KEYSER - Susan Hamilton, a social studies and English teacher at Keyser High School, will be traveling to Qatar and Oman as part of a professional development/cultural exchange grant program.

For the News Tribune

KEYSER - Susan Hamilton, a social studies and English teacher at Keyser High School, will be traveling to Qatar and Oman as part of a professional development/cultural exchange grant program.

Hamilton was awarded the grant by Qatar Foundation International (QFI) and GEEO, a non-profit organization dedicated to making international travel affordable for teachers. The program also provides curriculum support to teachers upon their return, so they will feel confident in sharing their travel experiences with their classrooms.

This grant provides Susan with the opportunity to travel to the countries of Oman and Qatar, both located on the Persian Gulf.

This is a competitive grant. Susan and the other educators from all over the United States who are participating in this opportunity were selected from a pool of applicants based on the content they teach, lesson plans about Arab culture that are currently used in one or more of the classes they teach, and a written proposal about how they plan to implement what they learn on this trip within their school and community.

As per her proposal, Susan will be sending videos back to KHS as frequently as possible to be viewed during advisory time. In these videos she will show what she saw during the day and what she learned about the cultures, as well as just sharing stories about her travels. She is also planning to send pictures and a column relaying the same information the students will be receiving via video for the Mineral Daily News Tribune to share with the community.

In a general internet search for grants to benefit teachers, Susan came across this one and was intrigued. She was not looking for this kind of opportunity; Susan was searching for grants to assist with funding for classroom supplies and technology, but after realizing she qualified to apply for this grant, Susan completed the application and submitted a proposal in November. She was notified in December that she had been selected to participate, and her experience would take place from April 7-19, 2019.

QFI’s mission is to help foster a deeper understanding of Arab language, culture, and countries by partnering with public and private schools, universities, and multilateral and philanthropic organizations. One way they support teachers who are required to cover Arab culture through their curriculum is by providing various professional development opportunities. For this grant, QFI is partnered with GEEO Both organizations understand that the perspective and learning which occurs with teachers as they explore overseas environments is one of the best ways to enrich student learning and global awareness.

Susan will be taking an unpaid leave of absence from Mineral County Schools as she embarks on this journey next week. “I think this opportunity is priceless, and I am so thankful to have been chosen. I really appreciate Mr. Dilly supporting my request for the time needed to participate, and the Mineral County Board of Education for also unanimously supporting this endeavor. I know I am going to feel so much more confident teaching about Arab nations as a result of this trip. I’m sure I will have plenty of interesting stories to tell when I return.”