Impact Awards

Overview

Overview

This program recognizes individuals in the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) who have an extraordinary impact on student learning through exceptional: teaching skills, job dedication, volunteering, and/or leadership. Classroom teachers, specialists, administrators, classified employees, and volunteers are eligible for nomination. Previous Impact Award recipients are not eligible for nomination. Click here to see a complete list of previous Impact Award recipients.

The Process

Our community is invited to nominate online throughout the month of October. By mid November community members volunteer to “blind read” and score nominations. The top scoring nominations will be notified of their status as Impact Awards Finalists and invited to interview with our Impact Awards Committee. In January, Impact Awards Recipients will be announced. All nominees, finalists, and recipients will be honored at the 24th Annual Impact Awards Celebration in March 2016.

 

Nomination

Nomination

The 2016 Nomination Period is now closed. 

Please read the instructions below to learn about our nomination process.

Before you nominate:

Below is a list of the required components of the nomination. Please take some time to draft your nomination offline prior to beginning the online process. When our online link is live, you can easily copy and paste your text into your online application. Please note that all essay components have character restrictions. Common word processing software have character count tools.

Section A: Before you nominate

  1. I have checked the Impact Award Previous Recipients on the Impact on Education web site and have verified that my nominee has not won an Impact Award previously.
  2. We encourage schools and our communities to celebrate all nominees. We also encourage the sharing of nominations with nominees as we truly believe that it is an honor to be nominated. However, if you would prefer to keep your nomination anonymous, please indicate your option: “Please keep my nomination anonymous” or “Please share my nomination”

Section B: Nominator

  • Nominator’s First Name
  • Nominator’s Last Name
  • Contact Information: Company, Address, Email Address, Phone
  • How did you find out about the Impact Awards? BVSD Newsletter, BVSD Parent, BVSD Staff, BVSD Student, Facebook, Impact on Education E-Newsletter, Impact on Education Website, Newspaper, School Newsletter, Twitter, Other (please specify)
  • Your relationship to the person that you are nominating: Former Peer, Friend, Parent/Guardian, Peer,Student, Other (please specify)
  • Your relationship to the Boulder Valley School District: Employee, Former Employee, Parent/Guardian, Student, Other (please specify)
  • If Nominator is a BVSD employee: Where do you/did you work? Indicate all schools that apply.
  • If Nominator is a BVSD Parent, Guardian, Student or Other: With which schools do you have affiliation? Indicate all that apply.

Section C: The Nomination

  • Nominee’s Name
  • Nominee’s Contact Information: Address, BVSD Email Address, Phone
  • Number of years Nominee employed by the Boulder Valley School District
  • Nominee’s School(s)
  • Does your Nominee’s supervisor support this nomination?

Nominee’s Role

The series of questions to be answered will depend on the role of your nominee. Your nominee will be in one of the four categories listed below. Identify the correct category for your nominee before proceeding.The eligible roles for Impact Awards are as follows:

Category 1
LicensedTeachers, Licensed Specialists, Teachers on Special Assignment, Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists, Speech/Language Specialists, Occupational/Physical Therapists, Building Deans

Category 2
Principals, Assistant Principals

Category 3
Assistant Superintendents, Executive Directors, Directors, Assistant Directors, Managers, Assistant Managers

Category 4
Para educators, Interpreters, Group Leaders/Assistants, Bus Drivers/Assistants, Nutrition Service, Warehouse, Maintenance, Custodian, Security, Tier Technology, Tutors, School Nurse, Home School Parent Liaisons, IT, Accounting, Budget/Finance , Volunteers

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT AWARD NOMINATIONS: From this point, do not mention the name of your nominee or the school while completing the nomination. Mention of the nominee’s name or school on the award will result in automatic disqualification.

Questions for Category 1 Nominations

Licensed Teachers: Teachers, Licensed Specialists, Teachers on Special Assignment, Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists, Speech/Language Specialists, Occupational/Physical Therapists, Building Deans

Note: For questions below, responses are limited to 2,000 characters each, including spaces.

