Golden Apple Awards
- Golden Apple Awards
Call for 2014 Nominations
We are now accepting nominations for 2014 Golden Apple Awards. Submit your nominee by March 31.
Download submission form and guidelines.
2013 GOLDEN APPLE AWARDS
Kristin Bailey-Fogarty, Reading Intervention Teacher, Eckstein Middle School, Seattle
Seattle School District
“She’s passionate about kids in a way that only a true educator can be,” is how former Eckstein principal Kim Whitworth describes Kristin Bailey-Fogarty. Kristin’s passion for helping children succeed is reflected in the transformative learning experience she creates for her sixth- through eighth-graders. At the start of the 2012–2013 school year, Kristin’s students were below grade-level reading standards. Many were responding to years of frustration in school by being disruptive. Kristin engaged the children academically by helping them repair their damaged confidence. Reaching out to colleagues at her school and in the community, she developed ways to involve her students in classroom management. Honored as capable learners and provided with a challenging curriculum aimed at helping them prepare for success in high school college-prep classes, Kristin’s students gained confidence and became focused and enthusiastic class participants invested in their own success. Students gained an average of three years in their reading levels, and reading scores reflected improvement far beyond what’s typical. Kristin’s work shows how successful students can be when teachers help them take the reins of their own learning.
Connie Hachtel, Math Instructional Coach, Housel Middle School, Prosser
Prosser School District
Connie Hachtel has been instrumental in bringing new approaches to math teaching to Housel Middle School. She has helped Housel students build skills and confidence by instituting intervention programs such as “Math 360,” which provides small-group instruction and individual help to more than 300 of the school’s 657 students. After two years of exposure to Math 360, the number of Housel students passing the math portion of the MSP (Measurements of Student Progress) exam rose significantly. When the school was introduced to the nationally known college- and career-readiness program AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), Connie volunteered to be site coordinator. In that role, she has worked to ensure that all Housel students benefit from AVID’s college-readiness strategies. As the teacher of an AVID elective class, she instills in all of her students the belief that they will attend and graduate from a four-year university, helping them turn their dreams into goals. In the words of Prosser School District Assistant Superintendent Mary Snitily, “Connie truly is an advocate for students and a model for other teachers.”
Aaron Holmberg, Fourth Grade Teacher, Jefferson Elementary School, Everett
Everett School District
Aaron Holmberg started teaching fourth grade in 2004, and immediately began enriching the prescribed curriculum. He created materials aimed at helping students achieve a deeper level of math learning and enjoyment, and arranged for parent volunteers to work in his classroom, partnering with them in responding to students’ personal needs in math. In collaboration with other teachers, he created binders supplementing lessons in the math curriculum for every grade level—a tool that is now available district-wide. Aaron enriched science instruction by refining the modular kits used in Everett Public Schools fourth-grade classrooms so that his students would have the opportunity to focus on a main idea in each lesson and reach a deeper understanding of science concepts. Materials created largely by Aaron have helped his fourth-graders learn about Northwest history in engaging and meaningful ways. Aaron has also been a leader in the implementation of Jefferson’s “Make Your Day” discipline and citizenship program. “Aaron Holmberg,” says his supervising principal, Elizabeth Nunes, “transforms lives—of his students, their parents, his professional colleagues, and community members.”
Jennifer Olson, English/History/Leadership Teacher, Rosalia High School, Rosalia
Rosalia School District
Many of Jennifer’s students lack home computer access; in order to expose them to tools they could be asked to use in college, she has incorporated the use of laptops and other technologies in her classroom. To increase the rigor of her curriculum, she has become an English 101 instructor in Eastern Washington University’s Concurrent Enrollment Program (CEP); her CEP class offers 12th- grade English students the opportunity to do college coursework in a supportive small-class setting while earning both high school and college credit. Jennifer’s ninth-grade state history class and CEP class participate in field trips combining course content with college-campus visits that many students would not have the opportunity to undertake on their own. “Jennifer Olson is what education is about,” says Principal Darrell Kuhn. “Her leadership, dedication and hard work are a model for our profession.”
