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September 12, 2005 Extra Credit
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September 12, 2005

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"Teachers Deserve To Be Recognized For The Good Work They Do"

As the 2005-06 school year is off to a start, the U.S. Department of Education is recognizing "American Stars of Teaching" with certificates to encourage and honor the teaching profession. American Stars of Teaching are teachers who, regardless of the challenges faced, are improving student achievement across the nation. The following are excerpts from a recent article in The Star-Ledger (NJ) highlighting the U.S. Department of Education’s recognition of an American Star of Teaching at TEAM Academy in Newark, New Jersey:

"Teaching, according to Sha Reagans, is about more than the time spent standing in front of the classroom. For him, it also means staying late to chat with students, coaching the TEAM Academy basketball team and, when necessary, giving students a ride home. ‘There is so much to do beyond lesson plans,’ he said. ‘If what you are teaching is only applicable in the classroom, you aren't teaching them anything.’

"Reagans received the American Star of Teaching Award from the U.S. Department of Education [Thursday] during a surprise presentation in Newark, at the Custer Avenue school he has called home for three years."

"Reagans spends nearly 12 hours a day at the school during the week and a minimum of five hours on Saturdays and plans for the week on Sunday nights, said Principal Ryan Hill, who nominated him for the award. ‘Our kids would walk through fire for him,’ Hill said. ‘He is one of the best teachers I have ever watched in the classroom.’

"As he stood waiting for the assembly to begin, Reagans watched with the school's 300 students and the rest of the staff as Kerri Briggs, senior policy adviser for the U.S. Department of Education, began dropping hints about why she was visiting the school. By the time Briggs mentioned that the winner of the award was a math teacher, a shocked Reagans had figured it out.

"As his students screamed and stomped their feet in approval, he accepted the award. ‘This is one of the few times I have nothing to say,’ Reagans said, shaking his head in disbelief.

"Teachers deserve to be recognized for the good work they do, Briggs said. ‘This award is an opportunity for us to come and say thanks,’ she said."

"Because the school days are so long — students are in the building nearly 10 hours a day — classes need to be fun, said Gerald Rhymes, 13. Reagans taught him in fifth and sixth grades. ‘At the end of the day it's like, dag, we played around a lot but you learn, too,’ he said. ‘It's a lot of fun.’"

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Last Modified: 08/14/2013