FARMINGTON — A Farmington High School teacher-librarian is preparing to spend four months in the United Kingdom after being awarded a distinguished teaching award to bring the best teaching and education practices back from across the pond.
Kyla Johnson has been awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching grant by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board to conduct research in the United Kingdom.
"I just feel like I'm floating through the air," Johnson said about winning the award.
According to a Fulbright program press release, Johnson is one of 43 teachers nationwide selected to travel abroad during the 2014-2015 school year.
Johnson said the goal of her trip will be to learn the best practices from grade schools and colleges in the United Kingdom to bring back to America while sharing our efforts in the library science field.
"You develop what they call a capstone project and it has to be related to best practices," Johnson said. "So I'm going over there to see what their best practices are for teacher-librarians and how do they prepare their teacher-librarians."
U.S. teachers are facing changes brought by the switch to the Common Core curriculum and an increased focus on information literacy. Johnson said she is interested in how teacher-librarians in the U.K. are handling change.
"Are they going through the same thing? Especially since the U.K. is considered the seed of western literature," Johnson said. "Are they moving away from their emphasis on literature in their collections and toward more non-fiction informational text? Is it shifting towards more online literacy over the old fashion books?"
Johnson will be on leave from Farmington High for four months starting in January 2015. Where she will be visiting during her fellowship has not been finalized yet.
Farmington High Principal Tim Kienitz, in the recommendation email he wrote for Johnson, covered her annual grant writing to obtain library books or technology funds, her participation in the school's leadership team and the help she provides to the school's literacy programs.
"The Fulbright program is well respected and known across the world, and this will allow Ms. Johnson some opportunities to share her experience and knowledge in the school and the community," Kienitz said in an email. "She already is a role model to students and staff, and this would further that example to others who would aspire to accomplish great things."
Farmington High French teacher Suzanne Holman said Johnson has proven to be a friend and colleague who has demonstrated intellectual and moral integrity.
"At FHS, Kyla has great patience in assisting students and teachers in research methods and source-finding. As a avid reader, I admire her abilities in increasing literacy at FHS," Holman said in an email.