Each year, The Windward School honors one exemplary faculty member with the Isabel Greenbaum Stone Master Teacher Award. The Windward community submits nominations, and the final winner is chosen by a committee consisting of the head of school and the supervisors who evaluate classroom teaching at Windward. The winner of this prestigious award receives a significant grant for study and/or travel relating to their teaching.
In the 2017-18 school year, Ms. Laura Bellizzi was the recipient of the Stone Master Teacher Award. A faculty member at Windward’s Manhattan Middle School campus, Ms. Bellizzi also plays an active role in the Windward community outside the classroom as the Social Studies Chairperson for the Manhattan campus and as an advisor for Student Council. She is also a mentor teacher for new faculty members and assistant teachers.
After receiving the Stone Award, Ms. Bellizzi was given a grant to pursue a professional development opportunity related to her course load at Windward. She took this opportunity to explore topics that she has focused on for lessons in her Grade 8 Social Studies classes. During the summer of 2018, she traveled to Hawaii to research the Pearl Harbor attack and the Hawaiian Monarchy.
During her travels, Ms. Bellizzi toured Pearl Harbor and visited the USS Arizona Memorial where 1,177 soldiers lay entombed. She also toured the USS Missouri, which is the ship where the Japanese formally surrendered to Douglas MacArthur and the Allied forces in September of 1945. Ms. Bellizzi also visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the “Punch Bowl.” Countless veterans of war lay to rest there, one of which being President Barrack Obama’s grandfather, Stanley Armour Dunham, who served in World War II.
To learn more about the Hawaiian Monarchy, Ms. Bellizzi visited the Iolani Palace in Honolulu. This is where the Hawaiian royal family lived until overthrown by U.S. sugar planters during the 1800s.
Ms. Bellizzi took this professional development opportunity to learn more about the lessons she teaches her students and is happy to have a first-hand account of these important places to share with her classes.