Outstanding Teacher Award Winners
Need in Deed could write a book about all the amazing teachers in the Teacher Network, the incredible teaching and learning that happens in their classrooms day in and day out, and the inspiring accomplishments of their students. Here are the stories of this year’s Outstanding Teacher award winners.
- Karen Rondon, a 5th grade teacher at Alexander McClure School in Philadelphia’s Hunting Park Neighborhood, may have felt a bit hesitant about embracing the student-led process that defines NID’s framework, but she never once hesitated when it counted. She supported her students 100% as they chose to take on dog fighting as their issue. And when they expanded their service to include their entire school in a fundraising and awareness campaign to benefit the PSPCA, she was behind them all the way. For Karen, “above and beyond” is just her normal state of being as a teacher.
- When Ruth Ciriglo’s 5th graders at Northeast Philadelphia’s Fitzpatrick Elementary School were researching childhood cancer, she used books and videos to assist her students in developing vocabulary, and supported their courage in taking on such a sensitive – and scary – topic. She even bought children’s literature about cancer to aid their research and supplement their reading curriculum. After a visit from Liz Scott of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation inspired the students to lead a school-wide lemonade fundraiser, Ruth made it happen. She is a thoughtful community builder who enabled student voice to turn into meaningful action.
- Amelia Loughlin implemented NID’s framework as a tool for building community in her 6th – 8th grade Autistic Support and ESOL classroom at Feltonville Arts and Sciences. Through this process, she learned how isolated her students felt from the rest of the school, and so she supported them in expanding their school violence project beyond the confines of their classroom. Amelia’s dedication, enthusiasm and willingness to collaborate have benefited her students and her school, as well as the fellow Network members with whom she is always excited to collaborate and share resources.
- Elizabeth Kim and Alessandra Villella, partner teachers at John B. Steston Middle School in Kensington, have taken on separate projects with their two 5th grade classes for the last two years. Even through both classes this year selected gun violence as their broad topic, Elizabeth and Alessandra supported them as they went in very different directions – one class focused more on policing, while the other became interested in the links between gun violence and addiction. As the year draws to a close, the classes have joined forces on an ambitious, multi-pronged awareness campaign – and their teachers are behind them all the way. Elizabeth and Alessandra seamlessly integrate the real-world issues their students choose into their teaching to increase their students' engagement and participation.
Congratulations, Karen, Ruth, Amelia, Elizabeth and Alessandra, and thank you for being such Outstanding Teachers!