The Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott, Kansas, an international educational non-profit, has awarded its prestigious Fellowship to Lana Sawalha, a history teacher at Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, California. Lana Sawalha arrived in Fort Scott on June 19th for a week of collaboration with LMC staff.
The LMC Fellowship is a merit-based award for educators of all disciplines who value the importance of teaching respect and understanding through project-based learning. The Center selects exemplary teachers from the United States and around the world who will collaborate on projects that discover, develop, and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history.
Lana Sawalha is a high school history teacher at Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, CA, where she brings her experience living abroad to connect with her students and create culturally responsive lessons. She builds classroom community through both flexible seating and intentional scaffolding of collaborative discussion. In her time at OCSA, Lana has focused on curriculum development for Global Studies and piloted two new classes this year, Ethnic Studies and Comparative Government. In these classes, she used the tenants of differentiated curriculum to improve the accessibility of academic rigor for all her students.
Lana connects with teachers beyond her school site in order to innovate both her curriculum and instruction. Lana has been awarded two professional development grants at OCSA totaling $1460, and last summer, she was accepted to the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Summer 2021 Institute on a full scholarship. She is most interested in lesson design to enhance student engagement and foster equitable learning, especially noting the challenges students are facing during post-pandemic learning. Lana also supports student achievement beyond the classroom as an advisor to both the Model United Nations and National History Day clubs. When not in school, Lana is a fitness instructor, avid concert-goer, and Down syndrome advocate.
LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, “Lana is an innovative teacher, willing to accept challenges to foster the best learning experiences for students. As a member of our group of 2022 Fellows, she will be a great resource for all of our educators as they seek to use Unsung Heroes throughout history as positive role models for young people today.”
While in Fort Scott, LMC Fellows gain knowledge, educational resources and support in helping students cultivate a passion for learning through the creation of projects that initiate positive change. Fellows will be equipped to develop Unsung Heroes projects with their students, applying and evaluating the stories of these role models who have changed the world throughout history.