MERIDEN — City teachers received some unexpected visitors in their classrooms on Thursday.
A team of representatives from the Fund for Teachers and the Dalio Foundation visited the schools to inform teachers they had been awarded education travel grants.
Platt High School teacher Jill Pomposi will be visiting Spain. With tears in her eyes, she thanked the team and said she was surprised, but excited.
“I really wanted to be chosen, obviously, but I didn’t want to be so set on it and then not get it,” she said.
Grants were awarded to 154 teachers across the state. Ten were selected from Meriden, including those at Nathan Hale Elementary School, Washington Middle School and Platt High School.
The Fund for Teachers has awarded travel grants to more than 600 teachers in the past four years, said Managing Director Dale Bernardoni. A total of 54 have been from Meriden.
“They can go and have an authentic experience related to that and bring back that new knowledge to their teaching practices,” Bernardoni said.
Some teachers are taking solo trips while others are going in groups or pairs. Teachers will visit Spain, Japan, Australia, England, France, Germany, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Pomposi will be attending an international conference in Spain that focuses on language and society. She chose the project because she has students that speak different languages and wanted them to feel welcome and safe.
“It’s about feeling like belonging in the community,” Pomposi said. “Our community is changing and especially in our district, we have so many different types of students.”
Nathan Hale teachers Lynne Patry and Carol Cotter will visit the Turks and Caicos Islands to explore the similarities and differences in the ecosystems with that of Long Island Sound. Patry said the information gathered on the trip will be used in STEM activities in the classroom.
“We want to actively engage kids in preserving and protecting our environment,” Patry said. “That’s our goal.”