Alumni of the Educational Seminars Program (ES) are eligible and encouraged to apply for an ES Alumni Small Grant funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State. These projects may range from $500 to $3,000 and are designed to complement the Educational Seminars Program by providing funding for follow-on activities that build on the exchange visits and promote innovative ideas in teaching and school management. In addition, Alumni Small Grants promote mutual understanding and productive and lasting relationships between ES program alumni and their colleagues and international program partners. There are two competitive cycles per year.
Jennifer Babiracki (Brazil 2011-12) is a special education administrator for the Anoka Hennepin School District in Anoka, Minnesota. Ms. Babiracki will be working on this project in collaboration with her Brazilian partners Adriana Lemos Caixeta Viera (principal at EE Dom Pedro in Machado) and Roberta Martins de Lima (principal at Escola Estadual Jose Pontes de Oliveira in Bela Vista de Gois). This project is a collective effort with the State Department of Minas Gerias and a school in the state of Gois to establish a Teacher Network of teachers. The Anoka Hennepin School District and fourteen schools in Brazil will learn together and create strategic action plans to train others. Project funding will be used for trainings via WebEx on research based strategies for working with all students, action plans to pass down training to other teachers within their schools and communities, and the development and delivery of online coaching sessions. Close to 300 teachers and parents will be directly participating in the Teacher Network and in trainings through this project.
Mary Pat Cumming (Brazil 2012-13), Associate Principal of the FAIR School Downtown in Minneapolis, Minnesota and her three Principal colleagues from Brazil, Vanda Rossi Luchesi, Kellin Karina Kreusch Knaul, and Sandra Eliete Maffacioli Reckziegel will be implementing a project titled, “FAIR Reads in Brazil”. During their program in Minnesota, these four international colleagues realized that they shared the belief that comprehensive early literacy programming is essential in creating a strong academic foundation for students. FAIR Reads is a unique reading empowers students through inclusion of community partnerships, family involvement and access to literacy materials and technology. This 8 month project will replicate the “FAIR Reads” program from Minnesota in Brazil through a process which includes completion of a comprehensive needs assessment, development of a strategic literacy plan and implementation of FAIR Reads through directed staff development. The Collaborative Grant funding will cover the travel, speaker and material costs of the staff development workshops for literacy training in Brazil in the summer of 2013.
Melissa (Missie) Patschke (Argentina 2012-13) is the principal of Upper Providence Elementary school in Royersford, Pennsylvania. For this Collaborative Alumni Small Grant project, she will be working with her counterpart, Susana Carrizo, principal of Gral. Fancisco Ortiz de Ocampo, Cordoba, Argentina. The project titled, “Growing Local & Learning Global”, involves mirrored gardening programs to teach the students of the schools in the U.S. and Argentina about the commonalities and differences in their cultures and countries such as the importance of sustainable agriculture in their small communities and the different foods in each country. In addition to these hands on learning gardens, the two schools will share their experiences through the use of websites, photos, blogs, and skype video conversations. Additionally, mirroring this student based project in Argentina and the U.S. will allow the staff to examine their work through the eyes of another culture. The community will learn of this project’s gains in environmental science and global learning through the Spring Ford High School’s broadcasting department who are producing a TV show highlighting the program for the local TV channel in Pennsylvania, which will be translated into Spanish and shared with the Jesus Maria community in Cordoba.
Mary Anne Pella-Donnelly (Thailand 2012-13) is a Science teacher at Chico Junior High School in Chico, California. She and her Thai counterpart, Khuanon Wongrueang, Department Head of Mathematics at Srinagarindra the Princess Mother School in Phayao City, Thailand, will be implementing the Collaborative Grant titled, “Getting WET to Energize Math Curriculum”. While in California, Mr. Khuanon observed the strategies and projects used to involve students in their learning in Chico to implement new ideas for teaching in his classes in Thailand. Through this project, teachers from 2 schools in Phayao City, Thailand will be trained by Ms. Pella-Donnelly, during her program travel in July, on the Project WET curriculum for supplementing and enriching California’s science and math content standards. Additionally, the funds of the grant will cover the materials for students to participate in Project WET lessons such as conducting macro-invertebrate surveys. The classes in the U.S. and Thailand will participate in online conversations about their results to compare data from their water samples and discuss their results from both classrooms and schools.
Rafael Enriquez (Mexico 2010-2011) is the General Director at the Instituto Tecnologico Superior Zacatecas Occidente (ITSZO) in Zacatecas, Mexico. The goal of this Alumni Small Grant is to help Mr. Enriquez create an educational environment at ITSZO that fosters high performance and achievement. The funds for this school grant will allow Mr. Enriquez to strengthen his staff through a series of workshops and team building exercises with the intention of changing the culture at the institution and motivating the staff. This project is a human investment that will benefit students and staff alike as a motivated and cohesive team will be able to tackle the challenges facing higher institutions in the 21st century. ITSZO hopes to share their experience with other Mexican higher institutions facing similar issues upon completion of the project.
