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All Honorees

Use search features below to find honorees by district name, program category, or award cycle.

July 2017

Honoree: Omaha Public Schools Category Professional Development

For years, Omaha’s student achievement was stagnating. The 50,000-plus student district continued to grow—with ELLs increasing and the migrant and refugee population growing. At the same time, the number of low-income families reached 90 percent, based on the number of students qualifying for federal lunch programs.

In the 2011-12 year, the district introduced its Academic Action Plan, with three components:

Honoree: Florence City Schools Category Administrative leadership

Florence City Schools struggled to find leaders and retain them.

Administrators knew that establishing a consistent form of strong leadership would increase student achievement and promote a cohesive culture. So administrators rolled out an initiative called IMPACT80, whereby the district partnered with the University of North Alabama to provide advanced degrees for 80 administrators or teachers who had already worked at the district for at least two years.

Honoree: Palo Alto Unified School District Category College/career readiness

In 2014-15, Palo Alto leaders created the Advanced Authentic Research Program to get high school students thinking about their future careers.

Students are faced with real-world problems and must persevere through ambiguity—common adult experiences.

Honoree: Piscataway Township Schools Category At-risk/ELL

Students speak more than 62 languages at home in Piscataway, New Jersey. So it’s important to immerse limited English-speaking students into conversations and academics, and to provide cultural guidance to their families.

Honoree: Bangor School Department Category STEM

Over the next five years, one in seven new jobs in Maine will be in STEM-related areas, according to the Maine STEM Collaborative March 2012 report.

As a result, the Bangor School Department created STEM Academy at Bangor High School in 2013-14, focusing on increasing student interest in engineering.

Honoree: Oxford Township School District Category Social-emotional learning

A special social-emotional learning (SEL) program first sprouted from a tree-like “superhero.” Oxford Central School’s program sprouted from the “superhero” called Rootman, who showcased the values developed by the New Jersey district’s K8 students and staff.

Honoree: Rolling Hills Local School District Category College/career readiness

To provide increased academic rigor for students, the Rolling Hills Local School District partnered with 10 local colleges to offer up to 50 courses via distance learning.

The district created the Colt College and Career Center with three distance-learning labs and a collaboration space where students earn college credit at no cost.

Rolling Hills also offers face-to-face and online courses from five colleges and universities.

Honoree: Burton School District Category College/career readiness

In the small farming town of Tulare, many students and parents don’t know how to navigate the college system—which often leads to students failing to seek higher ed options.

Honoree: Colton-Pierrepont Central School District Category Professional Development

The Colton-Pierrepont Central School District wanted to expose all students to college campuses. And leaders wanted young students to learn from high school graduates how to successfully transition beyond high school.

With teamwork being a big part of sports, the district turned to its schools’ sports mascot, the colt, for inspiration and created COLTS (Citizenship, Opportunity, Literacy, Technology and Safety) Days in 2013-14.

Honoree: Peekskill City School District Category ELL

ELLs gained new ground when Peekskill High School in New York created bilingual classes.

Peekskill City School District, which had lacked any bilingual classes in high school or middle school, created an ELL council complete with stakeholders from the community in the 2015-16 school year.

District leaders then visited schools in several states to see other programs at work. And they committed to finding bilingual teachers to have classes taught in Spanish.

Honoree: Creighton School District Category Health and wellness

The Creighton School District, located in a low socioeconomic community where 89 percent of its students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, combats hunger through a newly developed Supper Nutrition Program.

Honoree: Borough Public School District Category Social-emotional learning

Wharton Borough schools wants to ensure all students and their families—including transients from Central America—feel welcome and become active in the education community.

The district partnered in 2015-16 with the United Way and College of St. Elizabeth to create a student group named Duffy Force. It consists of  students in grades 3 through 5 who developed, with teacher help, homeroom activities and character building core values videos for others to view.

Honoree: Palos School District 118 Category Problem-solving/Blended learning

Eighth-graders at Palos School District 118 are problem-solvers for their community.

When the district faced new state learning standards a few years ago, leaders knew they had to enhance the middle school curriculum to provide critical-thinking skills and to teach students how to better communicate and collaborate.

Honoree: Schaumburg SD54 Category At-risk/ELL

Having students achieve reading fluency by the end of third grade is an important goal for the Schaumburg School District in Illinois—and that also includes ELLs.

The district’s language and culture department developed a writing curriculum for a 10-week, after-school assistance program for ELLs in grades 2 through 8.

Honoree: Harrisonburg City Public Schools Category At-risk/ELL

When administrators at Harrisonburg City Public Schools saw performance gaps between ELL and non-ELL students in 2012, they started a dual-language (English and Spanish) kindergarten classroom.

It has since grown to five K6 schools for more than 600 students and was recently expanded to include a K12 newcomers initiative for recent immigrants who don’t speak English.

Honoree: Amarillo ISD Category At-risk/ELL

A high school counselor in the Amarillo ISD, of which 70 percent of the student population cannot afford to attend college, set a goal for every student in Caprock High School’s senior class to apply to at least one college before graduating.

Honoree: Vancouver Public Schools Category Administrative leadership

After Vancouver Public Schools created a weLearn 1-to-1 initiative—which delivered thousands of hours of PD to classroom teachers—administrators realized they needed to support and challenge instructional leaders in the same ways.

Honoree: Highland Park School District Category Community/family partnerships

Transgender and gender-nonconforming students at Highland Park School District weren’t provided with any guarantees for a safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment.

So district administrators created the Gender Identity Protection Policy in 2015-16, an initiative that allows transgender and transitioning students in pre-K through 12 access to any school bathroom, locker room or school program based on their affirmed gender.

Honoree: Sandusky City Schools Category College/career readiness

Students are transitioning into an era in which global connections and awareness are keys to success post-graduation. That’s why Sandusky City School initiated its homegrown Global Internship Program (GIP) for high school students.

Initiated in the 2015-16 school year, the initiative teaches students about the impact globalization and innovation have on industry and economic stability.

Honoree: McKinney ISD Category Pre-K STEAM lab

Playing with fire in the Lawson Early Childhood School has a whole new meaning—and it’s a good thing. In McKinney ISD in Texas, students as young as 3 are learning lifelong math and science skills by designing structures, coding robots and conducting science experiments.

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