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Recipients Announced for 2017-2018 Professional Development Travel Grant

27 Nov Recipients Announced for 2017-2018 Professional Development Travel Grant

The Advent School is pleased to announce that Judean Patten-Clark, science teacher, and Jenn Meader and Molly Rountree, Third Grade teachers, are the recipients of the 2017-2018 Advent Professional Development Travel Grant. As recipients of the Grant, the teachers will receive funding for their proposed curriculum-related travel this school year.

The Travel Grant is awarded annually and offers Advent faculty the opportunity to bring their teaching to life through travel to a location related to their classroom curriculum. Advent encourages its faculty to be life-long learners and to immerse themselves into the mission of bringing valuable experiences back to the School.

Each year, faculty are encouraged to submit proposals that describe how traveling to another location will enhance their curriculum. In 2016, Kindergarten Brimmer teacher Amber Lowe traveled to Mexico to study the migration of the monarch butterfly. In previous years, faculty members have visited Italy, Japan, and the Netherlands to study the philosophies of Reggio Emilia, ceramics, and playground architecture respectively.

Patten-Clark, Meader, and Rountree, Advent’s newest recipients of the Travel Grant, will complete their travel by the end of this school year.

In January, Patten-Clark will travel to California’s central coast for a six-day adventure entitled: Four Great Migrations Converge: Elephant Seals, Whales, Birds and Butterflies. During this time, she will conduct field studies, observe, and learn from experts about migration patterns, as well as the environmental and conservation efforts impacting these animals. Patten-Clark’s experience will provide another connection to the monarch butterfly study in Kindergarten, and will provide scientific grounding for the study of human migration in Third and Fifth Grade.

In her application for the Travel Grant, Patten-Clark explained this connection:

The opportunity to connect the Kindergarten theme to the migration of three other animals will help to extend and deepen students’ understanding of the similarities and differences of the multitude of organisms in the animal kingdom. … In addition, the concepts of migration/immigration are touched upon during both Third and Fifth Grade thematic studies, so having experiences as early as Kindergarten in thinking about the way living things move around the world for survival reasons will be an important frame of reference.

In addition to this expansion of the thematic curriculum, this travel will also strengthen the School’s commitment to, as Patten-Clark wrote, “laying the groundwork for students to become future stewards of the environment.”  Gaining the knowledge to live a more environmentally-friendly, and more sustainability-focused life, is central to Advent’s mission. Increased faculty learning through in-person experiences and observation in this area will benefit the School as a whole.

In the spring, Meader and Rountree will travel together across the southwestern United States on a seven-day Pueblo Heritage Trip visiting the Anasazi, Hopi, and Navajo tribal nations. This travel will guide them in the study of a Native American region that markedly contrasts that of the northeast, further developing the Third Grade thematic studies curriculum to provide, as they wrote, “a deeper and more accurate understanding of the American Indian experience in North American pre and post European contact.” Responding to their own personal and cultural experiences, Meader and Rountree constructed their itinerary to include cultural centers, museums, historical, and natural sites.

In their shared application, they remarked on this:

Fully aware that our own personal and cultural experiences are rooted largely in the dominant white Eurocentric tradition, we believe it is critical that we expand our understanding of indigenous histories, cultures, and experiences to improve and deepen our teaching. … In our quest to not “lump” peoples together, we believe that a learning experience that explores these related yet different cultural groups will help us be mindful of that in our everyday teaching at Advent.

The focus of this travel as a continuation of the anti-bias work that The Advent School’s faculty have been purposefully engaging in this year will prove to be beneficial to the community in its entirety. Educators across the United States are struggling with how to teach Native American history and culture, and this trip will provide inspiration and influence to the teachings of the Third Grade curriculum.

The Advent Professional Travel Grant is funded by donations to The Advent School’s Annual Fund. Contributions to the Fund are essential to the continuation of this program, which allows Advent faculty to inspire their students to learn with passion, act with courage, and change the world.

Congratulations to all three recipients. The Advent School will share updates from the Travel Grant trips in future communications.