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Fund for Teachers fellows explore "self-directed" professional development

New Haven teachers Kurt Zimmerman, Garrett Griffin Jr. and Rayna Walters take a selfie in front of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.
Garrett Griffin Jr.
New Haven teachers Kurt Zimmerman, Garrett Griffin Jr. and Rayna Walters visited the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture while on their Fund for Teachers co-fellowship.

New Haven social studies teacher Garrett Griffin Jr. noticed his students were treading lightly around the topics of slavery and ancestry, and he set out to learn more in order to spotlight "the complexities and rich accomplishments of the descendants of Africa."

By looking into this history, Griffin said, "I hope to empower my students about our complex past for the ultimate purpose of increasing their academic performance."

When Erin Caouette, a Southington High School English teacher, learned about the stark spike in violence against the AAPI community, she sought out opportunities to study the history of discrimination, and to diversify her source material.

This hour, we hear from Garrett and Erin about their experiences as fellows of Fund for Teachers (FFT), a grant program supporting educators pursuing professional learning opportunities outside of the classroom. They are two of nearly 900 Fund for Teachers fellows from Connecticut.

Plus, we hear from those fielding proposals at Fund for Teachers, who underscore the increasing importance of culturally-sustaining professional development.


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Katie is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show 'Where We Live.' She has previously worked for CNN and News 8-WTNH.
Catherine is the Host of Connecticut Public’s morning talk show and podcast, Where We Live. Catherine and the WWL team focus on going beyond the headlines to bring in meaningful conversations that put Connecticut in context.