Putnam High teachers get grant funding a trip to South Africa – News – The Bulletin


Three Putnam High School teachers have received grant to travel to South Africa this summer to study apartheid and how student activists helped end it.

The three Social Studies teachers — John Allen, Ruth Bosco and Melissa Zablonski — received a $10,000 grant from the national Fund for Teachers, funded through the Dalio Foundation in Connecticut, which funds education-related philanthropy, among other causes, in the state. They will be joining 500 of their colleagues from around the country during their trip to South Africa.

“We are proud of our teachers. John, Ruth, and Melissa are fine examples of the wonderful teachers in the district. Their commitment to teaching and lifelong learning is to be commended,” said Superintendent William Hull.

The grant is intended to help teachers plan a trip that can yield insights that they share with their students in the classroom. Zablonski told the Bulletin that the teachers will be gathering “authentic experiences” and “oral histories” of people they encounter, sharing their experience with apartheid. The teachers will also be interviewing current university students involved in current protests against fee increases at South African colleges.

“These topics are extremely relevant to the courses we teach,” Zablonski said.

Zablonski teaches juniors and seniors in U.S. history, AP U.S. history and psychology.

She said the experiences and lessons she and her colleagues gain from their trip will have a direct bearing on the classroom in Putnam High — in particular on the civil rights unit in U.S. history, the human rights unit in world history and classroom discussions on inequality and racism in the school’s sociology course.

“By gathering oral histories from people who experienced apartheid firsthand, our students will have authentic resources with which they can work throughout these units,” Zablonski said.

Zablonski said the trip will also help the teachers pass on the method of collecting oral histories to their students in their own communities.

“It is one thing for us to simply teach the students about these skills and topics, but it is much more impactful when we can show them that we have gone through the processes ourselves and engaged directly with those affected by the topics about which they are learning,” Zablonski said.

The Dalio Foundation, which provided the funding for the trip, has recently made a move to put more money into Connecticut public schools, announcing a $100 million contribution last month. The foundation is funded by hedge fund investor Ray Dalio.

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Source link : https://www.norwichbulletin.com/news/20190519/putnam-high-teachers-get-grant-funding-trip-to-south-africa

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Publish date : 2019-05-19 19:41:19

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