  1. What grade level(s) does your Nominee currently teach?
  2. Nominee’s Subject Specialty: Fine Arts,Health,Literacy,Math,Physical Education,Science,Social Studies,Vocational, World Languages, Other (please specify)
  3. How does your Nominee motivate students to develop a lifelong love of learning?
  4. How does your Nominee recognize and respond to individual differences?
  5. How does your Nominee IMPACT innovations in teaching and or use of instructional technology?
  6. How does your Nominee use instructional teaching strategies to impact student growth in learning over time?
  7. How does your Nominee inspire high personal & professional standards?
  8. How does your Nominee positively IMPACT his/her peers?
  9. How is your Nominee unique? Describe the most significant quality about your Nominee?

Questions for Category 2 Nominations

Principals, Assistant Principals

Note: For questions below, responses are limited to 2,000 characters each, including spaces.

  1. School Level
  2. How does your Nominee motivate students to develop a lifelong love of learning?
  3. How does your Nominee recognize and respond to individual differences?
  4. How does your Nominee IMPACT support innovations in teaching and or use of instructional technology?
  5. How does your Nominee help individuals throughout the school use instructional teaching strategies to impact student growth in learning over time?
  6. How does your Nominee inspire high personal & professional standards?
  7. How does your Nominee positively IMPACT his/her staff and peers?
  8. How is your Nominee unique? Describe the most significant quality about your Nominee?

Questions for Category 3 Nominations

Assistant Superintendents, Executive Directors, Directors, Assistant Directors, Managers, Assistant Managers

Note: For questions below, responses are limited to 2,000 characters each, including spaces.

  1. How does your Nominee motivate students to develop a lifelong love of learning throughout BVSD?
  2. How does your Nominee recognize and respond to individual differences district-wide?
  3. How does your Nominee IMPACT innovations in teaching and or use of instructional technology district-wide?
  4. How does your Nominee help individuals throughout the district use instructional teaching strategies to impact student growth in learning over time?
  5. How does your Nominee inspire high personal & professional standards district-wide?
  6. How does your Nominee positively IMPACT his/her staff and peers?
  7. How is your Nominee unique? Describe the most significant quality about your Nominee?

Questions for Category 4 Nominations

Para educators, Interpreters, Group Leaders/Assistants, Bus Drivers/Assistants, Nutrition Service, Warehouse, Maintenance, Custodian, Security, Tier Technology, Tutors, School Nurse, Home School Parent Liaisons, IT, Accounting, Budget/Finance, Athletic Staff, Volunteers

Note: For questions below, responses are limited to 2,000 characters each, including spaces.

  1. School Level
  2. How does your Nominee help students to develop a lifelong love of learning?
  3. How does your Nominee recognize and respond to individual differences?
  4. How does your Nominee IMPACT innovations in teaching and or use of instructional technology?
  5. If applicable, how does your Nominee use instructional teaching strategies to impact student growth in learning over time?
  6. How does your Nominee inspire high personal & professional standards?
  7. How does your Nominee positively IMPACT his/her staff or peers?
  8. How is your Nominee unique? Describe the most significant quality about your Nominee?

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT AWARD NOMINATIONS: Do not mention the name of your nominee or the school while completing this form. Mention of the nominee’s name or school on the award will result in automatic disqualification.

AGAIN – Remember to have the nomination prepared before you start the online survey.

Nominate Now

 

Dates & FAQs

Dates

Timeline for the 2017 Impact Awards – TBD

 

FAQs

Why can’t I use my nominees name and school in my Award Nomination?

Impact on Education uses a blind-read online process to evaluate applicants and select finalists. The Impact Awards Volunteer Readers shall not know the name of the individual nominated or their school. This process requires that NO identifying information be included in the nomination narrative, such as names of individuals, buildings or specific programs. Use the individual’s job title when describing him or her and refer to the school as “our school,” or “our building.” This supports our efforts to ensure impartiality and fairness in the selection process.

Are multiple nominations for one individual helpful?

We discourage multiple nominations. Instead we encourage communities to take a collaborative and cooperative approach to this process.

What happens after I submit my nomination?

Our Impact Awards Volunteer Readers from the community will review and score all nominations. Following computation, top scoring nominees will become Finalists and will move on to one round of Impact Award Finalist Interviews.

In December 2015, all Finalists will be notified of their status and their Finalist Interview will be scheduled. The Finalist Nominators and School Principals/Supervisors will also be notified via e-mail.

