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North Branford Intermediate School Social Studies teachers (l-r) Tia DePalma and Carrie Sabetta have received an exclusive teaching fellowship. (Photo courtesy Keith O’Rourke/NBIS )
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Two North Branford Intermediate School (NBIS) teachers, Carrie Sabetta and Tia DePalma, have been accepted to the Woodrow Wilson HistoryQuest Fellowship Program and will learn to apply game design principles to help build inquiry-based learning and assess learning outcomes, according to NBIS interim principal Keith O'Rourke.
As 2018-19 Fellows, the two NBIS Social Studies teachers will also learn to tie games into curriculum, create their own games, and integrate them into the classroom for Social Studies teaching which focuses on American History. They will receive free professional development and 10 months of follow-up assistance, development opportunities and coaching as part of the program, which begins with a five-day intensive in New Jersey in July. Currently at NBIS, Sabetta is a teacher with seventh and eighth grade teams and DePalma teaches with an eighth grade team.
The program partner in developing the Woodrow Wilson HistoryQuest Fellowship Program is the nationally-known Institute of Play. According to information supplied by the partnership, the fellowship "...offers professional development for middle and high school American history teachers in CT, MA, NJ, NYC, and PA. The program aims to use the power of games, play, and digital tools to transform both teacher practice and student engagement. In the long term, it may also provide a new disciplinary resource for university-based teacher preparation."
Both Sabetta and DePalma were nominated for the fellowship by O'Rourke in January. Once their nominations were accepted, they undertook completing an extensive application.
O'Rourke shared the news of the teachers' selection with Superintendent Scott Schoonmaker when their selection was annouced in mid-March, with O'Rourke noting, in part, "This fellowship is a wonderful opportunity for Carrie and Tia to provide an innovative and fresh approach to teaching Social Studies, and I believe our students will greatly benefit as a result. It is my hope and expectation that Carrie and Tia will be able to share new learning with their colleagues at both NBIS and NBHS."
O'Rourke also noted the fellowship is free to the district and will offer over 50 hours of professional development for the two teachers. The majority takes place in July, during a five-day, institute workshop at the Chauncey Conference Center on the grounds of the Educational Testing Service in Princeton NJ, followed by a series of follow-up activities during the school year.
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