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Brooks Teacher Receives Fulbright U.S. Teacher Award for 2023-24

Laura Stamp, eighth-grade science teacher at Brooks Middle School, has received a Fulbright Teacher Exchange award to Vietnam.

Stamp, who plans to conduct research on climate change education, is one of 20 educators from the United States selected for the 2023-24 award cycle.

“Vietnam is one of the top five countries that will be affected by climate change and the cultural values and economic system are very different from those in the United States,” Stamp said. “I will investigate how educators are approaching climate change education so that their students understand the science of the problems and are inspired to act.”

A National Board Certified teacher with nearly 25 years of experience, Stamp teaches a climate change unit as part of her academic encore class at Brooks Middle School. District 97 elementary and middle schoolers learn about conservation of natural resources in their science curriculum as well, studying the impact of air and water pollution, excessive use of pesticides, preservation of wilderness areas, stability and change within ecosystems, and the earth’s changing climate.

“As an experienced middle school science teacher, I struggle with ways to teach climate change so that students not only understand the science but also feel empowered to make changes,” Stamp said. “It’s imperative that we understand how we can best educate our students to feel that they have the agency and a stake in making changes in our systems to survive the immense changes that climate change will cause.”

The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Research Program provides an opportunity for K-12 educators from the United States to conduct research and engage in other professional learning experiences abroad for three to six months. Stamp will be doing her research from January to March of 2024.

During her time in Vietnam, Stamp plans to visit rural and urban schools and hopes to develop a project with a school where her eighth-graders at Brooks will be able to interact with students in Vietnam. Stamp is engaging her students in her project and plans to meet with them virtually while she is there.

“I’m excited to model life long learning to my students, to show them that taking risks and trying new things is empowering and life changing, and to show them that curiosity is what makes your life interesting and creates opportunities,” Stamp said.

Stamp’s passion for climate education extends beyond the classroom. As a member of the Oak Park Climate Action Network, she contributed to the long-range sustainability plan adopted by the Village of Oak Park, Climate Ready Oak Park. 

District 97 leaders have been meeting with community partners and exploring ways to support Climate Ready by integrating climate and sustainability goals into the district’s instructional and operational systems. 

“It’s an honor to have educators like Laura in our district,” District 97 Superintendent Ushma Shah said. “Laura’s focus on making science standards relevant and connecting learning to civic action reflects the expertise of the many National Board teachers in our district and lines up with our vision for the Portrait of an Oak Park 8th Grade Graduate. We celebrate Laura and District 97 teachers for their transformative student-centered advocacy.”