The Impact Award Interview Committee will conduct a personal interview with each Finalist to determine the five Impact Award Recipients. These interviews will be conducted the evenings of January 11 and 12 , 2016.

Award Recipients will receive their “surprise” notifications in January.

The Impact Awards Dinner will celebrate Impact Award Nominees, Finalists, and Recipients in March of 2016.

Contact Amy@ImpactOnEducation.org or at (303) 524-3865 with any questions.
(Email is often the quickest way to get a response.)

Samples

Nomination Samples

Nomination Sample 1

1. How does your Nominee motivate students to develop a life-long love of learning? (2,000 characters maximum, including spaces)

Whether he’s guiding his advanced placement students in quantum theory or the properties of nuclear decay, walking his juniors through science reasoning questions in preparation for the state ACT exam, or modeling how to showcase one’s skills in a persuasive speech, this teacher tells the stories that captivate students and engage every ear, heart and mind in the classroom. Yes, this is true even for advanced chemistry! When every day in the classroom incorporates authentic learning, critical thinking and higher order questions that get students to stop and think about their own lives, it’s utterly impossible to disengage or “check-out” from what this teacher is leading in the chemistry lab or with the speech and debate team. He shows up to speech and debate tournaments at 5am on the weekends, he can connect almost any concept in chemistry to experiments gone awry during his childhood, and diligently prepares the labs that exemplify precisely what he needs students to see firsthand. He taps into the students’ natural inquisitiveness to drive discussions on topics such as the cleanup of the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf, the usefulness of supercolliders, and how chemical reactions, both naturally occurring and human-caused, impact our world and the lives of real people every day. His most significant gift, and he has worked hard to develop this skill throughout his teaching career, is how he leads instruction through a story-telling format, almost a Sherlock Holmes sleuthing approach, that can make one excited about chemical bonds and atomic mass, alike. That’s simply incredible. I call it a gift because he has learned how to apply his skills into building lessons that “sing” to his students. If necessary, he will actually sing, dance or model a reaction in a way that brings theory to life in a high school classroom. As a consequence, his students come to know and understand the content of chemistry or the making of a world-class speech when they experience instruction with this teacher. This is a truly transformative experience and a major reason why our students love high school science. It’s easy to see why this teacher is also our science department chair, guiding teachers and content at the secondary level, and leading labs to connect and guide younger students from elementary and middle schools as well.

2. How does your Nominee recognize and respond to individual differences? (2,000 characters maximum, spaces included)

To call what this teacher does “personalization” would not adequately express the time he spends with each of his student chemists and speech team participants. His commitment to student mastery of content and skills goes above and beyond the confines of classroom time, and he rarely generalizes his recommendations to all students. His weekly office hours and re-teaching opportunities, original online instruction in Khan Academy fashion (using screen chomp for iPads), and analogies with real-world examples are all “magic” because they are built to serve each student in the room. His goal is not only to help them access a challenging curriculum, but to embrace HOW things work in the world and how to SHOW they know in demonstrations, assessments and scientific analyses. That’s the full package of instruction. Furthermore, he makes this a unique experience, whether the student wears a hearing aid, is dealing with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is an English Language Learner or is a first-time advanced science student in our school. There is no other way that he knows how to teach, and thank goodness for all of our students that that’s how he does his work. You want to experience his lessons firsthand! Furthermore, his time at school is the truly the students’ time. It doesn’t matter if it’s 7am or 5pm, during his lunch hour or on the way to speech and debate contest: if his students have questions, he’s there to answer them, with only the most encouraging feedback that pushes them to keep going, dig deeper and ask the unasked questions for all to consider.

