Celebrating a Transformational Award From the Cummings Foundation

22 May 2015

Cummings Grant Award

Primary Source got some remarkable news this month. We've been selected as a recipient of the Cummings Foundation's $100K for 100 grant program. We are thrilled that the Cummings Foundation has chosen to invest in our vision to support student learning in the Woburn, Medford, and Somerville school districts through a globally-focused program of professional development for teachers. "Shifting demographics present a challenge to many cities and towns in Massachusetts," says Program Director Ann Marie Gleeson. "We see this program as an opportunity to support districts' efforts to draw upon the rich cultural and linguistic diversity of their communities to create meaningful and authentic learning experiences for all of their students."

Primary Source invests in teachers because research demonstrates that high quality, sustained professional development enhances both teacher and student learning. At the heart of this two-year initiative is teacher mentorship. By identifying and working closely with a core group of committed educators in each district, we will foster the development of global teacher-leader teams that can return to their schools to educate their peers. Through the grant, these teachers and others can choose from a wide array of global learning opportunities that best fit their professional learning goals—from an in-depth summer institute on culturally proficient schools to four-week online courses to one-hour webinars on a range of global social justice topics.

Response from the districts has been one of excitement and appreciation. "The boundaries that used to exist in our world have vanished," notes Superintendent of Woburn Public Schools Mark D. Donovan. "Our students need to be prepared to compete and perform on a world stage. We are confident that the experiences our teachers will have through this initiative will help us embed global awareness across our curriculum." Assistant Superintendent of Somerville Public Schools Vincent McKay is also looking forward to the opportunity this gives their teachers and staff. "I anticipate that this professional learning for our teachers will in turn enhance the academic experience of our highly diverse student body," he says. Medford agrees. "Global education and 21st century skills are priority areas for development in our district," notes Bernadette Ricciardelli, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Medford Public Schools. "We are excited to partner with Primary Source and deeply grateful to the Cummings Foundation for making it possible."

Primary Source is committed to leading the way in best practices for teacher professional development by connecting educators with diverse people, cultures and histories, and offering them tools to teach the world with empathy and critical awareness. "We believe that every student in every school deserves a global education," says Executive Director Julia de la Torre. "By helping teachers introduce global content, skills, and perspectives, we are helping shape the way students learn. This project will help promote curiosity among students and build global awareness in these schools and communities. We look forward to collaborating with Woburn, Medford, and Somerville to help them realize their respective global education goals."

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