Curtis School Educational Travel Fellowship

In 2016, Curtis School announced the inauguration of a travel fellowship opportunity for faculty. The Curtis Educational Travel Fellowship Program provides grants to teachers, awarded on a competitive basis, for study and travel in the United States or abroad. The school is proud to offer this unique opportunity to our educators and is excited to share our faculty's experiences through their travel blogs and published reports that appear in the annual report and Curtis Magazine.

The travel fellowship program was created to enable our teachers to step out of the role of an instructor and facilitator of knowledge and step into the role of a consumer of information and an innovator in education. Global, innovative education is integral to building 21st century skills—those skills that will prepare our children to thrive in the interconnected and fast-changing world we live in. Teachers are the most valuable resource we have to empower students to become global citizens and innovative thinkers. Education begins with teachers themselves, and their teaching, transformed through field experience and global collaboration, in turn enriches the education they are able to deliver to students in the classroom.

Applicants for travel fellowship grants are asked to think critically about their curriculum and to target a specific area of their pedagogy or a unit of study that would be further enriched and enhanced by their travel experience. Experiences funded by this fellowship can take the form of a partnership with or work in a university research facility or other teaching and educational organizations and may include domestic or international travel. Applicants are required to prepare a thoughtful proposal that details the experience that a grant would enable them to undertake and to explain how this opportunity will enhance and enrich their curriculum and teaching.
"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."

— Henry Miller

    • L-R: Debra Cohen, Olivia Siegels, Jessica Pezdek, Karen Nguyen, D
      Travel Fellows

      L-R: Debra Cohen, Olivia Siegels, Jessica Pezdek, Karen Nguyen, D'vora Taus-Kahn

2019 Travel Fellowship Awards

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 citiesAuckland, 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.

Travel Blogs 2018

List of 3 items.

  • Linda Schaffer - Science Teacher


    Science Teacher Linda Schaffer travelled to Alaska to learn about changes in oceans and marine organisms in the Kenai Peninsula and to study first-hand the Alpine Taiga biome in Denali National Park. The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is home to a wide diversity of wildlife, and the area includes ice fields and glaciers, with their own particular plant and animal species, as well as tundra, boreal forests, lakes and wetlands. Dr. Schaffer will use what she learned to provide her students with real-life evidence of changes within Arctic biomes.

  • Vicki Lockhart - 4th Grade Teacher


    Third Grade Teacher Vicki Lockhart travelled to Ecuador to visit historic cities, study the theory of evolution at the Darwin Research Center, and observe animals found only in the Galápagos Islands. Ms. Lockhart engaged with people who speak different languages, practice different belief systems, and do everyday things in different ways. Traveling as a social scientist, she  searched out new ways to engage students’ curiosity and encourage them to ask questions about the world they live in.

  • Amy Wiggins - Library & Media Specialist


    Ms. Wiggins ventured to the homelands of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, Germany and Denmark respectively, exploring the origins of popular fairy tales. She visited places such as Sababurg Castle, where Sleeping Beauty slept for 100 years, and Trendelburg Castle, where Rapunzel let down her long hair. Mrs. Wiggins’s journey helped her gain an understanding of how places can inspire and dictate which stories emerge and why these stories hold such power and sway over the imaginations of adults and children today. Using what she learned, Ms. Wiggins will incorporate the original versions of these fairy tales into the library curriculum.

Travel Blogs 2016

List of 4 items.