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All Honorees

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

March 2016

Honoree: Bristol City Schools Category Student achievement

Trained volunteers read to Bristol City Schools’ youngest students in an effort to put them on a promising life path. 

The volunteers do not teach students to read. Instead, they read to and with the students, who are in kindergarten through second grade. The district launched the program in 2013 when data revealed that only one in four third-graders at one of its Title I elementary schools were reading at grade level.

Honoree: Austin ISD Category Professional development

Some call Austin the “live music capital of the world,” but educators realized that not all students in the city’s public school system had access to the same rich cultural experiences in and outside their classrooms.

The 83,500-student district launched the Creative Learning Initiative in 2013 to cement funding and inject quality arts instruction into the core curriculum—a step administrators saw as a critical step in ensuring equity and academic success.

Honoree: Fremont School District 79 Category Innovative building design/philosophy

With students creating their own places to engage in digital learning in hallways, corners and vestibules at Fremont Middle School, administrators made room for such creative activities by developing large and small group spaces—collectively named the Wildcat D.E.N. (Digital learning, Exploration and Networking).

Honoree: Anchorage School District Category Student wellness and achievement

Healthy students get better grades. That’s why administrators at the Anchorage School District opened health clinics to expand health care access to two middle schools that serve underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students.

The district’s School-Based Health Centers began offering medical care at Clark Middle School in 2010 and at Begich Middle School in 2014. Behavioral health services were added at the latter school in 2015.

Honoree: Medina and Lyndonville central school districts Category Public/private partnerships

When talk of a school merger between two small upstate New York districts near Lake Ontario didn’t pan out a few years ago, the next best thing was to share services.

Faced with declining enrollments and a shrinking fund base, the Medina and Lyndonville school districts combined resources four years ago to offer more opportunities for students and staff.

Honoree: Marlborough Public Schools Category STEM

Building a STEM program in a New England district—where more than half the students qualified for free or reduced-price meals—seemed at first like a difficult goal for Marlborough Public Schools.

But the job market was ripe for the program. The Marlborough area has the second largest concentration of health care jobs in Massachusetts and is home to 30 percent of the state’s technology jobs.

Honoree: Texarkana ISD Category STEM

Upon launching an extensive K12 STEM program, Texarkana ISD partnered with Texas A&M University-Texarkana to design a professional development model, training teachers and administrators in the design, delivery and monitoring of a rigorous, research-based STEM curriculum.

Honoree: Westminster School District Category Student achievement

Nearly half of southern California’s Westminster School District’s 9,500 students are English language learners—2,000 of whom speak Vietnamese.

This school year, the district created the state’s first Vietnamese dual-language immersion program to preserve the population’s heritage and foster bilingual education. It is the fourth such program in the United States.

Honoree: Coachella Valley USD Category BYOD 1-to-1 or other district-wide technology initiative

With students spending an average of 45 minutes (and some up to four hours) on the bus each day, the rural Coachella Valley USD equipped vehicles with wireless routers that provide more than 200 extra learning hours per year.

Honoree: Pomona USD Category Public/private partnerships

In 2005, the community and administrators from Pomona USD in southern California created a cradle-to-graduation community education program to combat decades of student gang violence.

The Youth and Family Master Plan brings together administrators, parents, higher education, and community and health organizations to ensure the 25,250 students have every opportunity for academic and social success.

Honoree: Allegheny Valley School District Category STEM

The youngest students get a jump-start on innovation and collaboration in Allegheny Valley schools’ recently opened MakerSpace.

The small school system outside Pittsburgh aspired a few years ago to increase students’ interest in the STEAM subjects, and focused on teaching teamwork, critical thinking and communication skills to students in K3.

November 2015

Honoree: Armada Area Schools Category College/career readiness

Armada Area Schools, a district of nearly 2,000 students in rural Michigan, increased student college acceptance rates from 44 percent in 2009 to more than 96 percent in 2015 thanks to an initiative known as #ACCEPTED.

The district partnered with the local Macomb Community College, allowing students to take online college courses. Armada also added additional AP and dual-enrollment courses, and began hosting weekend visits to universities across the state.

Honoree: Palos Verdes Peninsula USD Category STEM

Palos Verdes Peninsula USD in 2001 became one of the first districts in the nation to launch a high school engineering and robotics program.

It was called Building a Bright Future through Universal STEM Education.

Over the past decade, STEM has expanded to all schools in the Los Angeles County district, with courses in energy transfer, robotics and computer programming starting in elementary school.

Honoree: Tulsa Public Schools Category Professional development

Teachers were leaving Tulsa schools in large numbers for suburban districts that had smaller classes and higher salaries. Starting in 2012, under former Superintendent Keith Ballard, the district developed a teacher recruitment campaign.

Honoree: Ballston Spa Central School District Category STEM

To meet New York’s growing job needs, Ballston Spa Central School District launched Clean Technologies & Sustainable Industries Early College High School in fall 2011 to serve students interested in tech careers.

Honoree: Lincoln Public Schools Category College/career readiness

It started with the business community in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Local business and industry leaders wanted to grow and expand, but they lacked skilled employees.

Three years ago, they approached Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Joel about what the district could do. Joel formed a coalition of local leaders that included the president of local Southeast Community College to create the Career Academy.

Honoree: Salt Lake City School District Category Health and wellness

More than 60 percent of Salt Lake City School District’s 25,000 students live in poverty. To ensure all of their needs are met and they are ready to learn at all ages, administrators created a community learning center to provide health and job coaching to students and their families.

The district now has two such centers, named Community Learning Centers, with plans to build a third.

Honoree: Howard County Public School System Category Student achievement

A new elementary school model designed by Howard County Public Schools in Maryland aims to close racial and economic achievement gaps, and enhance instruction for all students.

The intent of the “Elementary School Model” launched at two pilot schools in 2014-15 is to deploy the latest research on how children learn best to “shift away from the deficit-focused approach that has long dominated American education, toward an asset-based model that opens opportunities for all students.”

Honoree: Lancaster ISD

Seven years ago, Lancaster ISD was in crisis. The school board was dysfunctional, the financial standing was uncertain, and some schools failed to meet adequate yearly progress. In 2010, Michael McFarland took over as superintendent. Two years later, Lancaster educators had designed and finished a framework for ensuring all students have access to a quality STEM education.

Honoree: Ossining Union Free School District Category Early learning

Ossining Union Free School District, located about an hour north of New York City, offers all children in the community early enrichment and foundational literacy activities to better prepare them for academic achievement later in life.

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