“We hope we can help guide our own students to make changes in our school and our community beyond.”
Mansfield Elementary School Teachers Jennifer Zugarazo and Michelle Mather are headed to Denmark for 14 days this summer as Fund for Teachers Fellows.
Jen is an ELL/Spanish Teacher and Michelle is the Enrichment Teacher at Mansfield Elementary School, formerly teaching at Annie E. Vinton Elementary School. They describe that their goal for this fellowship is to learn about sustainability and zero waste by visiting four schools and various companies in Denmark, bringing these experiences back to the district’s new Mansfield Elementary School, and facilitating positive changes toward creating a zero waste and sustainable school.
In their application, the teachers summarized that they plan to “Research schools in Denmark associated with the international Eco Schools organization to document environmentally mindful ways of living and incorporate these strategies in our school and community.”
They describe that their goal for this fellowship is to learn about sustainability and zero waste by visiting four schools and various companies in Denmark, bringing these experiences back to the district, and facilitating positive changes toward creating a zero waste and sustainable school. Through their research and correspondence with Eco Schools, Jen and Michelle have mapped a plan to travel to visit schools, businesses and cultural sites in Copenhagen, Bornholm (featured in National Geographic as becoming the first zero waste community on the planet), Sonderborg and Aalborg, with each school specializing in a unique segment of environmental efficiency. They are eager to see garden-to-table food production by students, energy conservation managed by a student-based “energy patrol”, intense waste management systems and energy generation. Two of the schools are also located in ecologically sensitive locations and incorporate conservation into their curriculum.
Michelle and Jen summarized in their application, “Many European countries lead the world in their eco-friendly practices and sustainable living. By visiting not only schools, but several companies involved with sustainability programs and eco-friendly practices, we can help guide our own students to make changes in our school and our community beyond.”
In their fellowship proposal Michelle and Jen expressed, “We hope we can help guide our own students to make changes in our school and our community beyond.”
Fund for Teachers Has Awarded Fellowships to Many Mansfield Teachers
According to its website, Fund for Teachers “supports educators' efforts to develop skills, knowledge and confidence that impact student achievement. By trusting teachers to design unique fellowships, Fund for Teachers grants validate teachers' professionalism and leadership, as well. Since 2001, Fund for Teachers has invested $33.5 million in nearly 9,000 teachers, transforming grants into growth for teachers and their students.”
Several Mansfield teachers have benefitted from Fund for Teachers. Mansfield Art Teacher Kim King, Connecticut's Teacher of the Year (photo left) has also traveled for her fellowship this summer, a trip to study arts and culture in Korea which she earned in 2021 that was postponed due to COVID.
In 2017, Ashley Bayard, Diane Hutton, Amanda Doyle and Holly Harakaly traveled to China to learn how to better serve their own student community. Their project was to conduct a field study of Beijing, Shanghai and Xi-an, China, while participating in professional development through the Ministry of Education and various local educators, to support our school community with a growing Chinese population.
In 2018 Kate Smallidge and Julie Frascarelli attended an international music educators conference in Azerbaijan, and Lucia Robert attended special training in Florida to support struggling readers from diverse cultures. Karen LeFevre and Catherine Hain’s fellowship took them to the Netherlands to study school makerspaces there.
Chris Toomey also received fellowship support in 2021 to work one-on-one with an expert on dramatic play for Kindergarten students to learn how to recognize emotions.