"Studying the Holocaust changed the way I make decisions." - Student

Monday, August 3, 2009

Creating Master Teachers

Three teachers from Washington State, selected by the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center, attended the prestigious Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR)Summer Institute this year in New York. These three teachers will join the more than 25 JFR alumni in our state.

The Holocaust Center is one of the JFR's 13 "Centers of Excellence." These Centers from across the country are invited to select teachers to attend the Summer Institute. Each year the Holocaust Center selects two or three teachers to attend this program. After an intensive week of Holocaust study and teacher training with leading scholars and educators, teachers return to their schools to share what they have learned with students and colleagues. JFR Alumni lead sessions at the Holocaust Center's local teacher seminars, serve as advisors for new teachers, and are the backbone of the Holocaust Center's Education Advisory Committee.

Attending the JFR this year (2009):

Kirsten Jensen, Nooksack Valley High School, Everson
Kelly Wheeler, Spanaway Lake High School, Spanaway
Debbie Dempsey, Principal, Kent Mountain View Academy, Des Moines

I learned that in my own small way, I am involved in a resistance organization, one that fights discrimination, one that fights prejudice, one that fights racism, and one that fights hatred of any kind and at any level. That is what being an Alfred Lerner Fellow (JFR Alumnus) means to me. And trust me, I do not take this charge lightly. - Kelly Wheeler

Every year I teach reading and writing skills through a Tolerance unit and after attending this seminar I have many more ideas and a much thorough understanding of this period of time and the social, cultural and historical background. The week was organized with lectures by scholars and professors and followed by small group breakout sessions to discuss how we might integrate or teach these ideas in our classrooms. Both were very beneficial.

I learned a lot from the week and have decided to embark on a year of Thematic Units in my reading and writing workshop classroom. Instead of focusing on just one unit on Holocaust education, I will thread these ideas and lessons of the Holocaust throughout the entire year. For example, some of my units will include: Reading for Life Experiences, Cultural Perspectives, The Individual and Society, Historical Perspectives, The Writer’s Point of View, Outsiders and the “Other”, and Overcoming Obstacles. Thank you so much to all the donors that made this trip possible. I look forward to sharing what I learned with other English as well as Social Studies teachers. - Kirsten Jensen

JFR Alumni in Washington State:
Kari Averill, Cascade High School, Everett; Steve Bernard, Central Valley High School, Veradale; Dr. Larry Blades, recently retired from Highline Community College, currently teaching overseas; Nick Coddington, Charles Wright Academy, Tacoma; Ilana Cone Kennedy, Holocaust Center, Seattle; Rosemary Conroy, St. Luke School, Shoreline; Jo Cripps, Alternative School 1 (AS1), Seattle; Lois Fein, Seattle; Paula Fraser, Stevenson Elementary, Bellevue; Pat Gallagher, Kent Mountain View Academy, Des Moines; Ann Gilbert, Forest Ridge, Bellevue; Mark Johnson, formerly of Seattle Prep, currently teaching overseas; Ruth Ann Johnson, St. George’s School, Spokane; Kathy Jones, Whitman Middle School, Seattle; Larry Kolano, Longview; Stephen Pagaard, North Kitsap High School, Poulsbo; Susan Redd, Mount Vernon High School, Mount Vernon; Julie Scott, East Valley Middle School, Spokane; Freddie Yudin, Ingraham High School, Seattle

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