Downers Grove North High School Social Studies Teachers Dennis (D.J.) Rogala, Amy Wlodek-Holland and Melissa Wostratzky each won a competitive scholarship and attended national institute programs this summer.
Amy Wlodek-Holland received a scholarship to attend the 2017 Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute in Virginia. During her six-day session led by a master teacher, she and 25 teachers from across the country explored Colonial Williamsburg, engaged in interactive activities, and debated how historical events shapes the American identity. “I walked away with so many new ideas to incorporate into the classroom, in particular for fostering civic awareness among our students,” says Wlodek-Holland. “The experience renewed my enthusiasm for topics I’ve been teaching for 15 years!”
Dennis (D.J.) Rogala traveled on a scholarship to Philadelphia, where he attended the National Constitution Center’s “Interactive Constitution,” a week-long program with teachers from across the country. The program included lectures, demonstrations and historic site visits, as well as workshops to make content nonpartisan and relevant to learners. He also studied the history of the Supreme Court, and “mock argued” in front of a federal appellate judge. “She ripped me apart, and it was great!” he says of the experience.
Melissa Wostratzky was awarded a scholarship to attend the Chicago Architecture Foundation workshop, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Teachers from across the U.S. attended the workshop, “The American Skyscraper: Transforming Chicago and the Nation.” “I learned that many architectural firms in Chicago pursue business in China, and incorporate bamboo and dragons into their designs, which delights the Chinese people,” she shares. “This reinforced to me how math and science are of course important in the workforce, but so is having cultural awareness and competency.”
“These teachers dispel the myth that teachers have the summers off,” says Janice Schwarze, principal of DGN. “These three teachers are a wonderful example of how our teachers use their time in the summer to gain new knowledge to bring back to the classroom.”
For more information about District 99 and its schools, please visit www.csd99.org.