April 22, 1997

$2.4 Million Grant Boosts Bread Loaf Rural Teacher Network at Middlebury College

Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English has received a $2.4 million grant from the DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund to expand the Bread Loaf Rural Teacher Network, a professional development program designed to improve instruction in rural classrooms in low-income communities in eight states.

Each summer for the next four years, up to 45 teachers from Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Vermont will be offered graduate fellowships to study literature, the teaching of writing, creative writing, and theater arts for six weeks at the Bread Loaf School at Middlebury College. Teachers who participate in the summer program will be invited to apply for a second and third summer at any Bread Loaf campus: Middlebury College, VT; Lincoln College, University of Oxford (UK); Native American Preparatory School, Rowe, NM. They, along with their schools' principals and students, will also be linked to BreadNet--a nationally recognized telecommunications network--and receive a stipend to support collaborative projects and research in their schools and communities.

The new grant builds on an initial $2.7 million the Fund awarded in 1993 to help the Bread Loaf School establish the Rural Teacher Network, which provides rural teachers access to high-quality professional development opportunities and helps them overcome their isolation from each other and from educational and cultural centers. Grant funds were also used for a national conference to identify the best ways to improve education for children and young people in rural schools, particularly through small-scale networks.

Overall, the next phase of the program is expected to reach 1,500 outstanding rural teachers through the Bread Loaf summer programs, as well as workshops, seminars, school partnerships, and links with local and regional networks.

By making available opportunities for outstanding teachers, the Bread Loaf School of English will continue to play a significant role in the national goal of improving American education and helping keep America's best teachers in the classroom.

The mission of the DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund is to foster fundamental improvement of the quality of educational and career development opportunities for all school-age youth, and to increase access to these improved services for young people in low-income communities.