Teacher Leader Spotlight: Wolfburg Fellow Steve Ingram
STEVE INGRAM, A TEACHER AT STANTON COLLEGE PREPARATORY, DEVELOPED A SOCIAL JUSTICE COURSE TO TEACH DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION BEYOND THE CLASSROOM
Steve Ingram is a teacher at Stanton College Preparatory High School. This year, he was selected for the Wolfburg Social Justice in Education Fellowship for the JPEF Teacher Leadership Initiative.
Mr. Ingram has lived in Florida for 11 years and has taught at Stanton College Preparatory High School for nine years. Previously, he lived and worked in many places including California, Chicago, France, and Austria. As an educator who enjoys traveling, he draws inspiration from the excellent teachers he had at elementary, high school, and university levels, as well as the experiences he has had across the globe.
“Having traveled a great deal I have grown to better understand the wide variety of challenges that we face in the 21st Century and I want to be one part of the effort to best equip our upcoming generations to make the world better,” he said.
Now, he is leading learning with high school students and younger students in nearby schools, allowing high school students to engage in mentoring, coaching, and building relationships with students from diverse backgrounds.
We caught up with him recently to learn more about his work.
Tell me about the project you submitted in your application for the Wolfburg Fellowship.
The Wolfburg Project is titled “Communities Without Borders” and emphasizes community outreach on the part of Stanton College Preparatory High School to three elementary schools in Duval County. Stanton visits Kings Trail, R V Daniels, and San Jose Elementary schools every other week presenting a mini-course on the topic of Social Justice. We seek to build an understanding among elementary students that we do live in one world and that fences, walls, national borders cannot isolate concerns about man’s inhumanity to man.
We will work with each individual school to develop their own “Social Justice Project” and in the Spring all three schools will come to Stanton to present their projects in collaboration with the other schools.
How has your work grown/progressed since you won the Wolfburg Fellowship?
I took the opportunity to substitute teach in elementary schools during the Summer. I immediately began to be humbled by the skills of elementary school teachers and I learned a great deal. We have already begun our visits to the three schools and with each visit we have learned to modify, to adapt to the respective student groups at the schools. We must always be ready to think on our feet and to work hard to make Social Justice terminology understandable.
How did you get interested in social justice work in schools?
At Stanton over the past eight years, we have reached out to all Duval County High Schools and conducted “Stanton Roundtables” where we meet four times a year to discuss current events relevant to the 21st Century student. During these Roundtables, I have recognized that it is optimal for our students to develop an awareness of “what is happening in the world” at not only the local, state, national but also at the global level. I am determined to help build an even stronger foundation for this awareness by reaching out to elementary schools.
We believe very much in educators supporting educators. Can you tell me a little bit about the team who has supported you – other teachers, your principal?
Over the past nine years, I have benefited from the strong direction and oversight provided by my Principal Ms. Majova who is steadfast in her commitment to Community Outreach. Additionally, my colleague, Ms. Tamla Simmons, Stanton Biology teacher and IB Coordinator, is a consistent source of inspiration with her dedicated focus on Social Justice.
What results have you seen for students as a result of your work?
At the elementary school level, we have been impressed by the general level of enthusiasm for our introductory presentations on basic elements of Social Justice: Tolerance, Respect, Empathy, and Equity. For the Stanton College Preparatory High School students working on this project, I have noticed how they are benefiting from having to take their “book knowledge” of Social Justice and make it real by working with younger students.