinson works. As the academic advisor for the men’s basketball team at Edmondson-Westside High School in Baltimore, Wendy is part of the basketball team coaching staff – she even travels with the team and sits on the bench. While two of the school's graduates went on to play in the NBA, Wendy knows that only 1.6% of college athletes make it to the pros. Another statistic represents a more pressing issue for her students: only 55% of Black male student-athletes graduate from college within six years. According to a report produced the USC Race and Equity Center, “Perhaps nowhere in higher education is the disenfranchisement of Black male students more insidious than in college athletics.” This summer, Wendy is using a Fund for Teachers grant to make sure her basketball players have a better shot at success in all its forms.

  • Seeking Understanding for Students who Self-Harm

    Seeking Understanding for Students who Self-Harm

    Prior to the pandemic, experts widely acknowledged that America’s students were experiencing a mental health crisis. A 2017 CDC report showed that suicide was the second-leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds. Add incidents of self-harm into the equation and the outlook is even more bleak. The average age a student begins self-harming habits is 13 and 45% of people use cutting as their method of self-injury. And who has the most exposure to students during these years? Ostensibly, its teachers. Earlier this year, the Brookings Institution published an article titled “Educators are key in protecting student mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Cassi Clausen, teacher and founder of The Open School in Mission Viejo, CA, realized she was not equipped for this challenge. In 2018 Cassi received a Fund for Teachers grant to Attend the annual Sudbury Schools Conference in Kingston, NY, to learn best practices for supporting at-risk students. Using one of Fund for Teachers’ new Innovation Grants, she will spend the summer in dialogue with psychology Dr. Thomas D’Angelo, an expert in pre-teen and teen mental health and self-harm practices, to shift her personal understanding of self-harm and learn how to create safe spaces for struggling students. ____________________________________________________________________________ Resources referenced in the podcast: This American Life's "Kid Politics" on democratic education American Psychological Association article “A New Look at Self Injury”

  • Building Better Books with Braille

    Building Better Books with Braille

    Two hours south of Helen Keller’s home is the town of Trussville. Every elementary, middle and high school has the same mascot and the district prides itself on “One Trussville.” So it stands to reason that when 15 visually impaired students lacked resources to help them stay on pace, their peers stepped up. Led by two Fund for Teachers Fellows, elementary students learned how to braille through a year-long elective called “Build A Better Book,” an effort that drew the heartfelt thanks of parents and the interest of twelfth grade engineering students. Today we visit with April Chamberlain, technology director for Trussville City Schools. At the time of her fellowship, April was a librarian who, with the district’s four other librarians, researched best practices modeled by Chicago-area school libraries to redesign how students work with space, time, resources and community mentors in order to explore, create and publish using new media. She holds a bachelors and master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and is actively involved in the Alabama Leaders of Educational Technology, Alabama Digital Literacy Computer Science Course of Study Committee and Task Force, @TechBirmingham, and International Society for Technology in Education. April is now the technology coordinator for Trussville City Schools and when we learned how she is facilitating students’ efforts to create adaptive resources for visually-impaired peers, we had to find out more.

  • Pivoting from Environmental Innovator to Educational Incubator

    Pivoting from Environmental Innovator to Educational Incubator

    For the first time in our 20-year history, Fund for Teachers will host a national convening of educators called Plan It for the Planet – An Environmental Summit on Saturday, April 10th. This free virtual event, cohosted by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, will bring together leading innovators from America’s preeminent environmental organizations to help teachers and their students develop action plans to implement in their school communities. (For more information and to register, click here.) The summit brought to mind a 2017 Fund for Teachers Fellow who is also an environmental innovator – Aaron Appleton. In addition to researching the connection between an Indonesian rainforest and the carbon marketplace with a Fund for Teachers grant, he has also researched the carbon sequestration capacity of meadows in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with a grant from Earthwatch Institute and cougars of Yellowstone National Park with a grant from Ecology Project International. Aaron is now leveraging his experiences teaching and researching to shift from environmental innovator to educational incubator by developing new virtual reality platform at the Harvard Innovation Lab to morph science education away from a transactional process to a constructive one. While we had an interesting discussion on his life as a teacher’s kid and an ethnomusicology major, his startup and his thoughts on what science education will look like post-pandemic, Aaron had a few questions of his own about how things are going at Fund for Teachers...