Oscars of Teaching

They call it the “Oscars of Teaching”.  Since 1985 the Milken Family Foundation has awarded the Milken Educator Award to celebrate outstanding teachers.  The Foundation’s website explains that — unlike most teacher recognition programs — the Milken Educator Awards has no formal nomination or application process.  Candidates, instead, are nominated by an independent committee appointed by participating state departments of education.  The winning teachers are then surprised with the award at school-wide assemblies.

With more than 1,400 students and faculty gathered in the gym at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, WA, teacher Nathan Gibbs-Bowling was awarded Washington’s 2013-14 Milken Educator Award.  Gibbs-Bowling teaches AP Government and AP Human Geography.  Across the country, in 40 participating states, outstanding secondary teachers will also be surprised with the award which also carries a $25,000 cash prize.

The foundation provided the following video of Gibbs-Bowling talking about how he inspires his students.

 

The Oregonian reports that Robert Gray Middle School teacher Teresa Chan Seidel (see photo) also took home the Milken Educator Award this year.  Her award was also presented at a high-profile school-wide assembly  Foundation co-founder, and former securities trader, Mike Milken presented the award to Seidel, who is pregnant with her third child.

Did you have a teacher who inspired you?  Let us know by signing our Yearbook.

(Photo Credit: Nicole Dungca / The Oregonian.) 

Fishman Prize Winners Announced

Out of more than 820 applicants, only four teachers across the country have been awarded the 2014 Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice.  They are:

  • Kelly Zunkiewicz
    Earl J. Lennard High School
    Tampa, FL
  • Laura Strait
    Aspire ERES Academy
    Oakland, CA
  • Michael Towne
    Citrus Hill High School
    Perris, CA
  • Steven Sanders
    UIC College Prep
    Chicago, IL

Semifinalists had to submit teaching videos and agree to unannounced classroom observations.  Each winner will receive $25,000 and will participate in an intensive summer residency.  During the residency, they will reflect on their classroom practices and share their experiences with other educators.

The Fishman Prize is awarded by TNTP, a nonprofit organization that works with schools in an effort to bring the best teachers to those socioeconomic groups that traditionally struggle with educational issues.  “The New Teacher Project” was founded by teachers in 1997.

The editor of OurGreatTeachers.com is proud to be Ms. Zunkiewicz’s colleague within the Hillsborough County Public School system.

Students Become Millionaires (sort of)

For the past three years, Hemlock Elementary School, in Fontana, CA, has encouraged their students to read at least a million words.

Students must past a computerized test when they finish reading a book. After passing the test, the number of words in that book are added to an on-going tally. The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports that, as of May 19th, nine students have met the challenge. They are:

  1. Valerie Villanueva
  2. Jackson Randle
  3. Victor Lee
  4. Isaiah Duran
  5. Andrew Huang
  6. Nnaemeka Okonkwo
  7. Jeremiah Johnson
  8. Fred Tran
  9. Damien Amaya

Teacher, Hank Rager, told the paper that the program is working well.  He says, “We want them to get into the habit of reading, but we also want them to enjoy reading.”

Hemlock Elementary School is a part of the Fontana Unified School District, whose mission is to “graduate all students prepared to succeed in a changing world.”

Teachers Honored at Florida History Fair

Teachers and students alike were recognized May 6th for their outstanding contributions to the study and analysis of history.  The Florida History Fair announced the following winners:

TEACHERS:

Melissa Robertson, Teacher of Merit Award
Ms. Robertson teaches European History, American History, and technology at McKeel Academy of Technology, Lakeland.  This is her third year participating in the Florida History Fair.

Leslie Porges, Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award, Junior Division
Ms. Porges teaches U.S. history and civics at American Heritage School, Plantation.  This is her 12th year participating in the Florida History Fair.

Dennis Dill, Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award, Senior Division
Mr. Dill teaches social studies and technology at McKeel Academy of Technology, Lakeland.  This is also his 12th year participating in the Florida History Fair.

For student winners click here.

Each year since 1988 the Museum of Florida History sponsors the Florida History Fair.  Students in grades 6-12 researched the given theme, using both primary and secondary sources and presented their findings in a variety of ways, including written papers, exhibits, performances, or even websites.  This year’s theme was “Rights and Responsibilities in History”, a topic that was open to interpretation by entrants.  Students were free to focus on areas that interested them, such as politics, science, the arts, etc.

