The winners of our 2012 Excellence Awards are clearly fulfilling the conference theme of Stepping Up to the Plate everyday to provide quality education to Missouri’s charter school students. This year there were many deserving nominations made in each category making the selection process quite challenging. We want to congratulate all of the nominees.
The 2012 MCPSA Excellence Award Winners Are:
Charter School Best Innovative Practice Award
Hope Academy, Project Rise Program
During the 2011-2012 school year Hope Academy partnered with the Full Employment Council, in an Innovative Job Placement and Internship program, “The Project RISE Program.” The program was designed to provide young adults (ages 18-24) paid Internship opportunities to prepare them for careers across all industries. Students enrolled in the program and attended classes daily. Consequently, they earned a respected high school diploma while experiencing a paid Internship.
Prior to enrolling in the program students completed a Career Academy Camp. During the program, students attended a Weekly Support Group to discuss their progress in class and Internship. After students successfully complete their high school diploma and internship experience, they are offered a $3,000 scholarship to attend post-secondary college, technical school or are retained for employment by the internship employer.
At Hope Academy, thirteen students enrolled in the Project RISE Program. Four of these students successfully completed the program in May, 2012 received their high school diploma and a $3,000 scholarship. These four students are currently enrolled in Penn Valley Community College. Seven of the thirteen students are currently seniors scheduled to complete the diploma program in December 2012. Two of the thirteen students have been retained for employment by their internship employer.
Charter School Advocate of the Year Award
State Senator Bill Stouffer
Charter schools in Missouri are often seen only as an urban core issue. Sometimes, in the State Capitol it can be difficult to gain the interest of legislators in rural parts of the state who are heavily focused on farming issues relevant to their communities. Our 2012 Advocate of the Year was instrumental to opening doors for charter school advocacy to legislators in rural Missouri through his sponsorship of Senate Bill 576. His leadership in shepherding this bill through the daunting legislative process ultimately led to its passage by the Missouri State Legislature and signature by Governor Nixon. This bill marked the first expansion of charter schools outside of St. Louis and Kansas City since the original charter school legislation passed in 1998 and the first significant increase in accountability standards since 2005. Our 2012 charter school Advocate of the Year award goes to Missouri State Senator Bill Stouffer.
Charter School Teacher of the Year Award
Alison Owens, Lift for Life Academy
In the letter nominating our winner, her school leader called her a unique and excellent teacher. Adding that she goes beyond the call of duty to ensure that students understand exactly what is being taught with the results to prove it. She has the uncanny ability to establish long term, meaningful and impactful relationships with students.
They spend countless hours with her after school and even weekends. It is not uncommon to see a classroom full of students actively engaged in mathematics during the winter, spring and summer break.
I am nominating her for the Teacher of the Year award because she is such an outstanding teacher and human being. She represents the epitome of what an exceptional teacher is: intelligent, professional and gifted with teaching complex, abstract concepts. She is also dedicated, encouraging, hardworking, fun but most importantly, she has passion and a heart of gold for children. She is determined to make a difference in this world and Lift For Life Academy staff and students have had the privilege of being recipients of her greatness.
Charter School Leader of the Year Award
Eduardo Mendez, Alta Vista Charter Schools
Our 2012 charter school Leader of the Year oversaw amazing growth in his school’s state MAP scores. The high school has gone from advanced and proficient scores below those of the Kansas City Public School District in 2007 and 2008, to outperforming state averages in both math and communications in 2011 and 2012. The high school’s success has led to the opening of a middle school that is off to a promising start.
Not only is this leader’s school an example of academic achievement, it is a pillar in Kansas City’s Hispanic community and is frequently recognized for their community outreach efforts. One effort was recently featured by Fox 4 news in Kansas City. Students at the high school worked to cover gang graffiti at a local community center with the art teacher who led the project saying, “part of being involved in the community is having a nice safe place for them to come.”
Please congratulate our 2012 charter school Leader of the Year award winner Eduardo Mendez from Alta Vista Charter School.
Charter School of Excellence Award
City Garden Montessori
One of the highest compliments that you can give to a school is to say that it is a place where you would want to send your own children. That is the comment we hear most about our School of Excellence Award winner and I would also share that sentiment with regards to my own daughters.
In Fall 2008, this school opened its doors with 53 students in grades kindergarten through third grade seeking to continue in the tradition of being rooted in the community, committed to diversity, nonviolence, simplicity and sustainability. Their aim is to cultivate compassionate and critically thinking young people who will make a difference in our world.
In 2011 this school exceeded state MAP test averages in communications and in 2012 exceeded state averages in both communications and math. This school has clearly filled our conference theme of Stepping Up to the Plate.
Ladies and gentlemen, the 2012 School of Excellence Award goes to City Garden Montessori.