Teacher at CCS wins Pulitzer fellowship


A Cooperstown Central School teacher has won a fall 2020 Pulitzer Center teaching fellowship.

Chalya Pudlewski, an eighth and ninth grade English teacher, was one of 23 teachers nationwide selected for the honor.

According to a media release, “Pudlewski will be attending workshops with award-winning journalists and developing curriculum materials for a research, journalism and speech and debate unit with CCS students.”

Pudlewski and her students will participate in one half of the project, which will focus on “Media, Misinformation and the Pandemic.” 

“Fellows will explore how under-reported global news can help us — and our students — make local connections to global issues, practice media literacy and build empathy,” the media release said.

Pudlewski told The Daily Star she uses the center for resources while teaching and was excited to apply for their program.

“I had students do a project where they took an under-reported story and used them for a poem,” she said.

When the pandemic hit, she said she wanted to create a program around media information and disinformation, which dovetailed into the Pulitzer criteria.  

“It tied directly into a project I wanted to do with the students,” she said. “That was why I wanted to (apply).” 

Pudlewski grew up in Grand Gorge and graduated from Stamford Central School and Elmira College. She has a master’s degree in education from SUNY Albany. She is the sponsor for Cooperstown’s Lit Mag and Quiz Team. She is also the CCS ninth grade class advisor. 

She said she has been prepping the students to debate about current issues “and the pandemic is one of them.” 

Because of the coronavirus concerns, the program will be virtual, but Pudlewski will join the other 22 fellows for some classes and events as well as discussions with her group. 

“They kept it small,” he said. “There’s only 11 in my cohort and 12 in the other (which will study arts, journalism and justice.)”

The fellows were announced Saturday, Sept. 26, and Pudlewski said she did not know she had been selected from 165 applicants until early September. 

“I had applied in early summer, and they announced it kind of late,” she said. “I had sort of forgotten about it. It was very exciting when I found out.” 

Go to https://pulitzercenter.org/blog/introducing-our-fall-2020-teacher-fellows for more information.

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