Curtis is proud to introduce this year's Educational Travel Program Fellows:
Debra Cohen, 4th Grade Teacher, will travel to Italy and Greece to explore how people living daily where ancient history is still a part of modern life tell stories of the past and present through artifacts, tradition, and personal experience. Ms. Cohen believes that storytelling, or sharing one’s own history, helps to bring about a deeper understanding of those different from ourselves. She plans to teach students how learning about the ancient past and different cultures can help shape our understanding, tolerance and appreciation of differences.
Karen Nguyen, Associate Librarian, will travel to New Zealand and Australia, visiting five cities— Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch, Adelaide, and Melbourne—two of which are designated by UNESCO as “Cities of Literature.” She will attend the New Librarians’ Symposium and explore with her peers from across Oceania how librarianship is evolving globally and what skills are needed to serve 21st century learners. Ms. Nguyen intends to share what she learns from her travels to develop fresh approaches that inspire students to read and to appreciate literature.
Jessica Pezdek, Spanish Teacher and World Languages Curriculum Coordinator, will hike part of the Camino de Santiago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Spain. Along her journey, Ms. Pezdek will observe the rich cultural heritage of northern Spain as well as its natural beauty. She hopes to explore questions around national and regional identities with pilgrims she meets on her trek and plans to share her experience with students through projects and activities that consider how identity is shaped by words, objects, places and the people we interact with.
Olivia Siegels, Associate Teacher, will travel to Thailand to investigate how it is adjusting to an increase of tourism and what efforts are being made by government, hotels, and conservation groups to protect the country’s rich biodiversity. The surge in tourism in recent decades has created issues around land conservation, pollution and exploitation of animals. Ms. Siegels will use what she learns to continue to guide students to be conscientious citizens who care for our world and all of its inhabitants.
D'vora Taus-Kahn, 6th Grade Teacher and Debate Coordinator, will travel to Israel and Jordan to visit historical and contemporary sites that relate to the social studies curriculum for 6th grade, which includes the study of ancient civilizations, tolerance, and world religions and belief systems. In addition to ancient sites and places of archeological interest, Ms. Taus-Kahn will visit locations that are important to major monotheistic religions in order to explore the ways in which religion, race and culture are at the intersection of history and contemporary politics.