Empatico Program

Vradenburg Only Teacher from Nevada in Empathy Program
Posted on 10/02/2019
This is the image for the news article titled Vradenburg Only Teacher from Nevada in Empathy Program

Fifth-grade Teacher Steven Vradenburg at Fremont Elementary School in Carson City was recently offered and selected, one of only 40 teachers in the country and the only teacher from the state of Nevada, to participate in a nationwide fellowship program from Empatico

The fellowship, titled “Empathy in your Backyard” focuses on working with the students in Vradenburg’s classroom on developing empathy skills both at school and out in the community. The program is designed to allow for his students to work collaboratively with students around the world through video interactions and activities designed to foster meaningful connections among students ages 6-11.

Vradenburg’s class will connect with a classroom on the east coast. They will work together to identify societal problems that lack empathy skills and develop solutions for those problems.

“What makes this an amazing opportunity is over 1,000 teachers nationwide applied for their classrooms to participate in it, and only 40 were selected,” Vradenburg said. “Our classroom is the only one from Nevada to be chosen!”

The fellowship will involve teachers throughout the country in a yearlong classroom exchange, engaged in a research project to measure the impact on the development of empathy in their students. Empatico is a nonprofit that provides a free online platform similar to Skype for teachers to connect their students with children in other parts of the country.

Earlier this year, a teacher from New York penned an article for Education Week. The article detailed how his students, following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, held stereotypes on Muslim people. The writer/teacher detailed how the Empatico fellowship may help teachers break harmful stereotypes their students may have and provide added empathy.

“Mr. Vradenburg is a great teacher and deserving of this high honor,” said Richard Stokes, superintendent for the Carson City School District. “Helping our students draw upon commonalities, interests and forms of play often build friendships and breakdown underlining biases and often unknown stereotypes. We’re happy he is representing Nevada in this endeavor.”

The first Empatico video conference for Mr. Vradenburg’s class will be held this Friday, October 4, at 10:30 a.m. Photographers and members of the news media are welcome to attend the meeting and capture the students and teachers interacting and collaborating; however, all media representatives must first coordinate their visit to the school through the school district’s public information officer, Dan Davis, 775-247-6442.