Patricia Ana Gomez (Argentina 2010-2011) is the Principal at Dr. Rene Favaloro School in Cordoba, Argentina. Ms. Gomez will be working in collaboration with the school of her U.S. partner, Valerie Bridges who is the Principal at Jesse Wharton Elementary School in Greensboro, North Carolina. This Collaborative Alumni Small Grant will provide for two language acquisition and professional development specialists from Ms. Bridges’ school to travel to Argentina and provide on-site support and training for the staff at Dr. Rene Favaloro School. Over the course of two weeks, the trainers will conduct workshops on Best Practices in Learning English as a Foreign Language, Active Participation and Literacy, and Culture and Learning, as well as providing English classes to local students. This project will directly benefit the 350 students and 30 teachers at Dr. Rene Favaloro School, as well as 30 English teachers from nearby institutions and 200 teachers from the Strengthening Ministerial Education Program.
Ana María Jaurez (Argentina 2011-2012) is the Assistant Principal of Gral. Jose de San Martin Elementary School in Villa Allende, Córdoba, Argentina. Ms. Juarez will be working in collaboration with her U.S. partner Barbara Bergman who is the Principal of Sherwood Forest Elementary School, in Federal Way, Washington. In Villa Allende, the school serves a disadvantaged population and has few resources; thus in music class, students construct instruments using tin cans and string and often sing unaccompanied. This project provides for the purchase of song books, 71 different musical instruments and the repair of the school’s piano in Argentina; lessons on the music of Argentina and the construction of Argentine drums by the Director of Cultural Affairs in Villa Allende; the recording of culturally representative songs by each grade at both schools; the video exchange of these songs between the students; new units on “American culture vs. Argentine culture”; and a “cultural questions exchange” between the two schools. The direct beneficiaries are the participating 423 students of grades 1-6 in Argentina and 470 students of grades K-5 in the United States.
Kyle Vaughn (India 2012) is an English Teacher at The Hockaday School in Dallas, TX. Mr. Vaughn will be working with Breanna Reynolds (India Resident Director, 2009, 2011 and 2012) an English teacher at Think Global School, and Urmi Basu of the New Light School in Kalighat, Kolkata India. This Collaborative school grant will fund the production of 500 books featuring the written work and art of children served by the organization New Light who are ex-sex workers or children of sex workers. The book will demonstrate the intellectual and artistic talents New Light has brought out in these saved children. The goal of this project is to spread awareness of these children and to teach U.S. students about empowerment while advocating for social transformation through a curriculum involving the books produced through the grant. New Light will in turn be able to showcase and share these collections with their community to spread awareness and to encourage more participation in New Light. This project will directly benefit close to 500 students at the Hockaday and Think Global Schools, and 150 children at New Light.
Barbara Bergman (Argentina 2011-2012) is the principal at Sherwood Forest Elementary in Federal Way, Washington. Ms. Bergman will be working in collaboration with her Argentine partner, Ana Maria Juarez, the assistant principal at Gral Jose de San Martin Primary School in Villa Allende, Argentina. This Collaborative Alumni Small Grant will fund a digital and bilingual story-telling program between Ms. Bergman’s and Ms. Juarez’s schools. During this project, 175 students from the two schools will participate in the creation of digital stories to share with their international friends. Grant funds will help to make the digital stories a reality by providing digital cameras, projectors, and flash drives to the two schools. These personalized stories will promote literacy, authentic second language use, technology skills, and cross-cultural understanding that will connect curriculum to real world experiences.
Bryan Carlson (Italy 2011) is a teacher and coordinator of Latin language programs at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, Texas. Through this School Alumni Small Grant, Mr. Carlson will create an interdisciplinary, multi-grade level discovery learning project titled “Three Thousand Pounds of History.” 8th grade students studying archaeology and ancient cultures will create an excavation site with human artifacts, soil evidence, and other clues, to be buried and discovered and excavated by their 5th grade counterparts who will then use the clues to reconstruct the history and create a museum. The final phase of the project will have the two groups of students comparing stories of how accurately the history was reconstructed and reflecting on how scientists and archaeological evidence shape the views of ancient cultures. Grant funds will cover the costs of archeological field guides, excavation equipment and hardware, and the soils required to create authentic geological strata. This project integrates a real life and hands-on scientific exploration using math, geology, anthropology, and archaeology to present students with an experiential example of how these varied subjects come together to create human history.
Dario Benitez (Argentina 2011-2012) is the principal of IPEM Nº 8 “Manuel Reyes Reyna School” in Cordoba, Argentina. This Collaborative Alumni Small Grant will help the school reconnect with their cultural roots, using history, geography, and the arts to create Murga, a type of musical theater performed in Uruguay and Argentina. Grant funds will provide for the purchase of musical instruments used for Murga, fabric to create costumes, and for Murga experts to train and teach students about the cultural significance and performance of the tradition. The third year students from IPEM Nº 8 “Manuel Reyes Reyna School” will perform the Murga for their school and community as well as videotaping the performance and sharing it with students at New Haven Adult Education, where Mr. Benitez’s partner, Alicia Caraballo, is the principal. The sharing of the project will act as a catalyst for communication between the two student populations, enabling them to discuss their culture, interests, and the common challenges both groups face through shared blogs and videos.
