Clinton Central School Teachers Awarded Kirkland Fellowship Grants


The Kirkland Fellowship, established through the Hayes-Couper Fund at The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, provides learning opportunities for teachers in the Clinton Central School District. The goal of the fellowship program is to help those teachers improve the effectiveness of their teaching to all students and to contribute to the advancement of teaching in our public schools.

Two teachers were selected for the fellowship program this year, collectively receiving more than $3,000 to broaden their teaching skills and perspectives.

Laura Pominville, a fifth-grade teacher, and Meredith Callaghan, a high school chemistry teacher, attended a two-day summer technical writing program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, where they learned how to help their students to effectively and confidently present technical information.

Through this workshop, the teachers will practice writing techniques and learn about different classroom activities that can be used to build their students technical communication skills.

The Common Core Literacy Standards (CCLS) stress the importance of “promoting the literacy skills and concepts required for college and career readiness in multiple disciplines.” The selection committee felt that it was important to begin incorporating technical writing skills early in a child’s education, such as with Ms. Pominville’s fifth-grade students, as it will better prepare them for higher education.

For Ms. Callaghan, this workshop will advance her understanding of the CCLS as well as the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and what approaches can be used to meet these standards by incorporating technical writing into chemistry.

“The fellowship program is an opportunity for teachers to increase their knowledge of certain subject matters and then share that knowledge with their students,” said Jan Squadrito, senior community investment manager at The Community Foundation.

The Kirkland Fellowship was established by Gordon and Elizabeth Hayes and Richard, Patricia and Esther Couper who were natives of Clinton. The Hayes and Couper families desired to support the local community and Clinton Central School District by providing teachers with learning opportunities that help to improve student success.

To qualify for the fellowship program, teachers must have at least five years of teaching experience. Through the program, teachers can attend a school, institution or training program to increase their knowledge. They may also work on original research or independent studies that will be used for classroom purposes. Fellows are selected by a five-member committee comprised of representatives of the school district, teachers’ union, Hamilton College and the Hayes or Couper families.