“Borrowing” the Best Ideas

As a teacher, Heather Duncan Whitt works hard to create a classroom culture that works. She teaches preschool at South Shore Fine Arts Academy (SSFAA), where she has worked since it opened in 2009. “Ms. Heather” fights tirelessly to preserve an appropriate classroom environment for young children.

“I try to make myself as accessible as professionally possible,” Heather said. “Most important, I reinforce to my students that we are in all this together and that our team can accomplish all of our goals if we cooperate.”

Heather models this commitment to collaboration with her colleagues at SSFAA and beyond. For her – and most teachers – the best ideas are “borrowed” from other teachers, and she seeks opportunities to put this strategy in action. When she learned of The Fund’s inaugural Summer Design Program (SDP) in 2013, she quickly assembled a team from SSFAA.

“When we saw the opportunity to get some assistance – both technical AND financial – with our plan to reduce wasted time and paper by using adaptive software, we knew we had to apply!” Heather said. Through the SDP, Heather’s team used education software to integrate individualized instruction and assessment for students at SSFAA. This software compiled student data, allowing SSFAA teachers to personalize instruction without sacrificing time or resources.

Inspired by the success of the SDP, Heather sought more opportunities through The Fund. She applied to serve on The Fund’s Educator Advisory Committee (EAC), knowing it would help her see her best ideas in the classrooms of many, many colleagues.