The awards were made possible by the generous support of the following: The Brooke Jackman Foundation; The Christopher Slattery 9/11 Memorial Foundation; The Greg Richards, Larry Polatsch, Scott Weingard Memorial Fund (GLS Memorial Fund); The Family of Firefighter Michael D. Mullan; The Terry Farrell Firefighters' Scholarship Fund; The Welles Remy Crowther Charitable Trust
2012 - 2013 Awardees
The 9/11 Tribute Center celebrated its sixth annual September 11th Teacher Awards on Tuesday, February 26, 2013, the 20th anniversary of the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.
The awards and welcoming comments were presented by Regent Kathleen Cashin of the New York State Education Department
From Left to Right (back row): Jeff Crowther, Kathleen Cashin, Jennifer Adams (mostly hidden), Raymond Pultinas, Desiree LaFontaine, Shari Bowes, Robert Sandler, Lisa McGinn and Lee Ielpi (front row): Wendy Cox, Lesley Ayers, Rachel Rowley, Trish Rooney
Teacher: Lisa McGinn, Reading Specialist, Grade 8
School: Bay Trail Middle School, Penfield, New York
Themes: reading, writing, visualization, film, primary sources
Ms. McGinn is a reading specialist. She involved her eighth grade students in examining the events of 9/11 and its impact. They read articles and books and discussed documentary films. Using the reading strategy of Visualization, students organized the information they gathered, synthesized new ideas learned, and developed new questions they wanted answered. The students completed several writing activities to assess not only their language skills, but also their knowledge of 9/11.
Teachers: Lesley Ayers & Wendy Cox, Reading, Language Arts,
Social Studies, Grade 6
School: Owens Intermediate School, Houston, Texas
Themes: multimedia performance, oral history, video chat, philanthropy
As teachers of the Gifted & Talented Program, Ms. Ayers and Mrs. Cox facilitated the development of a student generated project, entitled "9/11: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow." The focus of the project centered on the September 11th events and was presented to an audience of staff, peers and family. An original script and song about "PEACE" was created in a talk show format with related theme music for each segment. The students participated in various roles consisting of: actors, set designers, AV engineers, and fundraising for different charities. Ms. Ayers and Mrs. Cox recognized first responders and the students interviewed a local firefighter. They also contacted the 9/11 Tribute Center and planned a digital field trip with a survivor. In preparation for this live video interview, students generated fascinating and deeply thoughtful questions. The goal of the project was to promote remembrance of what occurred and also to encourage religious and cultural awareness and sensitivity, and promote ideas on how this should never happen again.
Teacher: Rachel Rowley, Social Studies, Grade 6-12
School: Jonathan Law High School, Milford, Connecticut
Themes: comprehensive curriculum, oral history, geography, terrorism, extremism, response, philanthropy, civics
Fueled by inspiration after reading a letter written by Lee Ielpi on the 10th Anniversary of September 11, 2001 and attending one of the 9/11 Tribute Center's teacher workshops, Mrs. Rowley invited other faculty members from her district to develop an integrated curriculum for students in grades 6 – 12. After extensive district-wide collaboration the team developed a comprehensive program; the mission of which is, "to highlight the historical significance of 9/11, dissolve stereotypes and ignorance through enlightened education that encourages students to be pillars of the future in order to make a positive impact in a post 9/11 world." The curriculum begins at the middle school, and in 6th grade students explore the use of oral histories as it pertains to 9/11, while in 7th grade students learn about the victims of 9/11 through geography based activities. In 8th grade students examine the actual events of the day, and guest speakers are incorporated into the conclusion of the middle school program. At the high school level in 9th and 10th grade students study terrorism and extremism; and 11th graders explore the response to 9/11 both globally, nationally and civically. With each year building upon the last, 12th graders culminate their learning of 9/11 by creating an independent study action project. Rachel and the Milford school district are to be commended for taking the lead in creating a unified approach to teaching 9/11.
