Excellence In Education Awards Honor Virginia's Most Innovative Teaching Programs

BLACKSBURG, Va., June 4, 2003 – The College of Human Sciences and Education's Excellence in Education Committee has once again identified exemplary public schools and community college programs across the Commonwealth. Because of budget cuts at both higher education and public school levels, a moratorium continues on the two-day conference where previously, winning programs were presented and exhibited.

Award winners still receive plaques; while certificate of recognition winners receive framed awards. Out of 62 proposals received, there were 12 winners while 7 others earned certificates of recognition.

Judges look for programs that are innovative, creative, effective, unique, replicable, are of significant importance to the student community, and demonstrate a positive cost-benefit relationship. Nominations may represent the entire range of services or practices (e.g. instructional programs, student services, career education, staff development, retention programs, etc.)

2003 Excellence in Education Award Winners

Charlottesville City Schools - Charlottesville High School

Oral History Project - Geraldine D. Kruger

Tenth grade students interviewed senior citizens about a period in history that their senior partners remembered most. Eventually they made books that included descriptions, narratives, research, and short stories about the era. These were presented to their senior partners at a party.

Henrico County Public Schools - Brookland Middle School

Brookland Middle Building Community Through Service and Education -Ruth Matthews

Brookland Middle School students partner with "Pennies for Heaven." The benefits to "Pennies for Heaven" were obvious: a database, food, blankets, work boots, and back packs. The benefits to the students were surprising! The best lesson learned was a new confidence about helping others less fortunate!

Henrico County Public Schools - Freeman, Hermitage, and Varina High Schools

Teacher Intern Program -Barb Hancock-Henley and Mary Dick

The Teacher Intern Program was first offered in Henrico County Public Schools 2002-03 in response to the state teacher shortage. The primary goal of the Teacher Intern Program is to encourage academically able students who possess exemplary interpersonal and leadership skills to consider teaching as a career. An important secondary goal of the program is to provide these talented future community leaders with insights about teachers and schools so that they will become better civic advocates of education. This project had resulted in the Teacher Intern students becoming an intrinsic part of our school system. The student-centered curriculum is designed to teach the students about the learner, the school system, and the teacher and teaching.

Henry County School System

Professional Partnerships in Mentoring-Focusing Students' Career Choices - Career Development Department

Authentic learning experiences abound for Henry County students participating in Career Development Programs. Participants begin in the eighth grade by doing a one-day job shadowing and by their senior year can choose to complete a one credit, "Oh Henry" Internship with a mentor from the business/professional community.

King William County Public Schools - Cool Spring Primary School

"Read, Feed, Succeed" - Beverly Young

"Read, Feed, Succeed" with "Reedy Rabbit" is a literacy project, which promotes the belief that strong parental involvement correlates to student success. The planned family events help parents to develop confidence in their abilities to work with their children to develop reading skills and interests.

Norfolk City Public Schools - Alternative Program for Middle and High Schools

Best-Keys: The Power of Partnerships - John C. Osteen

In response to overage-for-grade students' needs, an alternative program partnership between Tidewater Community College and Norfolk Public Schools led to the development of the Best-Keys Alternative Training Program. The program had enhanced student knowledge and skills by helping them to master basic skills, to learn positive methods of problem solving, and to master basic technology applications. The outcome has been improved student attendance, behavior, and retention in school. Significant is the assurance that the program is replicable to other locations across the country.

Norfolk Public Schools - Maury High School

The Magnet School for Medical and Health Studies at Maury High School -Michael Spencer and Denise Alberti

The Magnet School for Medical and Health Studies is offered jointly by Norfolk Public Schools and Eastern Virginia Medical School. The program is designed to support a diverse student population not only with the educational background but the practical experiences in authentic science research and community service learning for entry into an advanced medical career.

Norfolk Public Schools - Maury High School

Mentoring A New Generation of Teachers - Melissa George

The Mentoring A New Generation of Teachers program was established to increase retention of teachers and provide on-going support during the first years of teaching. Mentors provide on-going support to improve the quality of teaching and the quality of life in the teaching profession. Research proves that experience fosters success.

Norfolk Public Schools - Young Park Elementary

Excellence By Choice - Dr. Laguna O. Foster

Young Park Elementary became committed to meeting state and local academic standards through concentrating on literacy and accepting the responsibility for building life-long learners. Through research-based instructional strategies, data driven decision-making, and community involvement, academic rigor in the classroom and supporting educational experiences accomplished this goal.

Northampton County Public Schools - Northampton High School

Build A Future Workforce - John E. Downing

Northampton County Public Schools and Habitat for Humanity formed a partnership to provide adequate housing to Northampton County residents and offer a career opportunity for high school students. Building Trades students, as they acquire construction skills, provide the labor while Habitat for Humanity provides the plans and the building materials.

Radford City Schools - McHarg Elementary School

Book Buddies - B. Keith Rowland, Treva H. Kent

Book Buddies provides individualized reading instruction to selected first graders who failed to reach the PALS Benchmark as determined by the fall PALS test. The program supervisor trains interns from Radford University to tutor with these at-risk students to meet the goals of their Individualized Educational Plans. Weekly communication and conferencing between parents, tutors, classroom teachers, and the program supervisor is key to the success of the program.

Waynesboro Public Schools - Kate Collins Middle School

THRIVE - Forrest Burgdorf

THRIVE began as a year-long orientation and staff development plan for new teachers at Kate Collins Middle School in Waynesboro. Two years later, this voluntary activity involves both new and experienced teachers in an ongoing discussion group where colleagues learn together and support each other, both professionally and personally.