Conference Awards & Recognitions
2009 RAPSA Award Winners
Marilyn Myers Earns At-Promise Administrator of the Year Award
Dr. Marilyn Myers, of the Florida Virtual School, has a long history of serving her community’s most “at-promise” students. As a teacher, teacher-leader, and administrator in a high poverty school, Dr. Myers’ reputation as an educator is unsurpassed. She seeks new avenues to engage student learning and individual success. Beyond academic strategies, she also models important values to students. She sponsors five after-school organizations that support at-promise youth, including leadership, entrepreneurial, and safe student opportunities to keep students engaged in school. Dr. Myers’ work with the Virtual School has epitomized the school mission of offering disadvantaged students access to a wide array of courses – ranging from advanced placement and college preparatory classes to credit recovery opportunities. She is dedicated to her students and teachers and provides relevant professional development to ensure student learning and mastery of content.
Carson Creek Jr/Sr High School Expands Opportunities for Its Students
The recipient of the Best Practices Award for Educational Organizations, Carson Creek Jr/Sr High, provides students with a rich array of academic, career technical education, and transitional services. This comprehensive court school program follows an educational model known as “vocademics.” This model not only entails the full infusion of career technical education training into the existing California state standards-aligned academic environment, it also fulfills the broader goal of the Sacramento County Probation Department to expand career-technical opportunities to minors. Skills students acquire in this program lead to real-world opportunities that not only provide for financial independence, but also greatly diminish the reasons why so many students without programs like this are prone to a cycle of recidivism and failure.
David Ballard Exemplifies the Quality Teaching Honored by the Best Practices Award
David Ballard, of Prairiland High School, implements instructional methods and programs that give students every opportunity to be successful. Recently, David published his own textbook, designed specifically for his instructional program. Additionally, he has spent countless hours recording his lessons to form a DVD set that students can check out through him and use at home. After years of watching students fail algebra, David developed his own “Fix-It” program as a means for students to achieve success. What makes this program work is a combination of the teacher, parents, and administrators working together and holding students to a high degree of accountability and responsibility. With his high level of commitment to his profession, David is doing all he can to ensure that his students develop the foundation necessary for success in school and life.
2007 RAPSA Award Winners
The Bridge Academy Alternative School, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, fills a vital need for those students for whom traditional educational methods have failed. Established four years ago as an alternative for high school learning, The Bridge Academy has helped hundreds of students improve their self-esteem and reach their goal of graduation.
Part of their success is due to the fact that students are required to obtain employment and complete community service. This sense of responsibility prepares them for the general work force and instills confidence. Recently, the teachers and staff at this school were honored with the Idaho Brightest Star award, presented by Governor James Risch, for their tireless work to help the children of their community.
Ivory Kennedy Recognized for Best Practices Award
When students at PACE High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, enter Ivory Kennedy’s classroom, they feel secure and ready to learn. Ms. Kennedy recognizes that students thrive in an environment of encouragement and support, and she works tirelessly to promote a positive attitude and strong work ethic.
Students at PACE often lead lives that present numerous challenges; her class is filled with convicted felons, drug abusers, and runaways. These students hold promise, and Ms. Kennedy refuses to let outside influences stifle the educational process. She works with all students to come up with academic plans tailored for each individual, and she refuses to let them give up. Life may throw out obstacles for these young adults, but Ivory Kennedy is there to smooth the road for them.
MathRaps Achieves "Making a Difference" Exhibitor Award
Alex Kajitani searched for a way to incorporate his middle school students’ love of rap music with the knowledge he wanted them to learn in mathematics. In 2006, MathRaps was born. The Rappin’ Mathematician, Volume 1, uses rap music to promote a positive lifestyle, real self-confidence, and an increased interest in math. Students using this program have higher standardized test scores than other students in their district and dramatically improved their understanding of mathematical concepts.