BBA Recognizes Faculty, Names Award & Grant Recipients
Recipients of annual faculty travel grants, the Rowland Sabbatical and the Rowland Chairs were recently announced at Burr and Burton Academy’s last faculty meeting. “This is my favorite faculty meeting, when you get to celebrate the tremendous work of our colleagues while launching a fortunate few on adventures that will enrich this community for years to come,” said headmaster Mark Tashjian. Also in attendance were May Bigelow, who created the Bigelow Fund for Excellence, and Wendy and Barry Rowland, the two greatest benefactors in the school’s history. The Bigelow Fund, which encourages teachers to seek enriching experiences to deepen their knowledge and re-energize their teaching, was awarded to science teacher Elpi Blanchard who will be traveling to England to study English bridges, visit the London Natural History Museum and the Sherlock Holmes museum.
The Ormsby Hill Trust supports enrichment opportunities for teachers in their subject matter. It was awarded to social studies teacher Kendra LaRoche. She said “As a social studies teacher and the lead teacher of our world cultures curriculum, I love to tell the story of a place. Latin America has a story to tell me, an ancient story of Incan emperors and Spanish conquest. However, the journey is where the story is developed, and what better way to take the journey then by foot! I plan to start in Cuzco, the capital of the Inca empire, then trek through the Andes … from high altitude moorland to dense cloud forest.”
The Rowland Travel Award was given to long-time math teacher and department head Mike Caraco, who will be traveling around the country to explore blended-learning, proficiency-based instruction and other education innovations at some of the highest-achieving and most progressive schools.
The Rowland Sabbatical provides the opportunity for faculty members who have at least seven years of experience at BBA to continue their education, conduct research, experience other cultures and pursue projects related to their specific discipline. It was awarded to Barbara Muench, who will be studying literacy in the Chicago inner city schools, meet with ESL teachers in Minnesota, volunteer to teach reading to adults in West Virginia, and tour a New York City school that specializes in reading instruction. Her work will culminate in South Africa where she will live at a township and work as a teacher in an under-served school. After that, she will travel for two weeks in South Africa to retrace the tragic history of apartheid.
Finally, the two Rowland Chairs are awarded each year to acknowledge and honor teachers who are innovative, who inspire students and their peers and who clearly have committed their hearts and souls to meeting the mission and vision of our school. This year’s recipients are social studies teacher and department head John Graf and music teacher Julie Freebern.
Tashjian closed the meeting by thanking the donors who make these opportunities possible. “Your generosity inspires us, allows us to dream big and pushes us to even higher heights as we move deeper into the 21st-century,” he said.