Category Archives: CTI News

CTI News News

CMS Teachers Travel South to Learn about America’s Most Important Untold Stories

“We have to come to grips with our own history-not only genocide, slavery, exploitation, and systems of oppression, but also the legacies of those who resisted and fought back and still fight back.”  — Timothy B. Tyson, author of The Blood of Emmett Till

Charlotte Teachers Institute, in partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ (CMS) Office of Diversity and Inclusion, hosted 28 CMS teachers on the trip of a lifetime from June 13 through June 16, 2019.  Led by Larry Bosc, retired CMS history teacher, this trip gave these teachers a chance to experience essential American history.  Called the Civil Rights (Racial Equity) trip, the teachers visited historic southern cities at the center of the American Civil Rights movement:  Montgomery, AL; Selma, AL; Jackson, MS; and Birmingham, AL.  They toured museums where they learned more about the full narrative of the movement, and visited historical sites where some of America’s most significant historical events occurred.  This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these teachers.  Below is a summary of the trip by Larry Bosc:

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”  James Baldwin

The trip began with a visit to Montgomery and the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice.  In both places the history of slavery, racial terrorism and mass incarceration are movingly illustrated and, as Baldwin said, force us to face America’s past.  It was helpful when we visited other civil rights sites in Montgomery that joining us on this trip was civil rights activist George Shinhoster.  He shared some of those experiences with our group on the bus down and while in Montgomery.

Leaving Montgomery the next day we traveled to Selma where teachers went to the starting point of the Voting Rights March (Brown Chapel AME Church) and walked across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, the site of Bloody Sunday. 

Our next stop was Jackson, Mississippi, where we visited the home of Medger Evers-civil rights activist whose murder in 1963 provided more impetus for the eventual passage of the Civil Rights Act the next year.  As Tyson said, our guide Minnie Watson, told us of the “legacy” of this remarkable person.who “resisted and fought back” against oppression.  After that we went to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.  The teachers I talked to were as impressed as I was on my first visit there last November and equally moved by the special slavery exhibit “The Spirits of the Passage.”

Our visit to the Mississippi Delta and sites connected to the murder of Emmett Till the next day was truly memorable.  As Tim Tyson says in his The Blood of Emmett Till, this event was central to the generation of civil rights activists who were coming of age in the mid to late 1950’s.  The “children of Emmett Till” were Rosa Parks, John Lewis, Muhammed Ali, Richard Hatcher and more, and our trip to the rural communities of Glendora and Sumner brought home to all the teachers the importance of this event.  They were even allowed to sit in the judges chair and jury seats in the courthouse where the trial of Till’s murderers took place. 

Our final day was busy with a visit to the childhood home of Angela Davis on “dynamite hill”, a trip to Birmingham civil rights hero Fred Shuttlesworth’s Bethel Ave. church (bombed multiple times in the late 1950’s and early 60’s), a guided tour of Kelly Ingram Park, and a moving church service at the 16th Street Baptist church.  After a tour of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute we headed back to Charlotte-tired but immeasurably more informed than when we began.

As I said after the last CTI and CMS sponsored trip to Alabama, I was so energized by this trip that I almost wish I was back in the classroom so that I could bring the excitement and information I learned back to my students.  I know that will be evident when the teachers gather at our debriefing session on August 3.  That is why I continue to organize these trips because I know being there means so much more to the study and teaching of this seminal period in American history. 

CTI News News

CTI Fellows Present New Curricula at National Council on Black Studies Conference in New Orleans

CTI Fellows presented new curricula they developed at the National Council on Black Studies (NCSB) Conference in New Orleans, March 6-9, 2019. The five Fellows, joined by CTI Executive Director Scott Gartlan and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Director of Diversity and Inclusion Chiquitha Lloyd, included:

  • Larry Bosc, American History Teacher (retired), East Mecklenburg High School
  • Eli Davis, Special Education, Lincoln Heights Academy
  • Latonda Mitchell, 5th Grade, Mountain Island Lake Academy
  • Eboné Lockett, English, Cato Middle College High School
  • Roshan R. Varghese, American History, Butler High School

Their roundtable panel’s abstract below provides an overview of their group presentation. Each member of the panel also provided individual presentations at the conference.