Teacher: Robert Sandler, New York City History, Grade 12
School: Stuyvesant High School, Manhattan, New York
Themes: New York City history, literature, film, oral history, discussions, class trips, architectural culture, memorialization, remembrance
Robert Sandler's twelfth grade New York City History class incorporated the study of the World Trade Center and the events of 9/11 into the broader context of New York's history. Over six lessons, students utilized literature, film, oral histories, and class discussions to explore the significance of the twin towers in the architectural culture of NY, the facts and impact of 9/11, and our changing appreciation for first responders. Students also compared this historic disaster to other NYC disasters, examined how history is recorded, memorialized, and remembered, and considered how these historic events with be understood by future generations of New Yorkers.
Teacher: Desiree LaFontaine, Grade 5
School: P.S. 49, Bronx, New York
Themes: hero, class trips, first responders, essays
Through classroom discussions on the meaning of the word "hero" and reading various 9/11 resources, Ms. LaFontaine prompted fifth grade students to write essays that defined what a hero really is. The students visited the 9/11 Memorial in Staten Island where they met a firefighter's widow and also took a trip to Battery Park where they visited the Koenig Sphere. Having explored news media and print articles in the classroom, students were asked to identify the extraordinary service first responders performed and inspire appreciation for their service. The essays were then shared with the entire school community as they were displayed in the hall for their fellow students to read and learn from.
Teacher: Raymond Pultinas, Language Arts, Grade 12
School: DeWitt Clinton High School, Bronx, New York
Themes: memorialization, public memory, research, primary sources
Raymond Pultinas' twelfth grade class participated in The Memorial Project which seeks to broaden students' understanding of public memory by having them create their own memorial to a researched event. Students examined why certain events or individuals are worthy of remembrance, and how to pay tribute to them. Many world events were examined including a focus on September 11th. The class explored first person primary sources related to 9/11 as well as fictionalized accounts and journeyed to the World Trade Center site. Students performed the role of historian, advocate, designer and cultural defender.
Teachers: Jessica Kuehn & Shari Bowes, Grade 4-5
School: Waverly Park School, East Rockaway, New York
Themes: hero, memory, Sandy, philanthropy, recovery
Jessica Kuehn’s fourth grade class and Shari Bowes' fifth grade class both consist of a curriculum that studies the heroism that occurred on September 11th every year. A September 11th mural and memory garden that students see every day outside their school building reminds this school community to remember. This past year the school’s theme, “Be the Change,” became very important as this school had to personally cope with the devastation brought on by Hurricane Sandy. In an attempt to aid in the recovery after Sandy, the class participated in several fundraisers and projects, including the Operation Sandy Claus project to help the hurricane victims. Students drew parallels between how neighbors helped each other recover from September 11th and Hurricane Sandy.
Teacher: Craig Fabec, Social Studies, Grade 6-8
School: Cesar Chavez Academy, Pueblo, Colorado
Themes: literature, photography, documentary, primary sources, letters
The Chavez Huerta Preparatory Academy has a student body of 1200 students, K -12. The Center for American Values worked with school staff to develop age-appropriate lesson plans for all grade levels, focused on building character development and civic responsibility through the study of September 11. During this pilot year, grades 6 – 8 received instruction over a period of 9 weeks. Craig Fabec, Middle School Team Lead Teacher, involved 6th grade, 7th grade and 8th grade students in reading literature, historical analysis, examined photography books, documentaries, and online resources. They also examined the humanitarian response and philanthropy that followed 9/11. Mr. Fabec’s middle school students completed their unit with class projects: Thank you letters to firefighters in Staten Island following Hurricane Sandy, Letters to deployed soldiers during the holidays, and Thank you letters to a local wounded warrior that returned from Afghanistan.
Teacher: Jean Berens, Art and Social Studies, Grade 6
School: Prince of Peace School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Themes: art, recovery, peace, cultural misunderstanding, domestic terrorism
In 2012, Prince of Peace's theme for the year was "The Power to Stand Up." As part of a collaboration between Ms. Berens and the Social Studies teacher, 6th grade students learned about the events leading up to September 11th, the events of the day, and the results that followed. In their art class, students discussed their emotions regarding 9/11 and violence against Sikhs that has been happening near their homes as a result of cultural misunderstanding. The decided to "Stand Up" and reach out to the Sikh community by creating 2 sculptures, one for their school and one as a gift to the nearby Sikh temple.