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Six Broward teachers chosen as finalist in Broward teacher of year program

Each year, individual schools across the District honor one of their teachers as the school’s Teacher of the Year.  These teachers are entered into the District’s Teacher of the Year program. The top six teachers in the District are then interviewed by a District-based committee composed of past Teachers of the Year, District administrators, union representatives, parent leaders and community members – and it’s that committee that selects Broward’s top teacher.

This year’s finalists for Broward Teacher of the year are:

•       Basma Andre, Nova High School

•       Carolyn Cerrato, Palm Cove Elementary School

•       Neil Jenkins, J. P. Taravella High School

•       Andrew W. Kirk, Pompano Beach High School

•       Allan Phipps, South Plantation High School

•       Sharon Rapheal, Fox Trail Elementary School

The Broward County Public School District will honor the “Best of the Best” at its Teacher of the Year 2011 event scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Friday, February 19 at the Broward County Convention Center, 1050 Eisenhower Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.

Basma Andre, Nova High School

Chemistry teacher Basma Andre never planned on becoming a teacher.  She was majoring in chemistry and planning to follow in her father’s footsteps by becoming a pharmacist, when she had a life changing experience. During a summer vacation, Andre worked with 15 and 16 year-olds as a camp counselor. Andre realized that teaching was where she belonged—where she could truly make a difference in the lives of young people.

Andre’s teaching philosophy is composed of three basis points: love it, whatever works, and never let them down.  She shows her students that she loves teaching by always being accessible inside and outside of the classroom.  No matter which philosophy or classroom management technique used, Andre knows the bottom line is to get students to learn and to enjoy learning.  Chemistry can be difficult for many students, so Andre finds a number of ways to present the material to make sure all of her students understand it.

She loves teaching as much today as when she first started in 2003.  Andre says, “The education of our youth is one of the most priceless, yet underrated entities in our society.  If a student is not correctly educated, it is very hard to go back and fix the problem.”

Carolyn Cerrato, Palm Cove Elementary School

Some of the most powerful educational experiences are when children are absorbed in learning without even realizing it is happening. These memorable moments happen to Carolyn Cerrato on a regular basis as she works with the students of Palm Cove Elementary.

As the Reading Resource Specialist, Cerrato believes that students must be presented with multiple opportunities to learn, not only during school hours, but also before and after school and on weekends. She created a before-school reading program called Team READ.  This program provides a safe, non-threatening environment where students are free to interact with other students, parents and staff as they explore a wide variety of literacy activities.

Cerrato’s approach to teaching reflects her belief that students often learn best when they least expect it. She uses data from multiple assessments to identify students’ individual strengths and weaknesses, and then matches instructional strategies to the child’s area of interest and ability level. Students are then motivated to achieve through the use of multiple learning opportunities.

Believing that parent involvement is a major issue in public education today, Cerrato Cerrato accepted the challenge of increasing the involvement of Palm Cove’s parents by becoming the Volunteer Liaison.  She has worked hard to increase attendance at the school’s family night events by surveying parent needs, providing refreshments and childcare and encouraging parents to invite others. Cerrato makes sure that all members of the school community are a part of helping each child succeed.  She says, “I strive to make sure that all students have multiple learning opportunities and that learning is truly a TEAM effort at Palm Cove Elementary!”

Neil Jenkins, J. P. Taravella High School

For the past 40 years, Neil Jenkins has worked diligently to share the same enthusiasm for music and the performance of music that was shared with him as a student.  It was this enthusiasm that steered him to a successful career as a music educator.

Creating an environment of self-discipline and high expectations for learning has played a significant role in Jenkins’ teaching success.  He provides his students with opportunities to display their musical gifts through public performances and teaches them how to function in the world in which they live.  Jenkins’ daily teaching routine combines aspects of math, history, and world language.  He also includes fluency in reading and playing music, as well as the physical properties of producing good tone quality on an instrument and playing in tune.

Parent involvement plays an important part in Jenkins’ teaching strategies.  He strongly encourages parents to be involved in all of the music activities at the school and finds that students are more productive as a result.  Countless successful performances and numerous accolades are the results of Jenkins’ remarkable working relationship with parents and students.

Jenkins ensures that all of his students have the opportunity to learn about music and attain the goals he sets forth for them.  Four band classes, a “Superior” rated marching and parade band and three concert tours of Europe are a testament to his teaching ability.  In addition, J.P. Taravella’s high school band was the only high school band to represent Florida in the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Parade.