Traveling to Montgomery from Charlotte: Educators Explore A Legacy of Lynching in K-12 Classrooms

In August 2017, a diverse group of 26 Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) teachers attended a presentation and workshop led by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). Then Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) offered two seminars for CMS teachers aligned with EJI’s work called “Media and Minorities: Unpacking Stereotypes”, and “Memorials, Memories, and American Identity.” In a culminated trip to Montgomery, AL, the teachers participated in the opening of EJI’s Legacy Museum and the Memorial for Peace and Justice in April 2018. Teachers presented their reflections and new curricula to the Director of Diversity and Inclusion in CMS. This included curriculum innovations in each of their classrooms as well as a workshop for Charlotte-Mecklenburg teachers on implicit bias, which occurred in August 2018. Additionally, planning is underway to include two new curriculum units in all American History II classes in 2020 that focus on both national and local events around 2 key subjects: Jim Crow and the Fight for First Class Citizenship (1876-1953) and The Modern Civil Rights Movement and Beyond: The Fight for Social and Economic Justice (1954-the Present). The panel will discuss these curricular ideas, the implicit bias training for teachers, existing CTI curricula on racial terror lynchings, and efforts in Charlotte-Mecklenburg to collaborate with EJI to bring historical markers and a memorial to commemorate the two documented acts of racial terrorism in Charlotte.

CTI News News

2019 CTI Seminar Applications Open Now – Apply Today!

Applications for the eight new 2019 CTI Seminars are open now until Sunday, March 17, at midnight. All Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers who instruct students full-time are eligible. Here’s where to find info on how to apply.

CTI News News

Teachers Celebrate Curricular Accomplishments at 2018 Fellows’ Finale at Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

86 Charlotte-Mecklenburg teachers celebrated the completion of the eight 2018 CTI seminars and creation of original curricula for their students on Thursday, December 6, 2018 at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Take a look at the presentation from that evening to see pictures of teachers in seminars, learn more about 2019 seminars, and more! See presentation.

CTI News Current Events Events

Sept. 6 CTI Reception Features Teacher Researchers

2018 CTI Summer Research Experience for Teachers Reception & Poster Session

  • Thursday, Sept. 6, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

  • New Science Building, Johnson C. Smith University

CTI will showcase CMS teachers’ work on university research projects at a special event on Thursday, Sept. 6, 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Johnson C. Smith University’s New Science Building. This 2018 Summer Research Experience for Teachers Reception & Poster Session is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to learn about Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers’ summer research in the sciences and humanities with professors at JCSU, UNC Charlotte and Queens University of Charlotte.

Seventeen CMS teachers worked in eight different laboratories and research settings led by university professors. During the Sept. 6 reception, the SRET teachers, professors and graduate assistants will share poster presentations and discuss their unique collaborations and how this research experience translates to their classrooms and their students. Refreshments will be served.

University research faculty leading these collaborative summer research projects included:

  • UNC Charlotte — Dr. Susan Trammell, physics and optical science; David Wilson, computer science; and Janaka Lewis and Alan Rauch, English.
  • JCSU — Dr. Todd Coolbaugh and Dr. Tracy Fox-Brown, chemistry.
  • Queens University — Dr. Aaron Socha, chemistry; and Dr. Scott Weir, biology.

Details about all eight research experiences — spanning areas from cancer detection prototypes, biofuels, toxicology and nanomaterials to digital design, Black girlhood in literature, and Victorians and the natural world – are featured at 2018 SRET.

CTI News

CMS Teachers Journey to Face Legacy of Racial Injustice

“Nothing can be changed until it is faced.” — James Baldwin

Twenty-six CMS teachers traveled far, together, to face America’s legacy of racial injustice revealed through the Equal Justice Initiative’s new Legacy Museum and national memorial to victims of lynching, in Montgomery, AL. Their transformative expedition April 26-28 to the opening ceremonies of The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, was supported by Charlotte Teachers Institute, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice at Queens University of Charlotte.

