Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants

For teachers who think outside the box, solve problems, and inspire students.

We’re excited to announce the two Grand Finalists receiving an additional $2,500 through the Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants!

Facing History had the challenging task of choosing two educators from 12 finalist projects to work with us on promoting their project to educators everywhere. Explore our two grand finalists below! Stay tuned to see their final lessons—debuting this spring—so you can use them in your own classroom!

Catherine Epstein, Meridian Academy - Boston, MA

Watch Catherine Epstein's Proposal: "The Correspondence Project"

Epstein's "Correspondence Project" creates tangible engagement between students on different ends of the political spectrum by exchanging letters with each other over the course of one school year. The letters are meant to humanize one another through an ongoing correspondence about both their daily lives and their perspectives on the world. This will cultivate a long-term dialogue between students who might not otherwise thoughtfully engage with one another and can help them come to a more nuanced understanding about political difference.

Essential Questions:

  1. How can citizens of the same country have different perceptions of that country?
  2. How do our identities shape our values?
  3. What assumptions do others make about us – and do we make about others – based on identity?
  4. How can we use our assumptions to generate curiosity?

Read what Catherine has to say about her experience with this project.

Jackson Westenskow of High Point Academy - Aurora, CO

Watch Jackson Westenskow's Proposal: "Empathy Builders"

Westenskow's project proposes the use of a simple game known as “Empathy Builders” to help students understand the concept of empathy. By using game-based learning, students can experience a real example of empathy, teachers can identify that moment, and then students can extend their learning through application to other authentic situations. The game can spark conversations about empathy to build a common ground of understanding among peers.

Essential Questions:

  1. What is empathy? How can empathy help a group (community, society) achieve a goal?
  2. How can empathy improve communication?

Read what Jackson has to say about his experience with this project.

The Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants are made possible through the generous support of the Fialkow family.

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