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Miami grads named ‘All-Star Teachers

Two Fairfield High School teachers, both Miami graduates, were recently named to USA TODAY’S 2003 All-Star Teacher Team.

Christene Alfonsi (Miami ’97) and Allison Curran (Miami ’95 MEd ’99) will each receive a $500 cash award. Their high school will receive a $1,500 cash award.

The teachers bring “complementary talents and a shared passion for inspiring students to think critically into a classroom,” said the Oct. 15 USA TODAY article. Their team-taught course for 10th-graders combines Alfonsi’s English background and Curran’s world history background. Topics explored in the course vary each semester and range from the environment to war and diplomacy.

“We take an idea and trace it from ancient to modern history through literature and then into the students’ lives now,” Alfonsi says.

The two teachers provide a range of formats for expression in their classroom, including Socratic-type discussions, time capsules, portfolios, essays and student-initiated community activism. One student’s project resulted in his sitting on a city subcommittee that was planning a local skateboard park.

The course, says Curran, gives students the opportunity to find their individual niche as well as “to actively participate in a nurturing, academic environment, to explore the range of possibilities for their futures and to exceed the curriculum standards.”

Working with students to discover the connections between American literature and world history has been challenging but has resulted in an intense, thought-provoking and rewarding teaching experience, say Curran and Alfonsi.

Alfonsi, who received a bachelor’s degree in education (secondary Eng-lish/reading endorsement), names Tom Romano and Al Frager (both teacher education) and Max Moren-berg (English) as her most influential professors.

Curran, who received a bachelor’s and a master’s in education (secondary social studies education/English endorsement) (curriculum and teacher leadership), cites Mike Fuller (teacher education) and Kate Rousmaniere (educational leadership) as her most influential professors.

Date Published: 10/30/2003
Volume: 23   Number: 13

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