Meet the 2022 DIA Fellows and consider how a Fellowship could enhance your professional development. To apply for the 2023 DIA Fellowships, click here by January 1, 2023.
Dr. Yvonne Boldt, Science Teacher
Providence Academy, Plymouth, MN
Mentor: Tom Cole
With the support of the DIA fellowship, my aim is to inspire the teachers in the Science and
Religion Departments at Providence Academy to form a more intentional plan of integrating our science and religion curriculums. I hope to receive guidance in how to prudently go about inviting my colleagues into this discussion, to see the value, and make the effort. I am also seeking knowledgeable resources for content connections, and a source of encouragement and accountability for my own effort in this endeavor. Both the Science and the Religion Departments already have some naturally occurring points of connection. But to a large extent I think what we are doing here fits the description of science and faith/religion as two ships sailing side by side with fairly limited interaction between them.
In a culture that operates on the one hand, as if all the facts come from science and on the other hand, as if every other area of life is just personal preference: my favorite music, sports, clothing, my preferred religion, my preferred gender – I think it imperative that we bring out the primacy of God as the Creator/Mind behind the order of the universe and the nature of the human person. We must place science in its proper relationship with philosophy, theology and the Catholic faith, such that the study of the natural world leads our students upward to the higher things of God.
Carol Syzmanski, Fine Arts Faculty
St. John XXIII College Preparatory, Katy, TX
Mentor: Pat Reidy
My hope for being a part of DIA, is to meet and collaborate with other like-minded educators that will support and journey with me as I bring our community together for a project that will involve beautifying our campus with images of our faith. Our community at St. John XXIII would like to enhance our campus with Catholic art, statues, and other visual reminders of our faith. Our vision is that our students, parents, and visitors will encounter God through art and beauty throughout our campus. As a Catholic school, we hope that we are set apart from the world. One way we communicate this is by reflecting God in our buildings, grounds, classrooms, and common areas. Through a mentor, I hope to gain ideas, resources, and strategies for planning and implementing this project to visually increase the Catholic identity on our campus. This would involve funding, planning, and coordinating with a wide group of others who would contribute to this effort. I have been a Catholic educator for 15 years, and believe Catholic education is a valuable gift to our youth. I see lives transformed through Catholic education and hope that through working with DIA, I will gain lasting relationships with others who share in this vocation of Catholic education, and together we will guide the SJ23 community to create a beautiful and inspiring atmosphere that will remain for many years to come.
Megan Lengyel, Chief Academic Officer
Kolbe Academy, Napa, CA
Mentor: Madeline Flanagan
How many times do principals and administrators have to hand just a textbook to a new teacher and let them run with it for a course, or two, or three? It’s a problem of human resources, enrollment numbers, and finances especially for mission-driven smaller Catholic schools where hiring individuals focused on mission cannot be compromised.. Sometimes, we are forced to task our faculty members with teaching all the math or all the humanities. And while a new faculty member might be lucky and have a bounty of resources from a previous teacher, that’s not usually a consistent available resource nor are those resources always something administrators want a new teacher utilizing. This has been a problem faced at Kolbe Academy but also one that many of our Duc in Altum schools face on yearly basis when hiring new teachers or implementing brand new curriculum. What was needed at Kolbe Academy, and what I would guess is needed by many other schools like it, are resources for teachers to help implement curriculum into the classroom.
While it was going to be a huge undertaking, I was approved to use some resources – both human and financial – to work up a full syllabus and scope and sequence for every single online course that we offered that was inline with our school’s mission and vision for educating students in a classical manner with Ignatian pedagogy.
We encountered a few setbacks along the way, but every single course ended up with a full syllabus and scope and sequence by early August. It was a huge undertaking, and what we put out was definitely version 1.0. But it was a huge help when those new teachers walked in the virtual door on August 1st: Here’s your textbooks, here’s your syllabus, and here is your year-long course plan.
We’ll continue to work with our department chairs and teachers to fine tune each year. Some courses will need more tuning than others, which is to be expected. Going forward, this project lends itself to helping the larger Duc in Altum family at large. Schools needing authentically Catholic materials that are academically rigorous will be able to rely on the partnership of Kolbe Academy not only as a resource for books, but for much needed resources for curricular implementation for faculty and staff. The hope is to continue refining in the next year and get these in a very user friendly format for other schools while at the same time improving implementation in our own online school.