Emily Bivins (Argentina 2011-2012) is the principal of Carrboro Elementary School in Carrboro, North Carolina. Ms. Bivins will be working in collaboration with her Educational Seminars partner, Maria Teresita Veroli, the principal at Carlos N. Paz Primary School in Villa Carlos Paz, Argentina. This Collaborative Alumni Small Grant will enable their schools to partake in a project titled, “Battle of the Books.” The 300 students and 12 teachers in grades 4-5 at the two schools will read two books, one in English and the other in Spanish, and then participate in a live game show like series of questions through a video feed between the two schools. Winning classes will receive new educational resources and individual winners of different categories will receive new books. Grant funds will pay for the purchase of the selected texts and classroom prizes. This project will enhance second language skills in a real life setting for both groups of students in addition to building new friendships and a shared cultural exchange. Teachers will also benefit through shared lesson plan ideas and methodology in teaching the texts. Upon completion of the project, students from both schools will engage in a creative writing activity where they will create new endings for the books they have read and share them with their international friends.
Jennifer Babiracki (Brazil 2011-2012) is a special education administrator for the Anoka Hennepin School District in Anoka, Minnesota. Ms. Babiracki will be working in collaboration with her Brazilian partners Adriana Lemos Caixeta Viera (principal at EE Dom Pedro in Machado) and Roberta Martins de Lima (principal at Escola Estadual Jose Pontes de Oliveira in Bela Vista de Gois). This Collaborative Alumni Small Grant aims to increase the capacity of the two Brazilian schools to integrate and educate students with special needs. The funding provided by this grant will allow Ms. Babiracki’s team at Anoka Hennepin School District to train the educational communities of her partners’ schools in Brazil on research based instructional strategies effective for educating students with disabilities. Trainings will take place using video conferencing software and will be recorded so they can be shared with other educational communities around Brazil. Increasing knowledge about learning disabilities and effective instructional strategies will help these educational communities reach students that have been unable to receive the instruction they need. This project also hopes to create a lasting connection and professional correspondence between the schools that will allow them to exchange best practices for years to come.
Mark Ziebarth (Argentina 2011-2012) is the principal of Isanti Intermediate School and School for All Seasons in Isanti, Minnesota. Mr. Ziebarth will partner on this project with his Educational Seminars Argentina counterpart, Liliana Fernandez, the vice principal of Instituto Emilio Felipe Olmos in Oncativo, Argentina. This Collaborative Alumni Small Grant will allow the two schools to create an interactive video and language exchange project entitled, “Connecting Dreams.” Project funds will be used for the purchase of video cameras. The 1,000 students of these two schools will become teachers for their international peers as they use the video cameras to capture their environment, culture, and language. Students will use the videos they receive to learn more about the history and culture of Argentina and the United States, as well as practicing the basics of a second language. As their language skills improve, students will participate in live video conferencing sessions with their new international friends, bringing the world to the classroom. Students will take an active role in their own learning as they also learn valuable second language skills, history, culture, and technology skills related to capturing and editing video content.
Claudia Kubica Araujo (Uruguay 2011) is an English teacher at CES-Melo High School in Melo, Uruguay. This School Alumni Small Grant will fund a project to promote tourism in her small town through student created brochures in English and Spanish. During this project, students will actively participate in the development of their community by visiting local tourist sites and then creating brochures to be voted on by community members and local artists. The grant will fund student visits to the cultural sites as well as the printing of the winning brochures. Through this grant, students will increase their knowledge of local sites while incorporating the skills they are learning in Art, English, History, and Geography to create a product that fills a need for the entire community.
Claudia Martinez (Uruguay, 2010) is an English teacher at School 162, a primary school located in an underprivileged area of El Pinar, Canelones, Uruguay. This Community Involvement Alumni Small Grant will enable the school’s 353 students to connect with their cultural roots through music and dance in celebrating the United Nations’ International Year for People of African Descent and Uruguay’s Bicentennial Emancipation. Grant funds will provide students with the opportunity to attend professional performances and receive classes and workshops from well known Uruguayan dancers and musicians. The project will focus on Afro-Folk culture and music, inviting the students to involve their families and the community in their education. The grant will also provide for an African American musician to travel from the United States to Uruguay to share and teach African American music. The project will culminate with a festival where students will perform the different songs and dances that they have learned. Ms. Martinez hopes that this celebration of cultural heritage will raise awareness about the community’s own African roots in this age of global media influence.
Elaine Palmer (Uruguay 2010) is a Spanish teacher for the Mt. Lebanon School District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Through this Collaborative Alumni Small Grant, Ms. Palmer will continue collaboration with her Uruguayan counterpart, María Emilia Galagorri Nolé, by bringing two Uruguayan students to the United States for a bilingual, multicultural exchange. The Uruguayan students will be meeting their American “pen pals” and bringing language learning and cultural awareness to life for both groups. Funds for this grant will be used to cover international travel expenses. This experience will provide the participants with authentic communication in both English and Spanish that will further develop mutual cultural understanding between the students and serve as a building block for a continued global partnership between the two schools.