Andrew W. Kirk, Pompano Beach High School

The relationship that Andrew Kirk creates with his students is key to his success as a teacher. Kirk knows his subject area, math, specifically algebra, can be one of the most anxiety provoking subjects in the high school experience. Thus, he goes above and beyond to encourage student participation in class through an open and non-threatening atmosphere. Kirk’s goals are simple, to help his students understand the purpose and application of higher-level mathematics in their everyday lives.

Students learn to solve problems and present solutions to their peers. Once they learn a series of master concepts, the students are required to apply them in a quarterly project that stresses the presence of math in their everyday lives. Students can creatively express the project and its ultimate resolution, stimulating their creativity and building their confidence. As a result, Kirk’s students take ownership of their learning.

Kirk works hard to get parents involved in his students’ academic experiences, developing a team for communication and education. He holds periodic school-based information sessions to help keep parents engaged. Each session has a specific focal point, with benefits and simple steps for parents to follow.

Kirk stays abreast of the latest developments in the field of education and specifically mathematics and employs new instructional strategies to keep students engaged and motivated. As a result, students know that he will do whatever it takes for them to be successful and are willing to take ownership of their learning.

Allan Phipps, South Plantation High School

Entering Allan Phipps’ classroom is a high energy, visually stimulating experience. Combining rigor and relevance with fun and energy, Allan creates a thought-provoking and challenging environment for his students. He works hard to create a sense of life-long environmental stewardship among his students that extends long after the school day and school year are over.

Phipps approaches teaching as a reciprocal relationship, giving all and expecting nothing less from his students.  On major exams, he reviews individual question correlations between question difficulty level and student scores, to make adjustments in his teaching methods to ensure that all students are making learning gains.

He is creative in his approach to subject matter, seeing himself as a facilitator of authentic learning. Using traditional Japanese clothes and sushi, he taught a lesson on endangered species that ended with a debate about tuna fishing. To learn about carbon footprints, his students conducted an energy audit of their school. Many of these projects have been entered into regional, state and national competitions.

He has harnessed student and parent interests into furthering the learning process. When a student expressed concerns about the destruction of coral reefs, Phipps joined with the student to apply for grants to cover the cost of constructing reef balls. As a result of this collaboration, the team convinced SuperMix to donate enough concrete to make thirty 500-pound reef balls that Phipps and his students, along with dozens of community agencies, deployed in local waters.  A sample of the reef balls is on permanent display at the Museum of Discovery and Science. These efforts won the Sea World/Busch Gardens Environmental Excellence Award.

Sharon Rapheal, Fox Trail Elementary School

Sharon Rapheal has a small class of 1,200 children. That is because, as a Reading Specialist, every student at Fox Trail Elementary is a part of her responsibility. She meets this challenge by keeping current on trends and studies and sharing what she has learned with other teachers, administrators, parents and students.

Rapheal’s recipe for success in meeting each student’s needs is to collect as much performance data as possible in order to get a total picture of the child’s strengths and weaknesses.  She then utilizes various research-based strategies and adds a smile and encouragement.  With interventions in place, each student is supported through the process. Much of her work incorporates the use of music, manipulatives, physical movement, and a variety of voices and visual aids to interest and motivate the students.  She combines various techniques used for teaching reading with strategies to teach computer literacy as well.

Four years ago, Rapheal established a reading “Double Dose” program that not only incorporates teachers and other paraprofessionals, but parents as well. The program has been so successful that it now runs throughout the school every day. This is just another example of her commitment to work cooperatively with other teachers in her school to enhance student achievement.

Rapheal wears many hats in her school including Volunteer Liaison, and has served as her school’s Partners In Education Coordinator, Zone Representative and member of the School Academic Committee. Whether modeling for teachers, administrators, new educators, parents or children, Her goal is to add to a repertoire of strategies that assures literacy for all.

Related posts:

  1. 11 Broward teachers win 2009 Excel Award
  2. South Plantation High teacher gets statewide environmental award
  3. South Plantation High teacher given Presidential Award in science
  4. Broward schools reaches agreement with union on effective teacher program
  5. Broward teachers say schools across county not being heated properly; A/C units still running

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Posted by Andrea Freygang on Feb 8 2010. Filed under Broward County, Coral Springs, Davie, Families, Fort Lauderdale, Local news, Pompano Beach, Schools. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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