"The caliber of the applicants and the quality of their proposals made the selection process extremely difficult," said Scranton. "We were very pleased by the response in this our fifth year of funding education reform in Vermont."
The Rowland Foundation accepts proposals from visionary educators who, in partnership with the school's principal, wish to improve their school's culture and climate. Rowland Fellows receive $100,000 for their respective schools to cover the cost of a sabbatical for the teacher and to fund their vision when they return to their schools. The Board voted on Feb. 9 to support the following proposals:
Jason Cushner, Big Picture/South Burlington High School
"To create Big Picture South Burlington as an innovation lab for South Burlington High School teachers and to create a grassroots professional development system that engages teachers AND students together in learning."
Carrie Felice and Shaun Noonan, Peoples Academy
"Transforming how we look at graduation requirements and moving to a proficiency-based system using a digital portfolio system."
Sarah Ibson and Ellen Berrings, Harwood Union High School
"To create a system to support proficiency-based graduation through the development of a teacher advisory model and a ninth grade team to ensure that all students develop personalized learning plans and use a portfolio system."
Colin McKaig, Black River Middle and High School
"To better understand the extraordinary influence that portable electronic devices are having on our students and develop ways to use this knowledge to create more meaningful learning experiences for all students."
Mike McRaith, Enosburg Falls High School
"To make non-cognitive skills such as perseverance a teachable, measurable core piece of our school philosophy and culture."
The Rowland Fellows will meet directly with one another and with the Foundation's executive director between now and when their sabbatical begins in September. Upon return from sabbatical in January 2014, the Fellows will initiate their efforts to transform an aspect of their school's culture and climate. The Foundation's previous Fellows will assist this new group of Vermont educators.
The next application period for Rowland Fellowships opens in September, 2013. For more information, go to therowlandfoundation.org.