Teachers, principals and assistant principals from 62 public school districts and 10 private schools across Indiana will spend their summer in individually renewing projects all over the world. They will study lighthouses and glaciers, bronze sculpture, papermaking and woodcarving, needlework and quilting, religious communities and spiritual pilgrimages, Chinese culture, gardening, creative writing and the civil rights movement in this country.
Each of these individuals, winners of Teacher Creativity Fellowships from Lilly Endowment Inc., will receive $7,500 to pursue self-designed plans for personal and professional renewal. All the fellows have at least three years of teaching or administrative experience and have pledged to stay on in their schools in Indiana for at least one year.
"Lilly Endowment is convinced that engaged, inspired and energetic teachers and principals help produce involved students. We believe that these periods of personal renewal keep teachers and principals in touch with those passions that led them into education in the first place," said Sara B. Cobb, Endowment vice president for education.
More than 800 applications for the 120 slots in the $900,000 program were received. Recipients for 2003 include 39 from elementary schools, 23 from middle schools and 58 from high schools. Sixteen will work in collaborative teams on the same project.
"The Endowment highly values excellent teaching and the popularity of this program testifies to the eagerness of teachers and principals to improve their work and lead their schools in making a difference in the lives of young people. It is a pleasure to see the results of their fellowship experiences," Cobb said.
For the first time in the program's history, principals and assistant principals were invited to apply, as well as former fellowship recipients who received their awards before 1995. Eleven principals and assistant principals and 23 former recipients received fellowships this year.
The latest round of winners brings to 1,330 the number of fellowships awarded since 1987 to classroom teachers, guidance counselors, school librarians, resource teachers, principals and assistant principals. Successful proposals are selected by a team of independent, out-of-state judges.