Zakariya Palsha, Principal, Campbell Hill Elementary School, Seattle
Renton School District
At Campbell Hill Elementary in the Renton School District, Principal Zakariya Palsha has put into practice the Nigerian proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” by striving to involve parents, guardians and community members as much as possible. Under his leadership, the school has reached out to its community by forming partnerships with local organizations and businesses; instituting a “Jump In, Jump Out” Night to connect with parents and solicit their input and ideas; and hosting twice-yearly math/literacy nights and other events. Zakariya has enriched the student experience by setting up an after-school program that offers intervention activities in reading, writing and math, and extracurricular activities such as drama and music. The school’s population is highly diverse, with students of color making up 95 percent of the student body and 85 percent qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches. Zakariya has helped staff members increase their capacity for responding to the children’s needs by facilitating professional development around culturally responsive teaching strategies. “He’s the number-one principal I’ve worked under,” says Campbell Hill instructional facilitator Helen Babbin. “He really is a global educator.”
Jeffrey Steen, Music Teacher, Pacific Middle School, Des Moines
Highline School District
Northwest Symphony Orchestra (NWSO) Music Director Anthony Spain praises Jeffrey for “always going the extra mile;” that approach is reflected in a sophisticated music program that provides students with many unique learning opportunities. Every spring, Jeffrey takes the school’s wind ensemble to California to compete in the Heritage Festival, where the group consistently earns high honors. Pacific’s young musicians also have had exciting opportunities to work with composers. Last year, students joined with the NWSO to perform a new piece of music written by Glenn Crytzer; the composer worked closely with the students for months, inviting their input and affording them a close-up look at the composing process. Beyond the walls of Pacific Middle School, Jeffrey’s active advocacy for arts education has inspired strong parental and community support that has led to an increase in class offerings at middle schools throughout the Highline School District.
Kris Stopperan, Counselor, Rainier High School, Rainier
Rainier School District
Rainier High School teacher Sandra Rossmaier describes Kris Stopperan as “a tireless worker and promoter of excellence for our school.” At Rainier, Kris developed resources to promote positive experiences for incoming ninth-graders, and worked with each of the school’s students to formulate plans for graduation and beyond. She was the leading advocate for a virtual learning program that helps students lacking credits needed for graduation make up missed classes. She also raised the bar in terms of College Board and state proficiency exams, and expectations for post-high school education—she secured an adjacent building for testing sessions, created an ideal testing environment with organized workstations, and instilled students with an “I can” attitude about taking and passing exams. Before Kris arrived in 2010, only a few Rainier students took the PSAT, but in the past two years, nearly half the school’s sophomores and juniors have taken it. Kris also arranged for Rainier to become an SAT testing site; last March, more students took the SAT than in the preceding two years put together. Earlier this year, Kris moved to Aberdeen High School to be closer to her husband—a change that Rainier’s principal, Bryon Bahr, describes as “a huge loss for Rainier High School but a huge gain for Aberdeen.”
Since its beginnings in 1999, LASER has served as a powerful catalyst for sustainable innovation and improvement in K–12 science education; it has done this by mobilizing a network of committed individuals and organizations to provide leadership and support to teachers, schools and districts. LASER began with four regional alliances encompassing 30 school districts; the number of regional alliances has since grown to 10, with more than 200 of the state’s 295 school districts becoming part of the network. Through this collaborative model, LASER fosters innovative ideas and facilitates the dissemination of best practices to rural, suburban and urban settings. Its robust network of professional-learning providers delivers in-depth professional development, including teacher training in successful, inquiry-based approaches to science instruction. LASER has assisted in the creation of materials resource centers in every region of the state, and has helped foster student success by facilitating alignment of science- instruction materials with state standards. The network has collaborated with partners to rewrite curriculum so that it is relevant across cultures, and has helped to enrich learning across subject areas through materials that combine science with literacy, math and art. LASER has changed the way science is taught and learned across Washington and has helped the state build a national reputation for leadership in science education.