Fabiana Farias (Uruguay 2010) is the Provincial Teacher Coordinator for an area that encompasses 12 public schools, 90 EFL teachers, and 10,000 students in Montevideo, Uruguay. This Collaborative Alumni Small Grant will help facilitate the professional development and continued collaboration of Ms. Farias with her American counterpart, Pamela Schlueter, as they attend the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) 2011 Annual Convention and World Languages Expo together. They will also visit second language classrooms in Denver, Colorado where the conference takes place. Ms. Farias will return to Uruguay to present workshops on the latest practices and research to her fellow educators, facilitating professional development and international collaboration for over 90 EFL teachers. Grant funds will be used to help cover travel expenses and convention fees as well as the workshops to share the knowledge gained from the ACTFL sessions.
Maria Victoria Luque (Argentina 2010) is the Vice Director at General San Martin School in Villa Dolores Argentina. Through this School Alumni Small Grant, the school will create a space dedicated to art and artistic expression that will provide the school’s 700 elementary students with the opportunity to interact with a variety of creative mediums. The project, entitled “Creative Hands,” will fill a need for the school that currently lacks an art program and creative outlet for the school’s children. The grant will fund the purchase of art and ceramics materials to help establish the program as well as funding visits to local galleries and museums so that students can study the influence and culture of local artists.
Alice Bolaños (Uruguay, 2010) is a Spanish teacher at Jordan High School in Durham, North Carolina. The Alumni Small Grant will fund the “Story Hub Project,” which involves over 500 Spanish and French students at the U.S. school and about 250 other students at partner schools. The students will write stories in their target foreign language and use digital recorders to record book narrations will be shared with their community elementary school partner as well as two schools in Uruguay. The digital recordings will also be assessed by teachers and used as part of the Advanced Placement testing requirement at Jordan High School. This project will help all the students to build confidence in their speaking abilities, critique their own oral communication in the target language, and facilitate the ability of the language teachers to critique each student’s individual target language speaking abilities.
Julio Del Pino (Argentina, 2010) is the principal of Insitituto S. de Educación Técnica in Córdoba, Argentina and will be collaborating with Will McGuire who is the principal of Boonsboro Middle School in Baltimore, Maryland. Through this Alumni Small Grant, the art teachers from both schools and their students will collaborate (through Skype) in joint lessons on pottery methods indigenous to Córdoba, Argentina. The grant will fund the ceramics materials required for teachers and students to exchange best practices as well as explore each other’s cultures and histories via the medium of clay. Principal Del Pino believes that his students especially will have the opportunity to develop a marketable skill that could turn into a lifelong passion and career that has the potential to impact the whole community as the students become self-sufficient by selling their hand-made products.
Terry Reynolds (Argentina, 2010) is the superintendent of the Pittsville School District in Pittsville, Wisconsin and will be collaborating with his counterpart, Mirta Olivera, the principal of Maria Inmaculada School in Las Varillas, Argentina. This Alumni Small Grant will fund the supplies required in Argentina to communicate virtually over Skype as well as the development of new interactive curriculum segments for the schools’ language courses. Through this collaboration two to three days a week, the students and teachers of these two rural schools, with homogenous populations, will become more knowledgeable of each other’s cultures and strengthen their foreign language capabilities.
Mirian Patricia del Valle Rinaldi (Argentina, 2010) is the vice-principal of Ricardo Gutierrez "J. Completa" school in Obispo Trejo, Córdoba, Argentina and will be collaborating with David Smith, the principal of Whitwell Elementary School in Whitwell, Tennessee. The Alumni Small Grant for “Joining our Cultures” will fund bilingual language software, interactive games, musical instruments and software training workshop expenses for a collaborative project with the English, Music, Language and Theater teachers and students in Argentina, with the Music teachers and students at Whitwell Elementary. The funds will also fund the printing of the Argentine school’s bilingual magazine, which will be shared with the students of Whitwell Elementary. This project involves several hundred students and intends to involve their student’s families and community in the international collaboration through the sharing of art and music.
Lisa Ross Hain (Uruguay, 2010) is a Spanish teacher at Grand Rapids High School in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. This Alumni Small Grant project will continue collaboration with Mariella Sosa DeTomasi of Canalones, Uruguay and Susana Bentancor de León of San José de Mayo, Uruguay. In the winter of 2011, Ms. Sosa DeTomasi visited Grand Rapids with four (4) of her most talented language students. Comparatively, this project will assist five (5) Grand Rapids High School students in traveling to Montevideo and San José, which will provide opportunities for authentic communication in both Spanish and English and further develop mutual cultural understanding among the students. This project will directly benefit the students who travel and the people with whom they interact in Uruguay, as well as continue to impact the Spanish students in Minnesota who have developed a relationship with the Uruguayan students who visited in January.