3. How does your Nominee IMPACT innovations in teaching and/or use of instructional technology? (2,000 characters maximum, including spaces)

This teacher’s love of innovation is a daily enterprise in our school. He works evenings and weekends searching for new ways to help students access chemistry and science topics that are truly cutting edge. He sweeps through list serves on new science discoveries, puts common fallacies about chemistry to the test in his lab (debunking them one by one), and is always the first to pilot any new innovation in his room. Moreover, he is outspoken about the urgency of helping all teachers try new methods of making their content accessible for all students. He has literally and willingly become our “tech guinea pig” for the staff. He’s enthusiastic whenever he can find a new way to connect students to innovative approaches to learning. Several years ago, this teacher was the first to integrate online quiz-lets for students to take by accessing his class webpages outside of school. He wanted to gather more formative assessment data on how his students were learning complex chemistry, and also merge this learning with questions supporting their ACT preparation. He linked these two priorities—high level content and ACT preparation–in a blended learning format without batting an eye. He then brought the data he collected into his professional growth plan. He analyzed and shared his own pilot results to help support research-driven ways to shape and shift his instruction. His latest experiment involves “flipping” his classroom, by providing short demonstrations in online recordings saved to his classroom web pages to help his learners access and review complex lessons topics. In this fashion, students can learn and review at their own pace and on their own schedules, while also making himself available for more engaging discussions and problem solving in the classroom. This type of professional modeling with technology has also inspired teachers across our school to try new ways to help more of our students connect, interact and think about science like the most advanced nations and learners in the world. Finally, by bridging these types of unique learning opportunities all the way down across school levels to younger school members in elementary and middle schools, this teacher offers chances for high school students to lead labs, dissections and experiments so they will be prepared for the rigors of high school when their time comes. That’s wonderful leadership, it’s true mentoring in action, and it is a standard that all schools should strive to achieve.

4. How does your Nominee use instructional teaching strategies to impact student growth in learning over time? (2,000 characters maximum, including spaces)

Taking everyday topics and making them meaningful is what this teacher is all about. To do this, he keeps students at the center of each lesson, intentionally, as the active agents of discovery in each lab, and reason for his teaching each day. Then, just add content… Whether it’s how shampoo build up happens on high school hair-do’s, or why certain pajamas are more flammable than others, he captivates and entertains like a master storyteller or true stage hero because he is teaching with the students, not “to” them. In the first minute of class, and often even before the bell, his students are working to respond in writing to his intriguing prompts. He circulates to gather feedback, has students model responses, asks for alternative strategies and shares a box of anecdotes that make the most complex concepts in AP chemistry truly a joy to study. His daily structures and systems are worthy of an award on their own. In class discussions, labs and lectures, he openly recalls his own missteps with humility and humor. By actively learning from his mistakes and sharing what he learned, he showcases how he’s been able to become a true “ninja chemist” capable of gliding through experiments with deft skill and accuracy. In spite of his ninja status, he never forgets his humble roots as a learner. He helps his students understand that taking risks and learning are far more important than just getting the right answers. Along the way, he reaches everyone. His students remember how fun the classes are, and as a consequence, they stay on task and really focus on ridiculously difficult material until they can teach it themselves. It’s this spirit, of telling his students in a semi-serious tone that “real scientists don’t need to use the restroom,” that makes them committed to him and all he teaches—it’s a learning relationship that lasts. They love to surprise him, delight him and to impress him with their hard work and understanding. That is truly a magic recipe.

5. How does your Nominee inspire high personal & professional standards? (2,000 character maximum, spaces included)

One of his first challenges on the high school staff was to be recognized as the best-dressed teacher on campus. Although this has been an informal recognition he’s earned year over year, this has morphed into a contest to outdo Mr. ___ in the best-dressed staff member competition at our school. His reputation, like his clothing each day, is impeccable, both in the classroom and everywhere on campus or at speech tournaments. He shares pride in the fact that he is a professional teacher and believes his actions uphold a commitment to being a well-engaged, active and positive role model. Yet, this is more reflective of the fact that he takes his work seriously and will never accept just a satisfactory job from himself. He’s inspired a wave of well-dressed new teachers to follow his lead and launch other informal contests. Today, we celebrate other categories including “Renaissance teacher,” “Driven by data,” and other such recognitions that inspire excellence and build staff spirit. His modeling and results are what truly inspire students and staff alike. As a secondary science curriculum leader, this teacher took on increased duties by maintaining the annual science budget, participating in all new hires on the science team, and mentoring all new teachers on school procedures, lesson planning and expectations set forth by the department. He takes this work personally and works to establish a relationship with each teacher so they feel free to ask him the questions they may be nervous or embarrassed to ask other teachers or supervisors. That makes him effective at getting to genuine and meaningful teaching right away. He knows we don’t have time to lose when the school year starts, and he sacrifices his own lunch periods, professional time and evenings to give guidance to the new staff he helps lead each year. That is professional excellence, and it’s driven by his passion to be his personal best week in and out.