The teachers joined in discussions about the book White Rage by Carol Anderson; visited the EJI memorial and museum and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Civil Rights Memorial; participated in a two-day Peace and Justice Summit; attended the Concert for Peace and Justice (featuring Common and Stevie Wonder); and also visited a lynching memorial in Georgia during their bus ride back to Charlotte.

The teachers’ trip, conceived and organized by former CTI Fellow and East Mecklenburg High History Teacher Larry Bosc, was an outgrowth of an equal justice workshop last summer with EJI, hosted by CTI and the Greenspon Center. Teachers at that workshop heard about plans for the new memorial and museum and were motivated to participate in the opening ceremonies, as well as develop new lessons for their students, based on EJI research and curricula.

EJI’s memorial features over 800 monumental structures, with each one representing a U.S. county where a racial terror lynching occurred, with victims’ names engraved on the columns. The memorial also includes a park hosting a field of identical monuments, with the intention that each one be claimed by their home county to be installed publicly. EJI notes: “Over time, the national memorial will serve as a report on which parts of the country have confronted the truth of this terror and which have not.”

Upon returning to Charlotte, the CMS teacher group committed to begin work to bring to Charlotte the memorial recognizing the two Mecklenburg County lynching victims: Willie McDaniel and Joseph McNeely.

CMS Teachers’ Reflections on their historic journey

CTI News

Ted Miracle’s CU: 3rd grade, identity, and STEM

On March 2, 2018, CTI brought 70 books to Ted Miracle’s classroom at Devonshire Elementary School. Dr. Miracle, one of CTI’s crowdfunding grant recipients, received $500 of books to help implement his CTI-inspired, original curriculum unit, “Living Memorials to Spectacular Scientists, Engineers, and Mathematicians.” Dr. Miracle developed his unit as a 2017 CTI Fellow in the Memorials, Memories, and American Identity seminar.  These 3rd grade students were overjoyed to see these new books donated to their classrooms.  They also had a special visit from CTI Seminar Leader Emily Makas, architectural historian at UNC Charlotte, Scott Gartlan, CTI executive director, and Robin Mara, CTI associate director.  

     

 

 

 

 

Through his CTI-inspired curriculum unit, Dr. Miracle seeks to inspire the next generation of scientists by introducing his students to underrepresented (e.g., African-American, Hispanic, female) scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. To do so, his students will read biographies of great leaders in STEM fields. Then, after choosing one especially inspirational to them, the students will research and build a memorial poster that they present to their class.  The goal is to get students excited to excel in school and follow in the footsteps of scientists from long ago.  

     

This project for 3rd grade students meets a critical need in education today and in the lives of the students in Dr. Miracle’s class. These books feature main characters that represent the diversity of the students in the classroom.  Pursuing a career “in a STEM-related field can be a gateway to economic success”, observed Dr. Miracle. “In short, I think my curriculum unit has the potential to change someone’s life by giving them a vision they may not have otherwise had for themselves.”

     

 

 

 

 

 

CTI News

CTI Awards Crowdfunding-Based Grants to CMS Teachers

Thanks to the generosity of 55 community donors, CTI’s first Crowdfunding Project exceeded expectations by raising $3,622 in Fall 2017. CTI is using these funds to award project mini-grants to CTI Fellows (CMS teachers) to support implementation of new curricula they developed in CTI seminars for their students. View the full list of donors here, along with the many education supporters honored or memorialized through these donations.

CTI Fellows can apply for curriculum unit implementation mini-grants ($100-$500) by completing a brief curriculum unit funding application.

The first three mini-grant recipients are:

For more information contact CTI Director Scott Gartlan at scott.gartlan@uncc.edu.