Martha Edich Bono (Argentina, 2010) is the Technical Supervisor for Elementary Schools in Cordoba, Argentina. The Alumni Grant Award will fund leadership training for Principals in Argentina to focus on improving student learning. She will be working with her collaborative school partner Edward Drozdowski at MacMillan International Academy Magnet School in Montgomery, Alabama to provide case studies on successful leadership and education models for principals to study. Ms. Bono estimates that she will be able to reach out to all the principals in two neighboring school zones, with 64 direct beneficiaries, and around 200 teachers and 3800 students who will see the results of improved student learning. By observing peers, using training sessions to analyze and learn, and sharing of best practices between American principals and Argentine principals, the Argentine principals will build their skills and abilities to improve school performance.
Maria Dolores Bujan Canabarro (Uruguay, 2009) is an English and science teacher at Liceo Jubilar “Juan Pablo II” in Montevideo, Uruguay. The Alumni Grant Award will fund the “Science Laboratory Project”, a school grant focusing on improving the science teaching laboratory infrastructure in Ms. Canabarro’s school to provide the students with practical learning in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Through the learning equipment purchased as a part of this grant, the 165 science class students as well as their teachers will be immediately affected. The school hopes that the improved laboratory will draw more students into the sciences. Parents, teachers, and other community members will be invited to take classes that utilize the new equipment as well so that it benefits the school community as well.
Dale Stafslien (Argentina Program, 2010) is the principal at Sparta High School in Tomah, Wisconsin. The Alumni Award Grant will fund a collaborative grant to bring professional development practices from Wisconsin to Nona, Cordoba in Argentina. Mr. Stafslien, in collaboration with Cecilia Bradley of Cordoba, Argentina, have set up the “Argentina Learning Community”. By incorporating a lead teacher who is fluent in Spanish into Mr. Stafslien’s trip to Argentina, the visit will provide insight from both an administrator and a teacher. Ms. Bradley and Mr. Stafslien will build a learning community of teachers and administrators at IPEM No. 135 High School in Nono, Cordoba, Argentina. The primary beneficiaries of this program will be the staff of IPEM No. 135 High School. All the students will benefit as well as their teachers who will gain new best practices to incorporate into their classroom instruction.
Maria Isabel Pioletti (Argentina, 2010) is principal of Brochero Cure Elementary School in Cordoba, Argentina. The Alumni Grant Award will fund the collaborative project “Youngsters Unifying Cultures,” a series of joint initiatives with Sandy Anderson, the Principal of the Oak Terrace Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois. The two schools will collaborate through joint classes, projects in a dual language environment, and the creation of a book based on the illustrations of Spanish and English songs that students from both schools create. The book created through this project will be published in both languages and distributed to both schools. In addition to these schools, where 50 teachers and about 900 students will be involved, the book will be distributed to as many as 90 schools in both the U.S. and Argentina that have already expressed interest in the project.
Ralph Annina (Italy, 2009) is an Italian teacher at Bradford High School in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Alumni Grant Award will fund a grant project for Mr. Annina’s high school students utilizing the resources available at the Chicago Art Institute. The Bradford High School Italian language students will travel to the museum to learn how historic Italian art can be interpreted in terms of Italian language and culture. The museum docents will then judge the Italian art created by the students in a contest to apply what they have learned. This project will involve all Italian students at the school, which totals approximately 85 students, and has the opportunity to draw more students to the Italian language and create more interaction with the community and the arts.
Dr. Sandy Boyles (Brazil, 2010) is the principal of Battlefield Primary School in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. The Alumni Award Grant will fund a community involvement project in collaboration with her partner’s,
Jaclyn Blash (Uruguay, 2010) is a Spanish teacher at Gateway Senior High School in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. This Alumni Award Grant will fund a collaborative project to promote a student exchange between Uruguay and the United States. Ms. Blash, working with her partner, Maria Elisa Roldan Huerta from Canalones, Uruguay, will arrange the project. Two top students from the U.S. and one U.S. teacher chaperone will travel to Uruguay for about two weeks to attend classes, live with a host family, and experience true Uruguayan culture through a variety of activities and excursions. Additionally, a pen-pal program between the two schools will be set up to continue the relationships that have been formed, and help foster the return exchange of Uruguayan students to visit Gateway High School in Pennsylvania. While the two students and teacher are the immediate beneficiaries, plans are in place to interact with and impact over 400 people at the schools and in the communities they visit. Students, teachers and families will benefit from interacting with native English speakers in both formal and non-formal situations. Additionally, all the U.S. Spanish students will have the opportunity to interact with native Spanish speakers from Uruguay through the pen-pal program, which the alumni partners plan to sustain for many years to come.
