Charleigh Romero-Rodriguez is being honored through the 2020 Hispanic Heritage Foundation Awards for her efforts in social justice, presented by Nike. In the award's program (p. 26), Rodriguez's passion for equity is highlighted, stating "she feels firmly that everyone should be appreciated for who they are and who they choose to be". She works on the YWCA Junior board, helping women who face abuse. Rodrigues has used her time during the pandemic to read to children over Zoom and form pen-pal relationships with those in nursing homes.
Bonita Webb has been going above and beyond to support her students for more than 20 years, which is one of the many reasons why the Kent School District named her the 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year in Kent. Webb, an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher, started teaching in the district in 1991 and has since played an important role in opening the ELL center at Cedar Heights. She also helps train new teachers as part of the Washington Education Association and University of Washington’s Culturally Responsive Teacher Series collaboration.
The phrase "learning loss" is everywhere in articles and discussions about COVID’s impact on education. Many teachers, however, have concerns about how that phrase is being interpreted by policymakers now and what the responses to that interpretation could look like in the fall.
Geri Chaffee is the founder of Dreamers Academy, Sarasota’s new dual language immersion (Spanish/English) K-5 public charter school. It is scheduled to open in August. In this column about kindergarten, she writes, "This is a foundational time when tapping into (children's) immense potential with enriching activities, especially reading and writing, is essential to helping them manage increasingly complex academic content in the future."
Six years into her career teaching English as a second language, Minnetonka Public Schools educator Anna Bjork is being recognized with an international award. The 28-year-old teacher was recently named to the International Literacy Association’s biennial 30 Under 30 list, which shines a spotlight on the next generation of leaders working to create positive change in the global literacy landscape.
Denise Jensen teaches New Mexico History and Navajo Culture at Navajo Preparatory School, in the northwest corner of New Mexico. The private, International Baccalaureate college-prep school established for Native American students serves about 265 teenagers from the Navajo Nation and other tribal nations. Most live at the school when it’s in session. But when Navajo Prep went all-remote last March, Jensen saw with painful clarity the struggles her students face daily to do their schoolwork from home. Jensen told her story to Catherine Gewertz, senior contributing writer.
For the sixth year in a row, WEAU is partnering with the Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation to honor one outstanding educator or staff member in each of the twenty Eau Claire schools with a Golden Apple Award. Putnam Heights Elementary principal Diana Lesneski presented ELL teacher Sarah Stovern with the Golden Apple Award with her family and peers there to show their support.
Nominee for education secretary Miguel Cardona vowed at his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to help schools reopen safely and ensure educators and students have the support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Cardona did not take a firm position on the role of standardized tests during the pandemic, and in general tried to stake out positions on controversial issues such as the rights of transgender students without seeming combative.