Middle School history teachers Bobby Thompson and Sarah Handy have been named this year’s Pamela C. Wilson Endowed Teacher Enrichment Award recipients. They will use the professional development honor to share knowledge of both ancient and recent history with their students - visiting the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City this summer.
Thompson began teaching middle school history at PD in 2002, only a year after the events of September 11. On the first anniversary, he spent the day talking with his students about the event. “We did that over the next couple years just to make sure we were honoring the day,” Thompson says. “As the years have gone on, the students I teach now weren’t born when 9/11 happened and they really don’t know much about it. A couple of years ago, Sarah Handy and I decided to take a break from world history and take a week to focus on 9/11.” This mid-semester break from ancient history has become a tradition and now, sixth-grade students spend a week getting to ask questions, learn about the timeline of events, and hear about the heroes of 9/11.
Despite the ongoing tradition, neither Thompson nor Handy have had the opportunity to visit the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which prompted their application for the faculty professional development award - one of four such awards available to PD faculty and staff this spring. Over the summer, both teachers will travel to New York City.
In addition to the memorial site, the two will visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Middle Ages collections, all major units of study for the sixth-grade history curriculum. “The Met has a particularly great ancient history collection,” says Handy. “What I like about the Met collections is...it’s a lot of artifacts that can bring these ancient worlds to life.” Visiting both these museums will help Thompson and Handy develop fresh materials and perspectives for their upcoming sixth-grade classes at PD.
The Pamela C. Wilson Endowed Teacher Enrichment Award was established in 2003 in memory of Middle School mathematics teacher Pam Wilson to provide professional development opportunities to teachers who share Wilson’s enthusiasm and commitment to students and the teaching profession. It is one of six endowed funds that support the professional development of faculty at PDS.
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