July 15, 2005
Poly teacher Janet Lipson is spending four weeks this summer in Washington, D.C. as a C-SPAN Middle and High School Teacher Fellow.
The honor goes to teachers who demonstrate creative and effective use of the C-SPAN TV network in their teaching. During the fellowship, Lipson, who teaches government, economics and law, is working to create resources for C-SPAN in the Classroom, the network’s free membership service for educators.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, she was featured on the channel’s hour-long "Q&A" program. Her interview featured video clips of Lipson interacting with her students at Poly.
In her first few weeks in Washington, Lipson has seen first-hand the role of the media in political life. She sat in on a Senate committee hearing, enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of the Capitol and watched the filming of C-SPAN's "Washington Journal." She will attend a White House press conference before returning home.
"This experience is invaluable and will help strengthen my teaching of U.S.Government," Lipson said. "I’m looking forward to sharing my new-found knowledge with other social studies teachers."
C-SPAN is a television network that provides public access to the political process, supported by fees from cable and satellite systems that carry C-SPAN programming.
Lipson, who became the first Long Beach Unified teacher to earn National Board Certification in 2001, is one of four fellows named this year, following a competitive and extensive application process. Fellows were chosen by C-SPAN representatives and evaluated based on their innovative use of C-SPAN programming, dedication to learning new technologies and commitment to professional development. She was nominated by Charter Communications Cable of Long Beach.
Lipson began working at C-SPAN’s Washington offices in late June. She is collaborating with C-SPAN in the Classroom staff to develop video, online and print resources for middle and high school social studies teachers nationwide. Materials developed by Lipson and the other fellows will be available online to teachers at www.c-span.org/classroom.
"C-SPAN underscores the idea that primary documents don't have to be 200 years old," Lipson said. "My students look forward to engaging in debates on controversial issues using materials from the website."
Lipson’s award, valued at $6,500, includes travel and housing expenses, and access to resources from the extensive C-SPAN Archives.
"C-SPAN is proud to recognize Janet's commitment to sharing with her students a look at the political process," said Joanne Wheeler, C-SPAN’s vice president of education relations. "We're excited to have her expertise."
C-SPAN in the Classroom supports educators’ use of C-SPAN programming in their classes or for research. Launched in 1987, the service has a membership of more than 17,000 educators who receive teaching guides and access to a toll-free hotline for viewing tips and classroom strategies. In the 2004-05 school year, the program reached more than one million students.
Lipson followed an unusual path to her career in the classroom. Prior to earning her teaching credential, she was an economist in Northern California and also worked as a plumber. She owned a plumbing company in Fairbanks, Alaska for several years.