2014 Florida History Fair Winners Announced

Each year since 1988 the Museum of Florida History sponsors the Florida History Fair.  Students in grades 6-12 researched the given theme, using both primary and secondary sources and presented their findings in a variety of ways, including written papers, exhibits, performances, or even websites.  This year’s theme was “Rights and Responsibilities in History”, a topic that was open to interpretation by entrants.  Students were free to focus on areas that interested them, such as politics, science, the arts, etc.

Several teachers were also singled out for honors.  Click here to read our story about these great teachers.

Meanwhile, here are the students that came in first place in their respective categories:

FIRST PLACE STUDENT WINNERS:

  • Junior Historical Paper
    • Sara Buchanan
    • Gideon v. Wainwright: The Right to Counsel
    • Bellview Middle School
    • Teacher: Tina Witbracht
  • Senior Historical Paper
    • Jared Hirschfeld
    • Israeli Palestinian Diplomacy: UN Resolution 242
    • Shorecrest Preparatory School
    • Teacher: Ronald Heller
  • Junior Individual Documentary
    • Langston Oliver
    • Turning the Tide: The owed of Kids in the Civil Rights Movement
    • Lavilla School of the Arts
    • Teacher: Brian Topping
  • Junior Group Documentary
    • Josh Ciarlariello, Evan Bouck, Joshua Macri
    • The Atomic Responsibility
    • Community Christian School (Leon)
    • Teacher: Matt ROot
  • Senior Individual Documentary
    • Madeline Bookout
    • An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Responsible Politics
      and the Civil Rights Act of 1964
    • Gulf Breeze High School
    • Teacher: Grace Freeman
  • Senior Group Documentary
    • Hannah Schelle, Cristina Teems
    • Our Rights and Responsibilities: Exploring Civil Disobedience 
    • American Heritage School Boca Delray
    • Teachers: Kristy Mangone, Cindy Glover
  • Junior Individual Performance
    • Cloe Whipple
    • Tea, Textiles, and Tyranny: The British East India Company
    • Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School
    • Teachers: Laura Gibson, Joshua Roberson
  • Junior Group Performance
    • Justin Diaz, Nicholas Albiza, Avery Tallman
    • The Tale of Richard the Tricky and the Leak that Would not Keep
    • All Angels Academy
    • Teacher: Terry Davila-Alexander
  • Senior Individual Performance
    • Amos Jackson III
    • 8 Days of Praying & Thinking: Letter From a Birmingham Jail
    • American Heritage School Boca Delray
    • Teacher: Cindy Glover
  • Senior Group Performance
    • Elliott Riches, Zach Weisberg
    • Pitts and Lee v. Florida: How One Reporter Fought for Others’ Rights
    • American Heritage School Plantation
    • Teacher: Leslie Porges
  • Junior Individual Exhibit
    • Jacob Ferris
    • Poverty To Sovereignty
    • Gulf Breeze Middle School (Santa Rosa)
    • Teacher: Grace Freeman
  • Junior Group Exhibit
    • Cali Cortelli, Logan Roberts
    • Lewis Hine: Child Labor
    • American Heritage School Plantation (Broward)
    • Teacher: Leslie Porges
  • Senior Individual Exhibit
    • Holly Gorton
    • Pullman Porters Pave the Way for Civil Rights
    • Pensacola High School (Escambia)
    • Teacher: Wm. Blevins Rose
  • Senior Group Exhibit
    • Sujaya Rajguru, Samantha Kunin, Ashley Mathew
    • The First Ms. with the Right to an M.D.: Elizabeth Blackwell
    • International Baccalaureate School at Bartow High School (Polk)
    • Teacher: Ted Wright
  • Junior Individual Web Site
    • Sophie Aguilar
    • American Military Women of World War II
    • Chiles Middle School (Seminole)
    • Teacher: Jennifer Capp
  • Junior Group Web Site
    • Andrew Kolondra, Kishan Patel
    • Freedom Beach: A History of the Fort Lauderdale Beach Wade-Ins
    • American Heritage School Plantation (Broward)
    • Teacher: Leslie Porges
  • Senior Individual Web Site
    • Amy Paskiewicz
    • Korematsu v. United States:
      Fighting for Rights, Facing 
      Responsibilities
    • Palm Harbor University High School (Pinellas)
    • Teachers: Jason Tsardoulias, Shaun Falcon
  • Senior Group Web Site
    • Drew Anderson, Sarah Fuller
    • Photography with a Purpose:
      Lewis Hine and the Fight Against Child Labor
    • Pensacola Catholic High School (Escambia)
    • Teacher: Eric Nelson

For a comprehensive list of winners, including those that placed second and third, click here.