This summer, five Springmyer Elementary School teachers will take on new roles and a new city as they become students in New York City for a week. The teachers collaborated on and won a $10,000 grant from Fund for Teachers that will allow them to deepen their knowledge of how to develop students as writers and thinkers.

Sarah Bertke, Lindsay Black, Liz Dooley, Kate Heitkamp and Jen Murphy will participate in a week-long Writing Institute at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Representing grades one through four at Springmyer, they will join teachers from around the world who gather to study instructional methods, plan curricula, and collaborate as they work to encourage students to lead rich and literate lives.

“Teaching our students how to think and communicate their thoughts through written expression is a critical life skill,” Bertke, a second grade teacher at Springmyer said. “Our team of teachers has a passion to foster the development of writers who are risk takers, reflective, and have the background they need to continue growing as writers throughout their lives.”

Third grade teacher Lindsay Black noted the team’s hope that their learning will impact not only their own classrooms but those of teachers throughout the building and the district. “We can’t wait to share what we learn with our grade level teams and teachers throughout the district,” she shared. “We have heard that attending Writing Institutes at Teachers College can be a transformative experience and we look forward to sharing our experience with our colleagues and our students.”

“This team of teachers’ commitment to professional learning is a reflection of the strong sense of purpose that they bring to growing and developing each of their students,” principal Amy Brennan noted. “Their learning will benefit our entire school community.”
The teachers will be attending Teachers College Writing Institutes in June and August this summer.

Pictured above: Photo caption: Liz Dooley, Sarah Bertke, Jen Murphy, Kate Heitkamp and Lindsay Brown.