The director of Rock Cave is the first teacher in West Virginia to earn the Lowell Milken Center – My Buckhannon Fellowship

BUCKHANNON – A teacher in Upshur County is the first person in West Virginia to receive a fellowship from the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes.

Rock Cave Elementary School Principal Brian Allman will travel to Lowell Milken Center in Fort Scott, Kansas on June 19 to work with other LMC team members for a week.

The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes works with students and teachers to develop landmark projects that highlight role models who demonstrate courage, compassion and respect, according to the center’s website. Students use project-based learning to explore and tell the stories of the unsung heroes who have positively influenced the course of history.

Allman’s journey with the Center began three years ago.

“I won a West Virginia Milken Educator in 2019,” Allman told My Buckhannon. “There were 40 people the year I won — you get a $25,000 cash prize and you join this national network, and that’s how I joined the Milken Educator Network.”

Allman said the award was a big surprise.

“You don’t even know it’s being looked at,” he said. They come to school and surprise you during a meeting. This is how I approached Milken to begin with.”

Now, the collaboration will take it a step further through the fellowship opportunity.

The LMC Fellowship is a merit-based award for educators of all disciplines who appreciate the importance of teaching respect and understanding through project-based learning,” according to a press release. The center selects exemplary educators from the United States and around the world who will collaborate on projects that discover, develop, and communicate the stories of history’s unsung heroes .

Allman became principal of Rock Cave Elementary this year, so he said he was one of the first administrators to receive the fellowship. Each fellow will guide his students to study and produce a project displayed in the center based on an unknown hero of their choice.

“This person can be in your community, it can be in your state, it can be global,” Allman said. “Students are given an assignment under the supervision of selected colleagues, and they work on projects throughout the year. The whole concept behind it is to locate and do research on someone worth highlighting and who didn’t really understand, and then tell their story.”

Students do the work, while the colleague and other teachers facilitate their research.

“I’m going to work with some of the students at Rock Cave, and I’m going to have my teachers on board to make sure that happens,” Allman said. “It will be a little different for me as an administrator, because I was chosen when I was still a teacher. I am one of the first administrators who had the opportunity to do so, so I am excited to discover a way I can support my teachers and students to produce a high-quality project that highlights someone important. , someone who has not received that kind of recognition and meets the true definition of an unsung hero.”

Students will research the person and then produce a website, documentary or play, which will be presented and evaluated by the Lowell Milken Centre. Each submitted project is judged by a fellow, and there is an award for the best project, which is then displayed at the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes.

“The Milken Family Foundation has definitely changed the trajectory of my career,” Allman said. “It provides me with state and national opportunities to really make my students stand out, but it also gives me the opportunity to give back to an area that means a lot to me, education, because I truly believe education opens doors for everyone.

“It starts here in our local neighborhoods, like Rock Cave. I am excited to use these connections to really help my students and push them to produce the best work possible, hoping that it helps prepare them for future projects.”

Allman will encourage his students to carefully plan their first project when they choose an unknown hero.

“It would be interesting to see the kinds of people they would suggest,” he said. “I don’t have anyone specific off the top of my head either, but I’m sure if we do, I’ll be able to come up with examples and show them the people that have been shown in the past.”

However, the final decision is up to the students.

“I really want it to be about the students,” Allman said. “I want them to be able to find someone who deserves that recognition, highlight them, take on a project, and then have me there as a facilitator to help them every step of the way. That’s what I’m excited to do.”

Allman hopes that the projects will teach local students that heroes come from diverse backgrounds.

“I want them to realize that no matter where you are from, you have the power to make a difference,” he said. “All those people who would be researching and studying at some point were just like them. I want them to realize that no matter where they might come from, even if it’s a small community like Rock Cave, they have the potential to make a huge difference, not just on a local level, But at the state level and the national level – on a global level – there is nothing holding them back.”

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