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March 19, 2019  |  

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Totoket Valley Elementary School teacher Jackie Thurston, named one of 76 educators in the United States to receive the Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program grant for 2018-2019, is shown here at last week's Global Educator's Conference in Washington DC.

Totoket Valley Elementary School teacher Jackie Thurston, named one of 76 educators in the United States to receive the Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program grant for 2018-2019, is shown here at last week's Global Educator's Conference in Washington DC. )

North Branford Teacher Wins National Fulbright Teachers' Grant

Represents CT Among 76 Educators Named Nationwide

Published Feb. 28, 2019 • Last Updated 10:35 a.m., Feb. 28, 2019

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Feb. 28, 2019: North Branford Public Schools' (NBPS) Totoket Valley Elementary School (TVES) fifth-grade special education teacher Jackie Thurston has been named one of 76 educators in the United States to receive the Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program grant for 2018-2019. Thurston is the only educator in Connecticut to receive this distinction.

The announcement was made by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fubright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Reacting to this prestigious award, Thurston and TVES Principal Carter Welch were both humbled to be included in such an amazing cultural and educative exchange experience as well as incredibly excited to offer this global learning to all of the students at TVES. [Located in the Northford section of North Branford, TVES serves NBPS students in grades 3 - 5.]

As part of the experience, Thurston has taken preparatory online graduate level coursework from September to January and more recently visited Washington, D.C., for an orientation/global education symposium this past week with educators from around the world.  Later in the summer, she will travel to India for several weeks to finish the year-long grant. The dates for her trip abroad are during the months of June and July.

The Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program is described as "a year-long professional development opportunity for U.S. elementary, middle, and high school teachers to develop skills for preparing students for a competitive global economy." Its goal is to equip "teachers to bring an international perspective to their schools through targeted training, experience abroad, and global collaboration."

A universally liked and respected educator for 12 years in North Branford, Thurston has served students in resource and inclusion settings as well as supported district efforts in special education. Thurston is also the after school enrichment coordinator for TVES, planning and supporting a variety of recreational, academic, and cultural experiences for students in addition to their daily curricular experiences. Thurston also brings certification and training in Project Adventure to TVES and students across Connecticut with experiences in cooperative education and leadership development. 

Thurston also spends free time traveling the world, playing Ultimate Frisbee, hiking, rock climbing, and attending plays and musicals. Welch described Thurston as, "...an infectious personality in the school and district that is constantly working to enrich students' lives, build their awareness of life and social issues beyond North Branford and Connecticut to the entire world, and to develop their confidence and leadership so that they too can become positive change agents in the world...simply stated...she is an inspiration and visionary and such a great role model for students and adults alike."

All of TVES and North Branford are so proud of her!

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