Gear Up teachers prepare for their tour of Italy.

Front Row (R-L)-Bobbi Conway, Debra Wyman, and Amy Moore

Back Row (R-L)- Shelia Bennett, Donna Knotts, Arlene Iaquinta, Heather Horne Holbert, Misty Dawn Thomas Skarzinski, and Dan Phillips

Gear Up teachers prepare for their tour of Italy

GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federally-funded grant designed to:

Demonstrate the importance of education in today's world. Encourage all middle & high school students to set high educational and career goals. Help students learn how to prepare, enter, and succeed in college, or other post-secondary training. Provide parents with the information and resources they need to stay involved in their students' education and to help them lay out plans for the future. Provide teachers with the tools and training needed to raise both academic expectations and student achievement in the classroom.

 The 9 teachers selected for this section of the Roads to Appalachia through Italy are:

 Sheila Kay Bennett- Robert Bland Middle School, Lewis County

Barbara Conway- Mannington Middle, Marion County

Heather Horne Holbert- WI Middle, Harrison County

Marry Arlene Iaquinta- WI Middle, Harrison County

Donna Marie Knotts- Pickens School, Randolph County

Amy Renae Moore- Tucker County Middle School

Charles D. Phillips- Westwood Middle, Monongalia County

Misty Skarzinski- Rivesville Middle, Marion County

Debra M. Wyman- Robert Bland Middle School, Lewis County


             Each teacher will be expected to constantly use the experiences of this intense study abroad time to heighten his/her own historical understandings, to seek out specific information in order to formulate curricular application to his/her classroom based on these understandings, secure teaching aids (maps, books, photographs, artifacts, etc.), make contacts to be continued through internet connects that will be primary resources for student and teacher (this could be used to create cultural comparisons, exchanges, “pen pals”, or any first hand learning), and much more. An open dialogue will be maintained and emphasized throughout the travel experience between teachers, directors, scholars, museum personnel, tour guides, and most importantly the general populations that we will be encountering. All participants will be expected to keep a daily detailed travel journal and portfolios of pertinent travel and cultural memorabilia which will become the basis for future curriculum and research projects. (A rubric guide for journal and portfolio development will be distributed and discussed as part of the pre-travel meeting.)

            Teachers will also be expected to prepare their materials for publication, such as in Traditions, Hillchild, or GEARUP Teacher’s Resource Guide.

 Follow Up Gatherings

             As in previous Teacher Study Abroad Programs, a general, wrap-up session will be held in the fall, allowing the participants to further exchange working educational ideas. At this meeting, teachers will present a curriculum prospectus that will contain the teaching unit goals and objectives, procedures, content, assessment plan, and resources. This presentation will be made by PowerPoint and shared with the entire teacher group. A one to two page overview of your curriculum project should be shared with each participant.

            The participants will share their created units, programs, their writings, and other activities with a wider audience of educators and folklore enthusiasts by being published in Traditions and Hillchild as well as other regional journals. Participants will be encouraged to create, document, and share their various programs, projects, and folkloric/cultural ideas with the wider West Virginia educational audience.

Contact Info

The Frank and Jane Gabor
West Virginia Folklife Center

on the campus of Fairmont State University
1201 Locust Avenue
Fairmont, WV 26554
(304) 367-4403

Pat Musick
Pat Musick
, Interim Director
Frank & Jane Gabor WV Folklife Center
(304) 333-3606


FSUNow Stories

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Kestrel: A Journal of Literature and Art, the Fairmont State University Department of Language and Literature and the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center will host a two-day Celebration of Issue 35.

Ten Kestrel contributors will be on campus to participate in a panel discussion, as well as give readings from their own work.

On Friday, Sept. 23, from 1 to 1:50 p.m. in Jaynes Hall 304, Dr. Elizabeth Savage will moderate a panel discussion on the topic, “Accessibility,” featuring visiting writers. Admission to the event is free and open to the public.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University will officially open a new exhibition, “From Mountain Roots….” in its Ruth Ann Musick Gallery from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9.

Admission to the opening reception and the exhibit is free and open to the public. The exhibition will be on view through mid-February 2017. For more information, call (304) 367-4403.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University will host “Film & Fiction Italian Family Style: An Afternoon of Italian Heritage” from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18.

Diana Pishner Walker will read from her children’s books, and her sister Anna Pishner Harsh offer a premier screening of “La Danza-Bridging Time Through Dance,” an Italian dance documentary. Walker and Harsh’s paternal grandparents were from Caulonia, Italy, (Reggio Calabria), and their maternal grandparents were from San Giovani in Fiore, Provence of Cosenza, Italy.

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