McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation Disburses Over $187,214 for School Enrichment, Teacher Development and Scholarships

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From Global Learning Experiences to Student Newscasts, McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation supports creative programs for school enrichment, teacher development and scholarships in the US

The funded projects for the 2018-2019 school year revolve around the theme “Connection.” Each project connects educators and students to one another to the benefit of their school and community. Combining resources, knowledge, and skills can achieve larger goals than individuals working solo in their classrooms.

Professor Sarah McCarthey, President of the Foundation, was enthusiastic about the projects funded, “We have seen an increasing focus on teachers connecting with other teachers, students connecting with their peers within authentic contexts—both inside and outside the classroom, and educators reaching beyond their classrooms to make major contributions to their communities and districts. The projects funded this year are, once again, cutting-edge and teacher-initiated; they promise to make a significant difference in the lives of teachers and students.”

While these projects take the theme of connection in different directions, the thematic resonance is there for all of them: For example, the educators at Ashford School in Vermont are attempting to build an infrastructure to facilitate virtual, international cultural exchanges. The Global Learning Experiences Take Students to New Heights project will see students in K-8th grade immersed in school-wide projects that connect them with their global peers. Even more exciting, this project is the first of its kind to utilize the parameters and tools laid out by the United Nations. By building connections internationally students will see a broader range of opportunities beyond the borders of our own country.

The Pleasant Avenue Critical Friends Group in Niskayuna, NY will connect teachers in their school and district. Through classroom visits and conversations, peers will have an opportunity to participate in a unique professional development experience. The model they develop will spread to other schools in the district further connecting teachers to each other.

The connection theme pervades the Academic Enrichment grants as well . Joining in the Present to Build an Equitable Shared Future builds on a simple premise: Bringing educators together can build community and a shared vision. Grant recipients are seeking to reconstitute the long dormant New York City Chapter of the New York State English Council and National Council of Teachers of English and will be open to any teacher, across content areas, that seeks to improve their instruction of reading/writing. The nucleus of teachers will be from a NYC school, but will quickly be taken up by teachers throughout the city.

Connections can also be reflected in local communities—examining in detail taken-for-granted artifacts and practices that have been largely ignored. That’s the goal of the Inaadiziwin project. Inaadiziwin means means “way of life” in Ojibwe, referring to the traditional seasonal activities that make up the Ojibwe year. Through activities such as making birchbark baskets, snowshoes, and moccasins; building wigwams and birchbark canoes; collecting and preparing maple syrup; ice fishing; and growing and harvesting traditional food and medicinal plants, grant recipients will transform the All Nations Program to increase the engagement, achievement, and cultural knowledge of Native American students.

While student newscasts are far from a new idea, in an age of declining trust in media and journalism, it is imperative to instill a healthy respect for one of the institutions most sacred to our democracy. By participating in the Gecko Newscast, students will have the opportunity to work in all aspects of broadcast news while getting the chance to connect with students, faculty, and community members as they hunt down stories. Innovative presentations of stories will connect students with other students in a more engaging manner than traditional formats such as a disembodied voice over the loudspeaker.

In 2018-19, the Foundation has funded five new Academic Enrichment Grants at schools serving minority and economically disadvantaged students; three Teacher Development grants with similar demographics; and four student teacher scholarships. Recipients include:

Academic Enrichment Recipients
Global Learning Experiences Take Students to New Heights – Kathryn Craven – Vernon, CT
Inaadiziwin – David Butler – Minneapolis, MN
Sensory Friendly Classroom – Lea Greene – Fabius, NY
Gecko Newcast – Gregg Deatley – Austin, TX
Cavity Nester Citizen Science Study – Nikki Wayment – Salt Lake City, UT

Teacher Development Recipients
Pleasant Avenue Critical Friends Group – Lynn Makrin – Niskayuna, NY
Developing a Bilingual, Culturally-Relevant Writers’ Workshop in the Elementary Grades – Caroline Sweet - Austin, TX
Joining in the Present to Build an Equitable Shared Future – Adam Kinory – New York, NY

Scholarship Recipients
Maria Garcia, Stephen F. Austin University
Alicia Romero, University of California, Santa Cruz
Molly Quijano, Stephen F. Austin University
Mari Evelin Moreno Velasco, University of California, Santa Cruz

The mission of McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation is to serve as a catalyst in maximizing the skills and creativity of educators at the K-12 levels and in pioneering approaches to teaching that result in dynamic student learning. The Foundation sponsors proposals that enhance student learning and educational quality, paying particular attention to those that best serve under-funded schools. The application opens January 15 of each year and remains open until 350 submissions are received or by April 15. Proposals designed with significant potential to enrich the educational experiences for youth are encouraged. Applicants should carefully review the application instructions, the Foundation’s blog and funded project directory before applying. All are available at

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Gail Gudell, Controller
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