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Marci Resnick Teacher Fund: Paying it forward

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

In life Marci Resnick was a dedicated educator who continuously gave of herself without expecting big fanfare.

Marci taught at Mitchell in Southwest Philadelphia and at Emlen in Northwest Philadelphia. She joined the Philadelphia Writing Project in 1990 and became the director in 1995. In 2001 she went to work as associate director of the National Writing Project.

I was personally inspired by Marci’s advocacy for making connections with families and schools. She mentored and encouraged many teachers to be reflective about in-school and out-of-school literacy practices.

Marci passed away in May, 2007, and as a tribute to her life work as an educator, the Marci Resnick Teacher Fund was established in collaboration with the National Writing Project (NWP) and Philadelphia Writing Project

Marci’s work with teachers in Philadelphia and around the country exemplified humor, warmth, spirit, and incredible passion. To honor those qualities, the fund raises and distributes resources to support the work teachers do in their classrooms. In particular, the Marci Resnick Teacher Fund established a library of children’s and adolescent literature from the many texts Marci collected, along with lesson plans she used.

I am personally thankful for the Marci Resnick Teacher Fund, because I was among six people to receive awards of $500 in 2009. I used funds from the award to attend the 2009 National Association for Media Literacy Conference to enhance my media literacy curriculum unit, MySpace in Democracy, which supports students to learn about their rights and responsibilities when using social media.

The fund did a great job of supporting a variety of projects that honors Marci’s interests in the arts, theater, and music, and the ways in which she incorporated literacy in her own classroom. Other 2009 awardees included:

  • Conni Henkel – developed a literacy project for second graders that incorporated journals and journal writing;
  • Mona Kolsky – used funds to travel to Turkey and created global education unit about Turkey for her students;
  • Abby Pelcyger – developed a environmental and literacy project to support a community and school partnership for building gardens;
  • Rita Sorrentino – developed a technology and art project incorporating photography and publishing in collaboration with other teachers in her elementary school;
  • Erin Swan – used funds to purchase materials for her classroom and other classrooms for a school based reading and writing workshop project.

The fund would like to increase the number of teachers its supports. In the two years since its founding, the Marci Resnick Teacher Fund has presented 10 awards to teachers in Philadelphia schools. It would be great if the fund could double the number of teachers (four) it supported in 2008.

The 2010 Marci Resnick Teacher Fund is now accepting applications for $500 awards to support creative classroom projects, professional development, and educational travel related to classroom practice and other areas. The application deadline is April 9, 2010. Teachers may contact the Philadelphia Writing Project at philwp@gse.upenn.edu. Awards will be presented on June 7, 2010.

Gifts and contributions to the fund will mean that Marci’s legacy continues, reaching into the classrooms and sustaining and honoring teachers. As a past award recipient, I intend to honor the spirit of paying it forward and contribute to the fund.

For additional information contact:

Marci Resnick Teacher Fund
c/o Philadelphia Writing Project
4201 Spruce Street, Building 1921
Philadelphia, PA 19104-7499
Phone: 215-898-1919

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