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2012 Faculty Grants

Highlights from 2012 grant recipients:

Joshua Cabral, French & Spanish Teacher, K -8:
Volunteer and Spanish Program in Nicaragua

In July, 2012, I spent two weeks in San Juan de La Concepción, Nicaragua volunteering at the Panamá School, an elementary school that is supported by La Mariposa Spanish School. La Mariposa functions as a Spanish school for international volunteers, and the income from the Spanish program is used to support a small library and an additional teacher to work independently with students at the Panamá School.

Each morning I worked with students in the library who were struggling with literacy or who had perceived learning challenges. In the afternoon I had one-on-one Spanish conversation classes back at La Mariposa, during which we would debrief the morning’s activities. I also learned a lot about the history and struggles of Nicaragua through these daily conversation classes.

The Mariposa program was quite unique in comparison with other volunteer programs that I have researched. Many programs in areas that have similar economic and educational situations as Nicaragua simply solicit funding. La Mariposa strives to create a mutually beneficial situation that provides opportunities for teachers in the Spanish program as well as for volunteers.

This year at School Meeting I look forward to presenting what I learned about cross-cultural connections and the benefits of going out of one’s comfort zone, with an emphasis on volunteerism. In addition, I will be working with Nancy Evans and the Lower School teachers to discuss my experience working with young emerging readers.

Elizabeth Hammett, Mandarin Teacher, 5-8:
Traveled to Shanghai, Inner Mongolia, Mongolia and Xinjiang, China.  Included visits to the "Roots and Shoots"  program and a local school.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to the Faculty Grants Committee. My summer travels in China were incredibly rewarding, educational, and exciting. I look forward to sharing with Brookwood what I learned, via the following avenues:

•  Presentations to my Chinese classes
•  Pen Pal letters between current Mandarin 7 students and students in Kulunqi, Inner Mongolia
•  Work on desertification with Dr. Henry Oettinger and his science students
•  Providing some personal context regarding cook stoves with Rich Lehrer's science students
•  And last but certainly not least, advising a Sustainability Fair group of students to work on getting our very own Brookwood Forest in inner Mongolia!

I have sifted through the hundreds of photos I took on my travels this summer and put them in a format that can be shared. Here is a link to a Picasa album Elizabeth Hammett Roots and Shoots Photos that you are welcome to leaf through. I tried to explain as many pictures as I could with either comments or captions, but do let me know if you have any questions. You may also need a couple of sittings, as even after erasing half of them, I was left with over 400 pictures; I just had so many great experiences.  Enjoy!