This week, teachers from across the country received "American Stars in Teaching" awards from the U.S. Department of Education:
"Teacher in Mesa a ‘Star’" (Arizona Republic, 8-24)
"What started as a typical flag-raising ceremony at Mesa’s Ishikawa Elementary School on Tuesday morning quickly turned into a surprising flag-waving ceremony designed to promote a federal program and honor one special teacher.
"The U.S. Department of Education recognized Ishikawa first-grade teacher Susan Goodenberger as an American Star of Teaching, an award granted annually to one teacher in each state for their efforts in reaching the goals of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind legislation.
"The school’s entire student body attended, more than 800 kindergarten through sixth-graders in all, but it was the presence of some former students and parents that really caught Goodenberger’s eye after she was done wiping away the tears that welled up during the ceremony in the school’s courtyard.
"‘That’s the most amazing thing, having them come back and tell you the things they’re doing and the things they've accomplished,’ Goodenberger said of her former students. ‘To have them remember back that far is amazing.’"
"Alva Teacher Recognized as One of the Best" (Ft. Myers [FL] News-Press, 8-24)
"A surprised Alva Middle School teacher was recognized as one of the best in the country Wednesday.
"Principal Steve Hutnick nominated Neva Weisskopf for the No Child Left Behind 2005 American Star of Teaching award, which recognizes one teacher from each state and the District of Columbia.
"‘She gets them excited about learning, gets them focused on learning, she produces results year in and year out,’ Hutnick said.
"The U.S. Department of Education’s Rene Islas traveled from Washington, D. C. to present the award to Weisskopf during a 20-minute special ceremony that had been planned secretly and billed as an assembly for eighth-grade students and teachers.
"Islas started off by telling the audience of about 250 people the federally required No Child Left Behind act was working, in large part because of efforts of dedicated teachers like Weisskopf, calling her up from the audience over a rousing round of applause….
"‘You exemplify what, to teachers across the country, and especially the state of Florida, it means to be a teacher,’ Islas said as he handed her a certificate commemorating the award….
"All of Weisskopf’s students passed the 2005 FCAT writing test, with 72 percent showing more than one year’s growth on the test.
"‘I’m a little surprised,’ the 35-year veteran teacher said calmly as she gathered her thoughts at the podium."
"Oklahoma Teacher Gets National Honor" (Fox 23, Tulsa, OK)
"An art teacher at Bridge Creek Elementary School in Blanchard is the winner of a national award for her teaching methods, which inspired a state law this year.
"Annette Dake was presented with the No Child Left Behind 2005 American Star of Teaching during a surprise ceremony at the school.
"Dake is being honored for developing a way to get her students to walk five miles each day. The program maps a five-mile route on a state map and the students take virtual walking tours as they learn state geography and history.
"The program led to the Oklahoma Kids Fitness Challenge Act which encourages other schools to try the method."
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