Stanley O. McNaughton Award
Randy Brown, Third-Grade Teacher, Fryelands Elementary School, Monroe
Monroe School District
Colleague Traci Adams calls Randy Brown “a wonderful human being as well as an outstanding innovator in education and child development.” In his classroom, Randy has leveraged the power of technology to provide more and better learning opportunities for students. He has created a digital version of himself by making hundreds of instructional videos that align directly with class curriculum. While one group of students views an instructional video, Randy works with other students, coaching and tutoring them and providing the individualized attention they need. Groups rotate throughout the day, ensuring that Randy is available to work one-on-one with every child. Lessons can be viewed over and over, which aids in better understanding of the material, and the lessons’ 24/7 availability on the class website allows children who are absent to keep up with the work. Thanks to Randy’s efforts, students also learn valuable lessons outside the classroom. Through a club he started called Students Can Make A Difference, Fryelands students have participated in a variety of community-service activities. Randy strives to ensure that his students benefit from powerful learning experiences both in and out of the classroom.
2013 PATHWAYS TO EXCELLENCE AWARDS
Neah Bay Elementary, Neah Bay
Something special is happening at Neah Bay Elementary, in the heart of the Makah Nation. Several years ago, the school embarked on a journey to increase the academic achievement of all its students, in all grades and in all subject areas. The staff’s efforts to support every student in meeting high academic expectations have led to incredible strides; Neah Bay Elementary students exceeded Washington state standards in five of the eight areas in which the state tested in spring 2012.
Neah Bay Elementary has created a community of learners in which every staff member knows every student. Principal Alice Murner has guided staff in facilitating rigorous learning activities connected to state standards. Children are encouraged to take ownership of their learning, and they receive immediate feedback on their progress. Teachers continually search for ways to expand and enrich student learning. The school has linked to a wider community of educators and academic resources through collaborations with the University of Washington that include the Pipeline Project, in which U.W. student volunteers work with and mentor Neah Bay Elementary students.
Neah Bay Elementary has earned honors including two 2012 Washington Achievement Awards and a 2013 School of Distinction award. Such accolades are the direct result of years of dedication on the part of students, their families, school staff and the community.
Hudtloff Middle School, Lakewood
Oftentimes, accomplished schools do not meet the needs of historically underserved populations. Lakewood’s Hudtloff Middle School, on the other hand, has steadily fostered notable success for all its students. Maureen David, former principal of Hudtloff, credits a staff that has come together around a fundamental belief in the children’s abilities. High expectations backed by close, collaborative teaching and continuous review of student data mean great opportunities to excel for all, including the children from low-income families who make up 66 percent of the student body. “We don’t accept anything that wouldn’t be good enough for our own children,” explains David. “If you don’t expect the best from a student, regardless of their background, you are doing them a disservice.”
All students at Hudtloff have the opportunity to shine. In fact, low-income students at Hudtloff have experienced an upward trend of success. Their scores in reading, writing, math and science surpass state averages and continue to climb.
The State Board of Education Achievement Index has identified Hudtloff as an Exemplary School, and its success has so impressed the Clover Park School District that Maureen David has been tapped to translate its gains for the entire secondary system in the district’s Pierce County service area. Hudtloff Middle School has made impressive progress in creating change for a large, urban population with high numbers of historically underserved students.
Toppenish High School, Toppenish
When it comes to helping historically underserved students realize their potential, Toppenish High School is bucking state and national trends. Eighty-eight percent of the school’s students are Latino and 8 percent are American Indian. One hundred percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. While many schools and districts have not been able to create opportunities for success for Latino or American Indian students or those from low-income families, Toppenish High is helping all of its students excel, with a graduation rate of nearly 90 percent.
At Toppenish High School, the past decade has seen dramatic growth in reading and writing achievement, and the school is working toward improvement in math and science scores through its widely hailed STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program, which earned a Golden Apple Award in 2012.
Toppenish High strives to create meaningful relationships with students and families over time. Each student and family works with one teacher-advisor through all four years; this reliable point of contact contributes to the home-school rapport that is cited as a best practice among transformative schools. Regular reviews of student data help ensure that intervention is immediate if a student is struggling.
Thanks to a skilled and committed staff, Toppenish High School is achieving its mission “to develop passionate, empowered individuals ready for a world with infinite possibilities.”