Professional Development at Blake

All faculty are expected to pursue professional development opportunities that help them better achieve their professional goals. Faculty members at Blake enjoy access to many different opportunities for professional development, from those offered in Summer Academies, to divisional workshops and those supported by their Divisional Professional Development Fund. In addition, teachers are invited to apply for Technology Grants, Fund for Teachers Grants, as well as Donaldson and Hersey Sabbaticals, for support for professional development of their own design that will help them become better teachers.

Fund for Teachers
Fund for Teachers awards fellowships for summer learning experiences to preK-12 teachers, empowering them to pursue their passions to then pique student engagement. Each fellowship is as unique as the teacher who designed it; and regardless of the destination or discipline, FFT Fellows return to classrooms inspired by their pursuit of ideas, terrains, and cultures and further equipped to transform student learning.

Ray Plank, a Blake alumnus and former Blake parent and trustee, first created the Plank Challenge Grants at Blake. Since 2002, both the name of the Fund and the criteria for awards are consistent with those used by the national office of Fund for Teachers. The strongest proposals document well-conceived plans, provide a realistic budget and demonstrate how the proposed experiences will benefit both the teachers and their students. Grant money is available to teachers from The Blake School and Minneapolis Public Schools. Budget proposals can range up to $10,000.00 each. Individuals may apply for up to $5,000; teams up to $10,000. Teachers may be awarded a Fund for Teachers grant once every three years.

Related Links
        Fund for Teachers
        Fund for Teachers Teacher Page
        Prezi Online Tutorial
        Fund for Teachers Recipients
        Sample Fund for Teachers Fellow Summaries
                The Blake School 2012 Fellows
                Michèle Cassavante
                Joe Druskin
                Alicen Foresman
                Rand Harrington
                Petra Johnson
                Brian Hartley Sago
                Deborah Weiss

David M. Hersey Summer Sabbatical
When David Hersey was president of The Blake Schools, he often spoke of the great strength of the faculty of the school, and he was concerned about finding ways to allow them to spend their summer months renewing themselves while honing and improving their teaching skills. He felt that teachers were often limited by finances during their summers, and either had to take a second job during a vacation, or were financially limited from pursuing major academic or intellectual growth.

After David resigned from The Blake Schools, the Board of Trustees established a Summer Sabbatical Program in his honor. "Each year three summer sabbaticals are awarded to faculty members who represent the high level of teaching effectiveness at Blake. It is hoped that these sabbaticals will allow the recipient to develop an interest which, without the award, would be difficult to pursue. The term sabbatical is used here in the broadest sense and includes, but is not limited to, academic work, curriculum study, and travel."

David M. Hersey Summer Sabbatical Recipients

Donaldson Sabbatical Program
The Frank Donaldson Faculty Development Sabbatical Program provides support for members of The Blake School faculty to undertake and present significant sabbatical projects. In addition to salary support, the program provides a $3,300 project stipend for recipients annually.

Faculty who are eligible for benefits may apply for a sabbatical. The head of school grants these leaves after reviewing the recommendations of the Sabbatical Review Committee. Teachers who complete six continuous years of service are eligible for a sabbatical leave. Continuous service is defined as six years of uninterrupted service or seven years of service interrupted by a year of parental leave or leave without pay.

Donaldson Sabbatical Program Recipients

Lyon History Fund
In 2001, Frank Lyon's second grandchild and namesake, Frank G. Lyon II, graduated from The Blake School. Granddaughter, Lucy Lyon, had graduated from Blake in 1997. To honor the Lyon family's relationship with the school and its history department, Mr. Lyon established the Lyon History Fund.

The fund is to be used for education or travel by a faculty member in the Social Studies Department. The department chair and Head of School will decide the annual use of the fund.

School-Year-Abroad (SYA) Travel Grants
Travel Grants of $1,000 are available for any faculty interested in traveling to and visiting a School-Year-Abroad (SYA) school in Europe (Spain, Italy, or France) or Asia (China or Vietnam). These grants are intended to help defray round-trip travel, lodging, and meals. The assumption is that visitors will spend two nights and three days exploring and experiencing the SYA community. SYA faculty will schedule a visit to include a classroom observation, group meetings with faculty and students, an individual meeting with the Resident Director, and evening with a host family and a student-guided tour of the host city. The recipient of the grant is required to submit a brief report describing the visit upon return to the U.S.

Note to faculty: Access additional information including application deadlines and forms here.