Julie Crain (Argentina, 2010) is the principal of Broadmoor Technical Center in Overland, Kansas. The Alumni Award Grant will fund a collaborative project to increase English language learning in the town of Pueblo Italiano, Argentina using e-readers pre-loaded with English textbooks and educational materials. Ms. Crain will work with her program partner, Jorge Audagna, the principal at Instituto Jose Manuel Estrada, to train the instructors and implement this project in both Mr. Audagna’s high school and the community’s elementary school. Using the new educationally focused technology of e-readers, students will be able to access thousands of different English books, newspapers, magazines, and journals (many of which are free of charge) to build their literacy skills. This is especially important in Pueblo Italiana, which lacks access or resources purchase and transport conventional English texts. With over 60 students cycling through English classes in Jorge’s school every day, this project will have an immense amount impact in the Pueblo Italiano community. This is a pilot project, which will be heavily evaluated and may be replicated in other remote areas of Argentina in the future.
Diane Niedzialkowski (India, 2010) is a Science teacher at Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. Springbrook High School is a diverse International Baccalaureate World School that serves a large number of underprivileged students. The Alumni Small Grant will fund two one-week summer academies for incoming 9th grade students. The goal is to foster global citizenship and develop literacy and communication skills by focusing on the study of India and collaborating with a collaborating school in India. The secondary goal is to prepare the students as they transition to high school. The project will follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) model of inquiry based learning through projects and interdisciplinary instruction. 80 students at each session will attend, for a total attendance of 160 students, with over 60 student scholarships provided from the alumni grant funds.
Laura Maria Battaglia Fontenla (Uruguay Program, 2010) is the principal of the 192 School in Montevideo, Uruguay. The Alumni Grant Award will fund the “Brushstrokes School Newspaper,” a cultural exchange that will result in a collaborative newspaper publication with the Elmer Thienes-Mary Hall School of Marlborough, Connecticut. With 700 students at the 192 school in Uruguay and 400 at the Elmer Thienes-Mary Hall School in Connecticut, this project will help reinforce cross-cultural communications between the two schools, affecting almost 1100 children and teachers. Through the use of technology (such as Skype) and writing students will be able to communicate and develop the content of the newspaper. Teachers at the schools will then collaborate to arrange the content for publication and dissemination over the course of the next year.
Christopher Greenslate (India, 2010) is a teacher at High Tech High School in San Diego, California. The Alumni Grant Award will fund “Writing for Connection: Building Literacy and Cultural Understanding,” a collaborative project with the Kendriya Vidyalaya Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, India. The project will build upon the stories and biographies completed by students at KV JNU and get them published in book form. This grant will support students at High Tech High School as they develop their own stories and biographies to also be published and exchanged with their peers at KV JNU. Titled “This is Ours,” this book will be able to reach the nearly 500 students at KV JNU and High Tech High School, as well as the communities in Delhi and San Diego that have a chance to read the book. This collaboration will help build cross-cultural communication and understanding by exchanging these volumes and allowing students to learn about themselves, develop their skills and engage with their peers overseas.
Sumet Jeadpiyawat (Thailand, 2010) is the Director of the Chiangsaenwittayakhom School in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The Alumni School Grant Award will fund the “Intensive English Workshop,” a three week long multifaceted seminar for teachers and students. Through a series of teacher workshops, English speaking competitions, English demonstrations for teachers, and an English camp for selected students, the “Intensive English Workshop” will end up affecting the top 25 selected students and more than 25 teachers. The learning from this program will multiply as the teachers use their training in schools in and around Chiang Rai to bring English to their students through realistic situations and correct examples.
Sa-nguansak Kosinan (Thailand, 2010) is the Department Head of Mathematics at Yangtalad Wittayakarn School in Kalasin, Thailand. The Alumni School Grant Award will fund the “EIS Project Teachers English Language Training” for mathematics, science and information technology teachers at the Yangtalad Wittayakarn School. This project will help to establish a standard format of communication, allow teachers to master English language communication skills used in daily and educational conversation, and function comfortably in the English language speaking educational environment. In an intensive seminar format, all the teachers of the Yangtalad Wittayakarn School who participate in this program will learn to use English in the proper context for their classroom.
Claudia Martinez (Uruguay, 2010) is an English teacher at the Escuela 162, a primary school in El-Pinar-Costa De Oro, Canelones, Uruguay. The Alumni School Grant Award will fund the “Opening Horizons” project to help low income students in Canelones learn about biodiversity and the importance of environmental sustainability in Uruguay. Students will learn about a certain type of whale that visits the Uruguayan coast with the assistance of specialists from the “Organizacion para la Conservacion de Cetaceos del Uruguay”, visit the “Museo del Mar”, and travel to the coast to observe the whales. By collaborating with a nearby school, Escuela 224, with better socioeconomic demographics, the two groups of students will form bonds that will help overcome their differences. Over 600 students and 30 teachers will have the opportunity to take advantage of this project.
