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Ottenstroer Fellows Present Grant Work
group of adults in business clothes smile in courtyard

Bolles faculty members who were awarded Duane Ottenstroer Excellence in Teaching Fellowships in 2023 presented their work to members of the Ottenstroer family and Bolles administration during a celebratory luncheon held April 8 in the Class of ’46 Alumni Conference Room.

Their presentations demonstrated how meaningful and wide-ranging these experiences are to Bolles faculty, who travel across the globe every year to hone their skills and enrich their classroom experience.

The Ottenstroer Fellowships identify and reward excellence in teaching at Bolles by providing opportunities for professional growth among faculty. Funded by a grant from Duane and Sue Ottenstroer, the fellowships are awarded annually to members of the Bolles faculty who have had a significant impact on the learning process and have a plan for future improvement. Interested candidates prepare an application describing a project to be funded by the fellowship, usually for summer study or research. Ottenstroer Fellowships are available to teachers at every grade level, and the recipients are chosen each spring by an administrative selection committee.

Teachers from all four Bolles campuses reported on their grant work, which reflected a broad range of focuses:

Chris Gebauer
Upper School San Jose Campus Social Studies Teacher
Traveling to Japan to Enhance World History & World Religions Courses
*approved for 2022 but couldn’t go due to travel restrictions until 2023

Proposal Synopsis from Fellow: “The courses of World History, Contemporary World History and World Religions offer a diverse spectrum of subject matter and share a few major mutual main curricular goals: to allow students to expand their understanding of the world we live in through analyzing the past, to develop an appreciation for the diverse cultures and histories of the world, and ideally establish an awareness of the shared bonds and universality found amongst humanity. The Ottenstroer Fellowship would provide the optimal opportunity to advance my own expertise in all of these areas through funding the visiting, production and sharing of digital resources to assist in presenting life in Japan to Bolles students.”

Mark Meyers
Middle School Bartram Campus Robotics & Computer Science Teacher
Japan and Korea: Where Traditional and Modern Cultures Collide

Proposal Synopsis from Fellow: “Japanese and Korean culture and technology are everywhere in our society and have strong influences on our students. Many of our students play video games, use electronics, read manga, watch anime, build robots, listen to music and eat foods from these countries. I want to experience these influences firsthand to understand their origins and where the trends are going.”

Dan & Lara Tamblyn
Middle School Bartram Campus Math Teachers
Where Do You Find Math? Finding Math in the Natural World

Proposal Synopsis from Fellows: “When we look at our natural world around us, we see math. We see symmetry in the reflection of the sunrise on our morning walks along the beach; we find fractal patterns in the ferns growing in our backyard; we liken the compass to the four quadrants of the coordinate plane when we are camping; we notice the slope of rooftops and mountain tops; we wonder what angle might trees grow in relation to the ground. Admittedly, we know we see things differently than most. We enjoy math and look for patterns. By sharing this practice of finding math in our daily lives, we hope to inspire our middle school students to look at their surroundings differently. We will visit six of America’s National Parks (specifically Utah’s Mighty Five – Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion — and the Grand Canyon), with a mission of collecting images that inspire us to think mathematically. When we return to the classroom for the 2023-24 school year, we will use these images to launch rich math conversations with our students as introductions to lessons.”

Kimberly Thomas
Lower School Ponte Vedra Beach Campus Art Teacher
The Contribution of Indigenous North Americans on Modern Art

Proposal Synopsis from Fellow: “The representation of Indigenous arts and culture in American Elementary arts programming can be filled with appropriation and dated information. Often, in my classrooms, students think of indigenous people as, “living a long time ago.” Bringing awareness to vibrant and active indigenous communities will help to ground and diversify our students’ understanding of the world around them. I would like to collect stories from indigenous and Latin American artists, by traveling to Arizona, Southern California and the Pacific Northwest. I will explore and interview weavers in Gee’s Bend Mississippi enroute, Navaho weavers in Arizona, Latin American muralists in southern California and totem creators in the Pacific Northwest.”

Beth Zerkowski
Lower School Whitehurst Campus Music & Technology Teacher
Expanding the Impact of Robotic and Programming at the Lower School Level

Proposal Synopsis from Fellow: “The idea of using robotics across all levels of education is gaining in popularity. As an educational institution that prides itself with preparing students for college and life, it is particularly beneficial to Bolles that robotics prepares students for future career development. It is a tangible introduction to more abstract programming concepts and makes careers within the technology industry intriguing and accessible. I plan to participate in professional development to learn more about robotics and programming and to visit London to learn firsthand about First Lego League. A deeper understanding of the power of robotics will allow me to teach the whole child in both the classroom and at the competition team levels.”