M. Terry / SFVS

Kennedy High School teachers Holly Avdul and Scott Petri.

ASCD, the Virginia-based nonprofit formerly known as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, has named Dr. Scott Petri, a history teacher at John F. Kennedy High School, as one of 17 teachers nationwide to receive the first-ever ASCD Teacher Impact Grants.

The grants, which were announced at a White House ceremony in May, are the first of their kind in the United States, “directly fund teacher leadership initiatives to drive transformation and improve student outcomes,” according to the company’s release.

 Each of the awardees —who hail from 14 different states —is a teacher/leader who spends at least 50 percent of his or her time in a classroom setting. Petri is the only selectee from a California school.

“Teachers across the country are hungry for opportunities to lead, and given the right resources and support, we know they can transform learning experiences and change students’ lives,” said Deborah S. Delisle, ASCD Executive Director and CEO.

Petri’s grant award is $5,000. The grants will be distributed in August, and each project will be planned and executed during the 2016-17 academic year.

His grant enables Petri to purchase what he called “video capture” technology that enables a microphone to connect to a smart phone or iPad and record audio from one voice while eliminating other external surrounding noise.

Petri — who worked on the grant proposal with fellow Kennedy teachers Holly Avdul and Duncan Scrymgeour — said the teachers here have been looking for a way to “unify” the history and English curriculums at the school.

“One of the complications, we realized, is that students are being asked to do is ‘write, write, write,’ but then they struggle when they stand and try to present something,” Petri said. “They needed help in learning how to be effective speakers and effective listeners.”

“When you have a class of 35 kids, it can be hard to record just the one speaker. Usually you have 35 voices all over, and you can barely here the one person in the background. This allows us to capture the student speaker, and they can then watch their video with us and get a sense of their performance.”

There were 580 applications submitted and the winning proposals were selected through a peer review process completed by a panel of current and former classroom teachers associated with ASCD, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and the U.S. Department of Education.

Teacher Impact Grants are administered by ASCD and financially supported by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

— Mike Terry