Merck Foundation Helps Advance Teacher Excellence in Durham Schools

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Merck Foundation, through its Neighbor of Choice program, is helping the Kenan Fellows Program leverage opportunities that will inspire educators in Durham Public Schools to not only serve as catalyst of learning for their students, but also their peers.

The Foundation’s gift of $25,000 will support the Durham Teachers Initiative, which strategically engages high-yield educators from middle and high schools to participate in the 2015-16 cohort of Kenan Fellows. The selected six teachers are spending five weeks this summer interning in local industries alongside a mentor. The teacher internship is designed to deepen their content knowledge and incorporate their real-world experience into grade-level curriculum.

“We at Merck are honored to support the Durham Teachers Initiative,” said Merck’s Durham site leader John Howell. “A good teacher can make a tremendous difference in the lives of students, and this program is designed to make excellent teachers in our area even better at what they do.”

The rapidly changing workforce requires teachers to use relevant lessons, programs and activities that connect real-world experiences to classroom learning. The Durham Teacher Initiative will create a cluster of educators in Durham Public Schools that can share new and innovative resources to make STEM more engaging and relevant for students.

“This initiative helps us increase the number of exceptional STEM educators in multiple areas of study for middle and high school students in Durham Public Schools,” said Elaine Franklin, director of the Kenan Fellows Program. “This effort would not be possible without the support of our generous partners such as the Merck Foundation that are committed to advancing high-quality education in our state.”

About the Merck Foundation: The Merck Foundation—a U.S.-based, private charitable foundation established in 1957—is funded entirely by the company and is Merck’s chief source of funding support for qualified nonprofit charitable organizations. Since its inception, the Merck Foundation has contributed more than $829 million to support initiatives that address important societal needs in a manner consistent with Merck’s overall mission to help the world be well.

About the Kenan Fellows Program: The Kenan Fellows Program was established in 2000 as a K-12 education initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science at N.C. State University. The program immerses educators in STEM fields and provides them with tools to develop innovative curricula and programs, inspired by real-world applications, to use in their schools and to share with other educators in their districts and beyond. In addition to the teacher internship, Kenan Fellows receive 80 hours of professional and leadership development. A core goal is to develop effective teacher leaders who serve as advocates for excellence in education.