6. How does your Nominee positively IMPACT his/her peers? (2,000 characters maximum, including spaces)

As a long-time staff member here, this teacher makes eating lunch in the staff lounge an open invitation to come together and laugh each day. He is single-handedly responsible for pulling the high school team together at mid-day meals because of his more than ample supplies of stories about growing up in Buffalo, New York, and how he survived despite the hilarious things his parents put him through as a child and student. He builds the culture of a tight-knit team of educators by sharing his stories, encouraging others to do the same, and taking risks by letting himself be vulnerable to critique. He shares his own funny habits (and where they come from—always his parents), to help everyone enjoy the moment and work through the slog that can accompany teaching over a career. He laughs at himself so the staff can laugh together and also reflect on the fact that we work with other unique and diverse individuals to make a difference each day. That’s true joy.

7. How is your Nominee unique? Describe the most significant quality about your Nominee? (2,000 characters maximum, including spaces)

When he’s in front of the class, he’s on stage. His presence in the room, his ability to read his audience, and his relentless pursuit of all things science set him apart and make him truly deserving of recognition. He weaves humor into lessons like anticipatory sets and analogies. He’s smoother at transitions than any teacher I’ve seen. He uses a calm voice, self-deprecating humor and a sense of urgency in his instruction as tools to connect, and then to seal his relationships with, teenagers. Yet, he never loses the seriousness of his essential learning targets, his use of feedback to adjust instruction or the closures that ensure no one leaves empty-handed or headed. He will hammer away at the safety precautions needed to implement every step of a lab in order to protect students and their lab partners, and then closes by having them reflect on what their classroom discoveries could lead to or help uncover for scientists elsewhere. By making the students the center of attention, he makes it clear that he expects their best every time. It’s this type of focus that makes him the most engaged individual I’ve met in the classroom. His lessons make higher order thinking a relentless routine without tedium or disengagement that can accompany the most diligent planning and consistent implementation of instruction. Quite simply, this teacher is the remedy for tedium. And that’s a prescription for great science performance every time.

 

Nomination Sample 2

1. How does your Nominee motivate students to develop a life-long love of learning? (2,000 characters maximum, including spaces)

These student quotes show that the nominee motivates them to develop a life-long love of learning in many ways: -by asking the students’ opinions about issues and valuing their responses:“ He treats us like we are all adults like him instead of like he is older and better than us.” -by using current media such as music, tv and movies as well as up-to-date technology as teaching tools: “The way he teaches makes me want to learn.” -by creating personal rapport with the students so they can come to him with questions: “He’s just easy to talk to. And whenever you need something, he helps you!” -by making his subject matter and assignments relevant to the students’ lives: “He makes everything interesting and relative to the real world. You feel like you are learning things that you will actually use in life.” “He teaches us things that we can apply to our everyday life. You want to learn as much as you can because you see the point of learning it.” -by showing students the relevance of his subject to their futures: “This class really made me want to pursue politics as a career. I got more out of his class than I have in any other class ever.” -by keeping in touch with students after they leave his classes and even after they graduate; -and especially, by the use of humor: “He makes government fun and exciting. This is by far my favorite class because of him. He teaches me so much and every night I go home and discuss politics with my family.” Most importantly, students are motivated by the fact that the nominee’s own knowledge and passion for the subjects he teaches are an important part of his life outside the classroom, too, and that he himself is a lifelong learner. “I’m motivated because he’s motivated himself.” A former colleague sums it up: “Every time I cross paths with one of his former students, I am reminded of the true breadth and depth of his influence over the next generation of citizens.”

