Warren Pemsler

McKinley South End Academy, Boston MA

Explore London's street art, contemporary art, and theatre communities to develop in-depth units about playwrights and artists that prepare students to create four large, school murals in collaboration with Boston Public School’s pilot Fab Lab.

Where I've Been

  • London, England

My Fellowship in Images

Mark Rothko Art (We saw a play about him as well)
Banksy Street Art
Even dumpsters have street art!
Chris and Ari viewing street art
Tate Britain Museum after meeting education department
"Guns Don't take selfies" with Ari and myself

Your Personal and Professional Growth

How have your knowledge, skills and capabilities grown?

Firstly, I am much more familiar with street art styles and how they are incorporated into a neighborhood. Secondly, I was exposed to new strategies on how to enhance our visits to museums to maximize the student's experiences with the art and artist(s). Lastly, we have new ideas on how to bring our plays to life and connect them to student's experiences.

As a result, in what ways will your instructional practice change?

I will be further embedding the two strands of our curriculum, art and theater, throughout our studies this year. We will be explicitly connecting them together in new and exciting ways which we believe will engage students and make the learning more impactful.

What is the greatest personal accomplishment of your fellowship?

Honestly, it was the collaboration with my colleagues that brought out new energy and ideas. By immersing ourselves in the content we teach, meeting with professionals who do similar things in London, and talking, we have planned new avenues to make our curriculum more vital to our students. After 28 years of teaching, I feel like I am embarking on a journey that will sustain me professionally and personally for years to come! I couldn't be more thankful!!!

Impact on Your Classroom, School and Community

How will your experiences positively impact student learning in new ways?

As mentioned above, we will be connecting the two strands of our curriculum, which will bring more depth to our student's experiences. Also, we are creating four large murals, so the students will be engaged in more art projects that will be both inspiring, and connected to our studies. I believe it will increase their cultural capital in tangible ways.

What are your plans for working collaboratively with colleagues?

Firstly, we collaborate all year already. What this grant has done is to make the collaboration more impactful because we were able to really dive deep into our plans for this year's curriculum and now it will expand to projects that will involve more students and the wider school community.

Imagining the Future

How do you envision celebrating of your students’ new learning?

We are going to create four large murals on our building of the artists and playwrights we read and admire. This will lead to four "openings" for the school and neighborhood. There will also be t-shirts made so students can show off their work to the wider world.

Are there issues or challenges in your school, community or the greater world about which you and your students might try to make a difference?

Our students struggle to feel like an important part of the wider community. Our goal is to increase their confidence and make them feel like greater stakeholders in the wider Boston community. I also believe these experiences will increase their self-esteem and help them feel comfortable to take advantage of the amazing opportunities available to them in our city.

How would you describe to a friend or a grant funder the most fundamental ways in which your fellowship has changed your personal and/or professional perspective?

As I have said publically many times, I believe that FFT makes me feel like a professional who is valued by the wider community. This is an important counterweight to the negativity towards the teaching profession over the past decade or two. The grants I have received have energized me in ways that have a direct impact on my students, school community, and myself. Despite teaching three decades I feel mega excited about this school year and FFT is the major reason for that extra energy.