Published on Apr 21, 2016

On April 5th 2016, in partnership with Hartford Public Schools and the Dalio Foundation, the Fund for Teachers (FFT) announced 6 Hartford teachers as recipients of grants for travel for education by surpsing them in their classrooms with backpacks for their trips and an invitation to an awards dinner.  As FFT Fellows, grant recipients will embark on self-designed professional learning odysseys this summer.  Hartford’s FFT Fellows will be traveling to four countries and three continents, spanning from New Haven, CT to Cuba to Costa Rica.  Hartford teachers will return with new insights, connections and tools to benefit their students.  These teachers collectively educate more than 500 students across 5 schools in the district.  

Bulkeley's Kaitlin Sullivan (right) thanks the Dalio Foundation members for their generous gift.

The teachers are Kaitlin Sullivan from Bulkeley High School, Burns Latino Studies Academy's Jason Borger and Kelly Lange, and University High School of Science and Engineering's Elizabeth Benfield, Sharol Wilcoxen, and Susan Pedrick.  Surprising them in their classrooms were Barbara Dalio and Andrew Ferguson of the Dalio Family Foundation, Karen Webb, Executive Director of Fund for Teachers, and Hartford Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez.

"The Dalio Foundation is truly fortunate to partner with Hartford Public Schools and Fund for Teachers to support public school teachers in pursuing their passions," said Barbara Dalio.  "I am inspired by the creativity and energy of this year's FFT Fellows.  I look forward to learning from them, and continuing to witness the wonderful difference they make for their students.”

Burns School's Jason Borger (right) receives his surprise.

FFT annually awards grants to Pre-K – 12 teachers to pursue self-designed summer fellowships for professional learning.  This year, more than 200 Connecticut teachers applied to FFT for grant funding.  Connecticut’s FFT Fellows were chosen by local selection committees comprised of teachers, administrators, union leaders, and community stakeholders.  Through the rigorous selection process, every proposal was read three times and carefully reviewed against FFT’s objective rubric.  In total, the local selection committees selected 118 Connecticut teachers to receive more than $475,000 in grant funding.  The 2016 FFT Fellows teach in 76 schools and 37 districts across the state, and will travel to 40 countries.  

Burns School's Kelly Lange (right) tells her students about her summer trip.

"We are so grateful to the Dalio Family Foundation for funding 6 Hartford teachers' projects to deepen their learning this summer both here and abroad," stated Dr. Beth Schiavino-Narvaez, Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools.

University High's Elizabeth Benfield happily surprised.

Since 2001, FFT has awarded more than $24 million in grants, empowering over 6,400 teachers to explore their passions, deepen their scholarship, and enhance their craft.  FFT Fellows have worked and studied in 141 countries on all 7 continents and in 36 US states. 

University High's Sharol Wilcoxen thanks the foundations, while Principal Matt Folan (center) looks on, and Dr. Narvaez (2nd from left) tweets the news out to the community.

A very happy Susan Pedrick hugs her backpack at University High School of Science and Engineering.

FFT Fellows become powerful change agents in their schools and communities.  They inspire and challenge their students to apply their learning to real-world issues, embrace perseverance, take ownership of their learning and build empathy for others.  For more information, visit: www.fundforteachers.org.  

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