CTI News News

New JCSU Partnership Deepens, Diversifies CTI Work with CMS Teachers

In a move designed to deepen and diversify its engagement in professional development for teachers, Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) has formed a new educational partnership with Johnson C. Smith University to support classroom teachers in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

“Our collaboration with Johnson C. Smith University will add exciting new ideas and expertise to our existing partnership with CMS and with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte,” said CTI Executive Director Scott Gartlan. “We will be able to welcome CMS teachers and UNC Charlotte professors to JCSU’s historic West End campus, building on our strong foundation of transforming teachers and students from pre-kindergarten through college by focusing on content knowledge, creativity, collaboration and leadership.”

Through CTI seminars led by UNC Charlotte and JCSU faculty, CMS teachers learn new content, work collaboratively with other teachers and develop new curricula for their students. Teachers serve as leaders in the institute, working collaboratively with university faculty. To date, more than 450 CMS teachers have participated in 68 CTI seminars, producing more than 700 original curriculum units and enriching more than 103,000 students.

“We join this partnership with enthusiasm and with an eagerness to learn and to share our strengths,” said JCSU President Clarence D. Armbrister. “As a historic urban university located in the heart of Charlotte, we are uniquely situated to work with the other partners to better the lives of CMS teachers and students and to contribute to the transformation of public education.”

CTI and its partners provide activities on active learning and leadership opportunities for teachers. Through intensive, seven-month seminars, led by faculty from UNC Charlotte and JCSU, CMS teachers learn new content, work collaboratively with other district teachers and develop curriculum units for their own classrooms. The Charlotte Teachers Institute is housed in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at UNC Charlotte. This fall, JCSU will lead seminars for the first time; CMS teachers are currently applying for spots in the seminars.

“Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools looks forward to continuing the collaborative spirit of our partnership with Charlotte Teachers Institute and UNC Charlotte in the framework of preparing and strengthening the opportunities for teachers,” said CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox. “The reach stretches even farther with the addition of Johnson C. Smith University, providing another level of access to quality preparation for our educators.”

CTI is founded on four pillars of strong professional development: content knowledge, creativity, leadership and collaboration. The new partnership will broaden the partnership’s capacity within each of the areas of emphasis.

“We are very pleased to welcome Johnson C. Smith University to this dynamic partnership with UNC Charlotte and CMS to support the Charlotte Teachers Institute,” said UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. “CTI has served an important role in strengthening Charlotte’s public education system by providing teachers with high quality professional development opportunities.”

CTI’s focus on building social capital among teachers, faculty and graduate students addresses the community-based Leading on Opportunity initiative’s priorities to tackle the community’s upward mobility, stated Gartlan.

“Our work aims at strengthening Charlotte’s education system through early education and college and career readiness,” Gartlan said. “Adding JSCU as a collaborator brings important relationships and knowledge that can help move us forward in a strategic way.”

Photo: Margaret Kocherga, Ph.D. nanoscale science graduate student, UNC Charlotte; Phil Carver, eighth grade science teacher, James Martin Middle School; Tom Schmedake, associate professor of chemistry, UNC Charlotte; Geneva Bell, eighth grade science teacher, James Martin Middle School; participated in a CTI summer research experience.

CTI News

Fellows’ Finale 2017

by Grayson Hollowell

On December 7, 2017, each of this year’s 93 Fellows were celebrated for their accomplishments in the 2017 seminars and Curriculum Units. The celebration took place at the Fellows Finale 2017, held at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. The Fellows and their friends ate, laughed, and reminisced together at the reception before the Finale itself.

During the ceremony, each seminar group took the stage to recognize their Seminar Leaders and to share how the past year with CTI impacted them. Consistent conclusions among what the Fellows shared revealed themselves as the ceremony progressed. Those touching themes included how they had grown as teachers and people, made new friends and memories, and the magnitude of what they learned and what it meant to them and their students.

There are no words to express how proud those of us at CTI are of our Fellows and how excited we are for the upcoming 2018 seminars.

2017 Year in Review Slideshow

2017 Fellows’ Finale Presentation

CTI News News

Cheers to Our 2017 CTI Evening for Educators Presenters!

