Places They’ve Been and People They’ve Met: Fishman Edition
A little over four years ago, the Fishman Prize was hardly more than an idea—it didn’t even have a name. Today, it’s the highlight of 17 teachers’ careers and the only national teaching award recognizing inspirational efforts to foster success in our country’s neediest classrooms.
Although $25,000 is nothing to sniff at, a big part of why we award the Fishman Prize is to offer great teachers a transformative summer residency experience. After the photos and celebrations, we spend five weeks treating winners like the leading thinkers and VIPs they are by giving them the space to reflect—in essay form—on their practice, and flying them around the country to ensure their voices are heard by influential leaders in education. Along the way, they become each other’s friends and supporters long past the summer.
So where has the residency taken our previous winners, and who have they met along the way? Here are 10 favorite highlights from four years of Fishman Prize residencies.
Fishman Prize Winners Have…
- Briefed Secretary Arne Duncan and senior officials at the Department of Education; Senators Dick Durbin, Michael Bennet, and Lamar Alexander; and senior officials at the White House about their experiences in America’s highest-need classrooms.
- Compared instruction strategies over Skype with Doug Lemov, author of Teach Like a Champion and the Managing Director of Uncommon Schools.
- Traded ideas about some of the biggest issues in education with several leading journalists in Washington, New York, and Chicago, from publications such as The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.
- Teleconferenced with David Coleman, President of the College Board and “architect” of the Common Core State Standards, to learn about the creation of the standards, how he thought they would promote great teaching, and how he envisioned their implementation.
- Sat down in Boston with Thomas Kane, Economist and Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, to pick his brain about the Best Foot Forward project and best practices for classroom video observations.
- Visited Keith Norman, Pastor and President of the Memphis NAACP, to discuss the intersection of schools and community organizations.
- Enjoyed a happy hour with Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of DC Public Schools, while discussing how to turn around a school district.
- Flown to Palo Alto to meet with Laurene Powell Jobs and Russlynn Ali at the Emerson Collective, and lunch with Ann Bowers, co-founder of the Noyce Foundation.
- Chatted with John King, Acting Secretary of Education, via Google Hangout about his vantage point as then-New York State Commissioner of Education.
- Met with leaders at the National Education Association, the National Council for Teacher Quality, and The Education Trust in Washington to hear about their recent work with teachers and students.
Fishman Prize winners consistently cite the residency experience—not just engaging with influential education leaders but also engaging with each other—as the best part of their prizewinning experience. We think it’s critically important to give great teachers a platform to speak about the education issues they care about, to showcase excellent instruction in action, and to share their expertise. That’s what the Fishman Prize is about. As the prize moves into its fifth year (and the subsequent Fishman Prize alumni program grows), we’ll continue to look for new ways to push winners’ voices to the forefront, where they belong.
Remember, 2016 Fishman Prize Applications are now open. Apply today.
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