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Landmark Moments Fellowship: A Career-Changing Opportunity

 

This year, Jackson City Schools social studies teachers Ryan Morgan, Doug Wooten, Waylon Massie, JJ Milliken, Adam Jones, and Andy Hall will experience professional development unlike anything that they could experience during a regular PD day.  They will spend a week in Alaska, learning about the history and politics surrounding our 49th state. How is such an extravagant trip possible for these teachers, you might ask? The program, known as Landmark Moments, is made possible by the Gallia-Vinton ESC and Dr. Denise Shockley.

The Gallia-Vinton Educational Service Center (ESC) is based in Rio Grande, Ohio, and is led by a governing board and Superintendent Denise Shockley. Dr. Shockley had a vision nearly a decade ago that teachers in Southeastern Ohio needed more real-world, authentic, hands-on social studies professional development, and she was determined to do something about it. Among the fellowships that she founded and found funding for was the Landmark Moments Fellowship. Landmark Moments has served social studies, language arts, and special education teachers from at least 12 school districts and has literally changed the lives of the participating teachers.

In the past 7 years, the fellowship has taken more than 50 teachers to New York City, Southern California (San Diego and Los Angeles), Kansas City, Texas (San Antonio, Austin, Dallas), New Orleans, Honolulu, New Mexico, and Montana. Participants have visited some of the greatest Presidential libraries and museums in the United States. They have researched with academic leaders, they have heard lectures and participated in discussions with world-renowned professors, and they have learned how to take that information back to their classrooms for their students.

The teachers involved in the fellowship can explain what a tenement apartment felt like, because they’ve been in the Tenement Museum in NYC. They have had a private tour of both the WWI Museum (KC) and WWII Museum (NO). When the teachers from Landmark Moments describe what it looked like when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, it’s vividly done because they stood at the spot at the harbor where Japanese planes came into view. When discussing conservation efforts, teachers can relate what they saw at Glacier or Yellowstone National Parks. They have toured the oldest mission in the United States, they have been to the Alamo, Ellis Island, and the Hollywood sign. The teachers have also had some amazing experiences. They have floated down the Rio Grande river, taken a hot air balloon ride in Albuquerque, and paraglided in Jackson Hole. They have ridden a catamaran in Hawaii, a tram in California, and a sternwheeler up the Mississippi River. Along with the four mandatory days of professional development at the University of Rio Grande, these experiences are helping teachers reach new heights for their students and themselves.