Cheers to all our great presenters at CTI’s Evening for Educators event Oct. 17 at Discovery Place Education Studio. Presenters included current and former CTI Fellows from CTI Seminars, and CTI Fellows, Seminar Leaders and UNCC graduate assistants who participated in our Summer Research Experience for Teachers.
 
          Our guests — CMS teachers, CTI supporters and local community members — were very impressed with the excellent curriculum ideas provided, and got lots of great ideas to take back to their students and schools. Many thanks to these presenters for sharing their super engaging, innovative work!

CTI Fellows Curricula

  • Justine Busto, English as a Second Language teacher, East Mecklenburg High School: Using Graphic Novels and Picture Books in the High School and Middle School Classroom
  • Matthew Kelly, Spanish teacher, Independence High School:  Una imagen vale mil palabras: Using Hispanic Art with Novice Learners of Spanish
  • Jennifer Ladanyi, language arts teacher, Bailey Middle School:  Graphic Novels: Reading Critically from Texts to Images
  • Pam Shembo, fifth grade French immersion teacher, E.E. Waddell Academy:  Words of African Wisdom through Leuk the Hare in a French Immersion Classroom
  • Amy Thomas, math teacher, Reedy Creek Elementary School:  Number Awareness and Place Value
  • Janet Raybon, forensic science teacher, Myers Park High School:  The Rest of the Story: A Study of Death, Decomposition and Metamorphosis
  • Tyler Godensky, forensic science student, Myers Park High School:  Decomposition and the Life Cycle of the Blow Fly

CTI Summer Research Experience for Teachers (SRET)

Silver Nanoparticles for Enhanced Efficiency in Solar Applications

  • Wendy Potter, apparel and textile production teacher, Butler High School
  • Kari Rhoades, biomedical science teacher, Mallard Creek High School
  • Kathleen Dipple, graduate assistant in chemistry, UNC Charlotte
  • Meesha Kaushal, graduate assistant in chemistry, UNC Charlotte

How You Can Use Fluorescence and Light to Demonstrate Chemistry Concepts in Your Classroom

  • Phil Carver, science teacher, James Martin Middle School
  • Margaret Kocherga, graduate assistant in chemistry, UNC Charlotte
  • Dr. Tom Schmedake, associate professor of chemistry, UNC Charlotte

Examining the Effects of Freeze/Thaw Cycles on Porcine Skin Using Spectral Analysis

  • Curtis Overton, technology & design teacher, West Mecklenburg High School

SRET Graduate Student Research

Studying the effects of Peripheral Alkyl Chains on Exciton Diffusion Parameters in Porphyrin-PCBM Thin Films for OPV Applications

  • Meesha Kaushal, graduate assistant in chemistry, UNC Charlotte

Fabrication of Tunable Silver Nanorod Films for Solar Applications

  • Kathleen Dipple, graduate assistant in chemistry, UNC Charlotte

 

CTI News

Inspiring the Next Generation of Scientists

Excited young minds at James Martin Middle School were treated by a collaboration of their teachers and scientist who worked together at this year’s CTI Summer Research Experience for Teachers (SRET). Two 8th grade science teachers from James Martin Middle School, Geneva Bell and Phil Carver, worked with a Ph.D. graduate student and professor of chemistry from UNC Charlotte, Margaret Kocherga and Dr. Tom Schmedake, this summer to research and develop new STEM curricula. This wonderful group wanted to share their expertise and enthusiasm with students, so, they planned a series of four fall activities to show the students and the community the engaging, fun side of science.

It began with James Martin Middle School Curriculum Night on Oct, 10, where students and parents engaged in a variety of scientific activities and lectures. Carver described what students gained from the experience:  “Hands-on lab activities and a new perspective from a professor and graduate student from a large university.” He added, “Dr. Schmedake discussed career opportunities for science-related jobs in Charlotte and North Carolina” including sharing salaries for scientists to his 8th grade students.  The labs included activities such as how to assemble Blackberry Solar Cells from TiO2 nanoparticles and graphite and experiments with dry ice.

