Dian Portnoy welcomed guests from the National Writing Project and Marci’s family who were there to both honor Marci’s memory and attest to the legacy of her commitment to public education. Her role in supporting teachers and lobbying for social justice especially in our public schools rang out loud and clear throughout the evening.
Last year’s winners treated us to their amazing projects. Sam Reed from the Beeber Middle School got everyone enthused with Live Scribe pens and how he uses technology to engage writers, especially middle school boys. Rebecca Horner from Solis-Cohen Elementary shared her “Books for Breakfast,” a multilingual family literacy program to support cultural connections and literacy learning with parents, students, and staff.
Marci’s husband Steve and sons David and Daniel presented the grants to the 2013 awardees whose projects focused on using literacy skills for cultural awareness, debating teams, and writing clubs.
· Haley Harrison from Samuel B. Huey Elementary School is using her grant to continue developing debating teams at Huey school. Several team members from Huey were in attendance and they proudly showcased theirs kills and their medals. Harrison’s award was in partnership with PhilaSoup, a social gathering of educators that funds projects for classrooms at their monthly micro-grant dinners.
· Delilah P. Baines Washington from Francis Scott Key Elementary School is educating staff and students about the different cultures in their school community. She will be doing training for parents to help them keep children involved in summer literacy activities. In the fall, they will be doing self-portraits with written commentary to boost confidence and help others learn about who they are.
· The students in Lisa Hantman’s third grade class at the McCall Elementary School will continue their service learning projects. Each year they take on a local or global issue, do the research and take action. What a positive learning experience for our future leaders!
· Connie Henkel from Samuel Gompers Elementary School will be using her grant to start a Writers’ Hangout to give her first grade students opportunities to explore many types of writing both in traditional and digital environments. Students will have opportunities to stretch their writing ability with new genres and new forms of composing and sharing.
The presence and commentary from Marci’s husband and sons transformed our gathering of educators to a vision of 21 Century teaching and learning. They appreciated how the grants are giving students early exposure to critical thinking and preparing them for the future by developing confidence, leadership and public voice – ingredients for responsible citizenship.
In this era of doomsday budgets, the grants provide a haven of hope and possibility. The Philadelphia Writing Project supports the professional develop of teachers and continues to seek grants to fund this important mission.
I enjoyed the wonderful evening with PhilWP family and friends. As a past recipient, I intend to honor Marcie’s spirit by contributing to the fund. Donations can be sent to the Marci Resnick Teacher Fund, c/o Philadelphia Writing Project, 4201 Spruce Street, Building 1921, Philadelphia, PA 19104. For more information, call 215-898-1919.