Elaine E. Palmer (Uruguay, 2010) is a Spanish Teacher at Foster Elementary School and Howe Elementary School in Indiana, Pennsylvania. The Alumni Collaborative Grant Award will fund the “Continuing to Go Global” project, which will help build connections between the schools of the Mt. Lebanon, South Fayetteville, and Quaker Valley School Districts of Pennsylvania and their partner schools in Mercedes, Uruguay. Ms. Palmer, through collaboration with her Uruguayan partner, Maria Emilia Galagorri Nole, will build classroom interaction through writing letters, creating podcasts, and other multimedia projects. Ms. Palmer envisions that as this project grows to involve more schools and districts in the U.S. and Uruguay, she will have the opportunity to travel to Uruguay to train more teachers in using the technology to promote more collaboration between more schools. Of the 3 school districts in Pennsylvania and the Mercedes School District in Uruguay, almost 13,000 students will have the opportunity to be participants in this project.
Maria Elisa Roldan Huerta (Uruguay, 2010) is an English as a Second Language high school teacher in Las Piedras, Uruguay. The Alumni Grant Award will help offset costs for Ms. Roldan Huerta to attend the annual American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) conference in the United States. Ms. Roldan Huerta’s U.S. partner, Ms. Jaclyn Blash, will join her at the conference where they will attend sessions and represent Educational Seminars alumni at the American Councils booth. This conference will strengthen Ms. Roldan Huerta’s educational community, including over 270 teachers, when she returns to present information sharing sessions, capacity building workshops, and can engage in unique opportunities to address current, cutting edge innovations in language teaching. Her additional time in the U.S. will be spent with her cooperating teacher, Ms. Blash, and she will have the opportunity to learn with 700 students and 5 teachers who are involved in Spanish language classes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Suzanne Roy (Argentina, 2009) is a Spanish teacher at the Horicon School in Annapolis, California. The Alumni Collaborative Grant Award will fund “Our Stories Connect Us,” a collaborative effort with the Escuela Francisco Malbran in Cordoba, Argentina. Working with her partner, Maria Daniela Serre, from Argentina, their two rural schools will connect using technology. Utilizing Skype conferencing and e-mail exchanges, the students and teachers will share about their schools, communities, cultures and countries. In the process, students will be able to discover that we all have stories that connect us across distance, language, and culture. Ms. Roy will also run a book drive and will bring these books with her when she travels to Argentina for a collaborative visit. During this visit, she will lead sessions on using the technology required for their future collaboration. Over 320 students at the two schools, and nearly 50 staff and administrative members will benefit from this project.
Kelly Smith (Italy, 2010) is a member of the Classics faculty at Ashley Hall in Charleston, South Carolina. The Alumni School Grant Award will fund the project “Bringing Latin to Life through Gregorian Chants.” Using a multidisciplinary approach, Ms. Smith will tie together the history, music, and language departments, specifically the Latin faculty, to study Gregorian chant. This will provide students with a way to view Latin outside of its traditional literary experience, and show that it is still a living art form. Using the opportunity to learn from the Vatican’s head of Gregorian Chants in Italy with the chorus director at Ashley Hall, Ms. Smith will be able to show a direct link between Latin, music, and history. The over 100 students and staff currently engaged in the Classics at Ashley Hall will be the direct beneficiaries, though this opportunity will also bring interest from the surrounding community through choral concerts.
Mariella Sosa Detomasi (Uruguay, 2010) is an English Teacher at Alberto Candeau Secondary School in Canelones, Uruguay. The Alumni Collaborative Grant Award will fund four exemplary English students from Uruguay to visit the schools in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Ms. Sosa Detomasi and her U.S. partners, Ms. Lisa Ross Hain and Mr. Eric Northard, have maintained a very strong relationship and are looking forward to extending this opportunity to these four exemplary students so that they can learn about American culture, education, and society. Through prepared presentations, daily reflection, lessons, and engaging in cultural activities these four students and their peers in the U.S. will extend the bonds of the Educational Seminars experience. Additionally, the four Uruguayan students will share their experiences with their home school and community and in the process encourage others to learn English better and develop cross-cultural communication with the U.S. partner schools.
Hillary Younglove (Italy, 2010) is the Art Department Chairwoman at the Sonoma Academy in Santa Rosa, California. The Alumni Community Grant Award will help fund a new art class to be offered that will teach students about the ancient art techniques of encaustic painting, fresco painting, and mosaics. Students who enroll in this course will learn the ancient history tied to these artistic styles as well as how to create their own. Ms. Younglove drew inspiration from her experiences on her exchange in Italy to develop this curriculum, and hopes to have a full class of 15 students enrolled by the fall of 2011. In the future, Ms. Younglove hopes to also teach this course in the community at the university level. Through teacher training, classroom observation opportunities, classroom art exhibits and community sharing, Ms. Younglove’s students will be able to show off their new skills and their new understanding of the processes of classic art, as well as spread an appreciation of the Classics in Santa Rosa, California.