On Oct. 11, Schmedake and Kocherga visited Bell and Carver’s classroom with a host of hands-on activities “that were related to various subjects they have already covered in their 8th grade science class,” Kocherga explained. On Nov. 11, the four will share their experiences at the Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (SERMACS) with scientists, educators and students in a presentation called “Teachers in the Lab:  A Research Experience with Fluorescent Dyes in Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs).”  Finally, on Nov. 15, Schmedake and Kocherga will return to Bell and Carver’s 8th grade science students to continue their project-based learning scientific demonstrations.  

In the end, the research team sought “to break stereotypes about ‘boring science,’ and inspire a new generation to pursue STEM fields and continue advancement in technologies that are used in daily life” as Margaret Kocherga described. The team helped open the young minds at James Martin to a world of possibilities that science provides. It is amazing to see these teachers and scientist inspire the next generation of scientists today to create a better world tomorrow.

 

Written By: Grayson Hollowell

Photos By: CTI Director- Scott Gartlan

CTI News

CTI Fellows Share Collaborative Science Research

Story and photos by Grayson Hollowell, CTI Communications & Administrative Assistant


 

Fascinating research, our awesome CTI Fellows, and many attentive guests all came together for CTI’s Summer Research Experience for Teachers (SRET) Reception on Thursday, September 7, at UNC Charlotte’s Atkins Library.

Eight teams comprised of CTI Fellows, graduate assistants and professors, from UNC Charlotte and Davidson College, collaborated in physics and chemistry research labs during June and July. At the SRET Reception, they displayed posters illustrating their findings and discussed them with reception attendees. CTI Fellows’ posters and research information can be found on CTI’s SRET webpage.

Deans, faculty, staff and and our other CTI Fellows joined us to commend and learn from the great research gleaned from the SRET projects. The public did the same, creating a wonderful, intellectual and casual atmosphere, accompanied by pizzas and drinks.

Thank you to everyone who attended and to all who participated in SRET. Congratulations on your marvelous hard work!

 

CTI News News

CTI Fellows Present at CMS Science Curriculum Day

Six CTI Fellows presented lessons from their CTI Summer Research Experience for Teachers with teaching colleagues at the CMS Science Curriculum Day Aug. 17 at South Mecklenburg High School. SRET Fellows shared what distinguishes CTI’s professional development from other PD, how they became involved in CTI’s SRET, research methods and concepts they explored in university laboratories, and their plans to implement research in their classrooms this fall, with the help of UNC Charlotte graduate students.

CTI presenters included Michelle Faggert (Martin Luther King MS), Namrata Gupta (Nations Ford ES) and Curtis Overton (West Mecklenburg HS) from Dr. Susan’s Trammell’s physics lab; Geneva Bell and Phil Carver (both at James Martin MS) from Dr. Tom Schmedake’s chemistry lab; and Kari Rhoades from Dr. Marcus Jones’ chemistry lab. Each of the three groups presented two 50-minute sessions for other CMS science teachers.
Cheers to these dedicated Fellows for sharing their SRET learning with other teachers!
CTI News

UNC Charlotte Undergraduate Wins Honor Working on CTI Research

Hao Djur presenting her research on CTI at the 2017 Summer Research Symposium (photo credit: Lynn Roberson)

Geraldine Abinader presenting her research on CTI at the 2017 Summer Research Symposium (photo credit: Lynn Roberson)

Two UNC Charlotte undergraduate students participated in UNC Charlotte’s Charlotte Community Scholars program aimed at fostering research skills in the area of civic engagement.  Geraldine Abinader, a mathematics major and Spanish and Urban Youth and Communities minor, and Hao Djur, an anthropology and biology and Urban Youth and Communities minor, completed intensive research projects over the course of the 9-week summer program.  At the 2017 Summer Research Symposium, Geraldine received first place in the “Humanities, Social Sciences, Education, Business, and Art” category for “Student Learning + Retention = Teacher Growth:  A Product Evaluation Case Study among CTI Fellows.”  Read more on College of Liberal Arts & Sciences website.