Teacher Innovation Grant Program

The Haddonfield Educational Trust announces their Teacher Innovation Grant recipients for 2017-2018.

                                                                                                                                   written by Joe Serico

Grant One was awarded to Ms. Allie Westerside, Haddonfield Memorial High School, Teacher of Art.

Ms. Westerside’s grant will help her expand and replace a variety of objects that students use to do still life drawing. She noted that, “I wanted to create on a smaller scale what I was able to experience in the drawing labs at the Rhode Island School of Design summer programs”. By utilizing the grant, Ms. Westerside will be able to replace her lovely but aging shell collection and return some of the taxidermy items she has on loan from the Saddler’s Woods Center in Haddon Township. Ms.Westerside noted that “The actual objects to be purchased will be developed with input from the students and from needs that I have identified in the past several years”. The objects will be put to immediate use by students in the AP Art classes this spring and will be in continuous use by students at all levels from Art Survey to AP Art. Ms. Westerside added that, “The benefit is long term. As long as there is an Art program at the high school, students will have interesting and inspirational things to draw”. Evidence of the successful use of these models and the work that they inspire will be displayed at the Senior Art Show at the Markheim Art Center on April 28 and 29 with a reception on the Sunday, April 29th from 3-5 pm.

Grant Two was awarded to Ms. Kim Dickstein, Teacher of English at HMHS.

Ms. Dickstein’s grant will be used to make Shakespeare come alive in the English literature classroom. The grant will afford the senior Shakespeare elective students the opportunity to work with a professional actor/director to stage scenes from one of Shakespeare’s works. In addition, the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre Professional Touring program will be bringing Macbeth to the HMHS stage and students in Shakespeare elective, CP English 12, and AP literature classes. This Macbeth performance is planned for April 19th. Ms. Dickstein’s passion for Shakespeare was developed and enhanced in part by a grant she earned from the National Endowment for the Humanities to attend the Teaching Shakespeare Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C in 2012. Ms. Dickstein noted, “This four week summer institute not only taught me how to teach Shakespeare but also reaffirmed my enthusiasm for the Bard which was sparked at Rutgers College with Dr. Emily Bartels. She made Shakespeare come alive for me, and I can only hope to do the same for my students”. Since that time, she has earned grants to study Shakespeare at Exeter College at Oxford University and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. When asked to comment on the value of the artist in residence program, Ms. Dickstein explained, “An artist in residence program transforms a classroom into a working stage and invites students to engage with Shakespeare’s language as scholars and players. Studying Shakespeare is a totally active process which requires student involvement, and working with a professional actor validates what we do every day. Programs like an artist in residence increase student investment and reward students for taking ownership of their learning”. Ms. Dickstein expressed an interest in having HMHS students take this experience out to the community. She commented, “My students are not actors; they are students of English language and literature. We put Shakespeare on its feet all of the time in my classroom, and we make discoveries about ourselves and our world whenever we do so. Why not share these moments with others? When we take Shakespeare out of our classrooms and into the community, something special happens. It comes alive. We experience as a community that Shakespeare is for everyone and all time.”

The Teacher Innovation Grants for 2017-2018 will almost certainly make the classrooms of these fine teachers more exciting and remarkable. We congratulate them on their continued commitment to our students and to their own professional development and growth. The Haddonfield Educational Trust supports the students of the Haddonfield Public Schools through the oversight and management of the Haddonfield Scholarship Funds and through fundraising to assist curricular, co-curricular and building programs across the district. Funding for these grants came as direct result of the efforts of the HET. If you want to learn more about the Haddonfield Educational Trust, please visit our website www.haddonfieldeducationaltrust.org

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