Gonzalo Gabriel Aemilius Berezán (Uruguay Program, 2008) is the director of the Liceo Juan Pablo II in Montevideo, Uruguay. The Alumni School Grant Award will fund workshops and educational seminars to further students and teachers knowledge of biodiversity in Uruguay. Mr. Aemilius Berezán hopes to foster a proactive response to caring for the environment in the students, families, and communities of which the school is a part by bringing his students on two targeted trips to different parts of Uruguay to learn more about ecology. His project will end up influencing all students in the first, second and third basic cycles from his school. Events will include up to 70 students per seminar, and affect over 300 people who will be afforded the opportunity to go on environmental awareness trips. This knowledge will help those in the community to understand the affects their industry has on the environment and encourage interest in and respect for their world in and beyond their community. This program will help broaden the knowledge of the Liceo Juan Pablo II by integrating an environmental conscious into the students and teachers that live in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Susana Mariela Gonzalez Files (Uruguay Program, 2007) is a teacher at the Bilingual School No. 140 “Francisco Siñeriz” in Rivera, Uruguay. The Alumni School Grant Award will fund materials and books for a new library for the school. For students in 1st through 6th grades, this will provide the opportunity to borrow and read books that they would otherwise not have access to in their school. This project has the opportunity to affect 800 students as well as their families and community members who can use the reading spaces. The grant will also buy two large bookcases to hold the books, two tables and chairs so that the students have a place to sit and read in the school. Ms. Gonzalez Files’ goal is to encourage literacy by providing reading materials, creating a space for reading, reaffirming the role of the library as a cultural area, and reinforcing language arts development in the school’s students.
Elaine E. Palmer (Uruguay Program, 2010) is a Spanish teacher at the Stephen C. Foster Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Alumni Grant Award will fund the expansion of partnership between Uruguay and the United States in language and cultural development. A main component will be a visit from Maria Emilia Galagorri Nole, an educator from Uruguay, to the United States to participate at the 2010 Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association conference. This program has the potential to benefit over 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, including the over 5000 students in Ms. Palmer’s district alone. Ms. Palmer’s goals include fostering interest in the Educational Seminars Exchange Programs as well as the sharing of best practices and perspectives from both countries’ and discussing cross-cultural partnerships.
Carlos Alberto Sainz David (Mexico Exchange Program, 2009) is the Director at the Universidad Tecnologica de la Zona Metropolitana de Guadalajara (UTZMG) in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Alumni School Grant Award will fund a collaboration program in the development of multimedia materials for online web programs and academic support. This will involve the Northwest Vista College of San Antonio, Texas which will provide training and support for the academic personnel from UTZMG. A week-long study visit will allow the leaders from Mexico and the U.S. to share knowledge, assess the schools’ needs, and create a workshop for educators in both schools to utilize this technology. With the implementation of this program, potentially more than 1000 students could benefit over the course 2 years as the UTZMG, guided by Mr. Sainz David implements a new collaborative online system for distance/e-learning and multimedia education. Mr. Sainz David’s goal is to reach new students and increase university education access for the many residents who live too far away to reach the university for on-campus classes.
Ralph Annina (Italy Educational Seminar Program, 2009) is an Italian teacher at Bradford High School in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Alumni Grant Award will fund workshops and conference sessions to further his work with Marconi Technical High School in Verona, Italy and encourage this type of collaboration in the teaching of Classics subjects. Mr. Annina’s goal is to develop an exchange program to expand the current language collaboration between the two high schools that includes video conferencing and a jointly produced online magazine in English and Italian.
Sususa Bentancour de Leon (Uruguay Program, 2010) is a middle school English teacher in San Jose, Uruguay at Liceo No. 2 “Profesor Héctor Almada”. The Alumni School Grant Award will fund technical advances in her school through the addition of a television to the school resource center, projector screens for their computer labs, multiple teacher workshops for over 60 teachers targeted to the use of technology in the classroom, a four-session parent workshop on Microsoft Office to benefit the community, a technology fair and a student field trip to Montevideo to visit the Technological Laboratory of Uruguay. These new skills acquired by the teachers is intended to help bridge the gap between her 670 students and those with higher access to technology.
Patricia Hager (Argentina Program, 2009) is Principal of Whitney High School in Cerritos, California. The Alumni Collaborative Grant Award is part of a larger California Technical Educational Grant including funds to support technology needs for their partner school (Mario R. Vecchioli School) in Rafaela, Argentina. Eight American students of Spanish will be traveling to Argentina to set up a technology lab (with computers funded by the California Grant) that will be used for internet video conferencing between the two schools’ students and administration. The United States students and their chaperones will conduct trainings for students and teachers in Argentina including. The Educational Seminars Alumni Grant will cover expenses for the two chaperones of the Professional Development Exchange and instructional materials for the exchange and the training workshops.
Janet Parker (Argentina Program, 2009) is the International Baccalaureate Coordinator for the Primary Years Program at the Williamsburg James City Council Public Schools in Williamsburg, VA. The Alumni Collaborative Grant Award will fund the purchase of English language learning books and materials, the installation of wireless internet for the planned cultural and language exchange (with the Juana Azurduy Primary School in Villa Gobernador Galvez, Argentina) and a teacher training workshop on the use of free web services such as Skype to implement the exchange. Over 150 7th grade students will be participating in this project, which is integrated into Spanish/English courses in the U.S. and Argentina respectively, led by 10 U.S. teachers and 12 Argentine teachers.