2. How does your Nominee recognize and respond to individual differences? (2,000 characters maximum, spaces included)

The nominee recognizes individual differences by being focused more on his students than he is on himself. A colleague speaks of his “strong bond with students.” He has taught every grade level from 7-12 and every level of student, from the academically challenged to the most advanced; this experience has taught him to look at all of his students as individuals. He responds to individual differences according to the situation. He challenges his advanced students, and they score consistently high on the AP tests. If he sees a student struggling with content, he offers extra help to that student, and if necessary, modifies assignments. A former student comments, ”He takes the time to meet with kids who need the extra hand or kids who want to excel.” He works with students who might be having a hard time emotionally, but he always makes sure that the student is not using a tough situation to get out of learning. He helped pioneer the technique of having subject matter teachers team with with special needs teachers. A former Special Ed teacher says, “ He went out of his way to make social studies accessible to ESL and special needs learners, while maintaining an extremely rigorous class. Notes were prepared prior to lessons so kids could access the vocabulary, peer educators were mentored to help in group simulations… He likes his students, holds them to high standards and offers high praise for a job well done.” A student says, “He makes his classroom a place for everyone. If someone doesn’t understand something, he’ll slow down and help them.” He tutored in an after-school class for minority students and makes sure that every student is comfortable in his class. Many students mentioned that in his classroom, everyone is accepted. He won an award from a local church based on the thoughtfulness he showed to one of his students who was having a difficult time. He teaches by example, embracing differences as a good thing, not a problem.

3. How does your Nominee IMPACT innovations in teaching and/or use of instructional technology? (2,000 characters maximum, including spaces)

The nominee impacts innovations in teaching and using instructional technology by being aware of changes as they happen and by taking advantage of learning opportunities to keep his teaching up to date. He was responsible for bringing the Colorado Supreme Court to his school, and promoted the Youth in Government program, even driving his students to Denver for the events on Saturday. Because of his teaching innovations, he has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for Humanities and is a National Science Foundation cooperating teacher in the Ecsite program. He has worked on district committees to develop curriculum and assessments for his subject. He not only attends, but also teaches classes in learning techniques and technology. Many times he comes up with his own twist on techniques and passes these ideas onto his fellow teachers. A colleague tells this story: “He figured out a clever way to arouse interest among his students for how a bill travels through Congress. He made a clay figure and named him Mr. Bill. He would be lecturing on the legislative process, then with complete surprise, throw Mr. Bill against the wall, illustrating a stalemate or filibuster. It wasn’t long before other teachers were utilizing clay as a teaching material.” He uses the internet to connect with students, and one comments, “His class website is very useful.” As for technology, five years ago he took over the sponsorship of the struggling school tv station, and grew that program so much that now it’s a regular class. All of the students at the school watch a news digest of announcements each Wednesday for ten minutes, and according to one teacher, “the student interest in this is simply incredible! Who would ever dream that announcements could be so dynamic and exciting. This is directly the influence of the nominee.” This is just one more example of how the nominee has impacted teaching and technology innovations to the benefit of his students.

4. How does your Nominee use instructional teaching strategies to impact student growth in learning over time? (2,000 characters maximum, including spaces)

The nominee uses teaching strategies first as a hook to get his students interested in his subject and then to keep them wanting to learn. One student comments, “He uses reading, power points, online activities, videos, interviews to keep us informed. It keeps it fresh and fun. There is never a dull learning moment with him.” He uses his students’ interests in the “outside world” to relate their lives to his subject. A colleague describes one of his classes: “He started the class with a popular song that includes the lyrics, ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’ to demonstrate that there are many similarities between the acting presidents from either political party.” He has always used cutting edge teaching methods. He had his students doing assignments on computers as soon as the computer labs were established, over 20 years ago. He designs innovative assignments that allow students to work in groups, pairs, or by themselves to discover rather than just memorize, the information that he wants them to learn. “Every unit incorporated a variety of multi-media. Students were often allowed to choose the way they were being assessed from a written report,a project, or a more standard test,” says one teacher. His methods are motivating. “He inspires me to always want more knowledge, ” says a student. He uses varied techniques to help students grasp the content and skills he’s teaching. A student said, “He taught me how to change the way I take notes so that I can go back to look at them later.” Another said,” I wanted to transfer because I was struggling. But the one reason I want to stay is [the nominee]. I like his class and him. He makes it so interesting and fun.” A parent says, “He understands how to work with students and how to motivate them. I wish I had a teacher like him when I was in high school!” Students are challenged and excited by the ways in which the nominee teaches his subject. This keeps them energized to learn over time.

5. How does your Nominee inspire high personal & professional standards? (2,000 character maximum, spaces included)

The nominee inspires high personal and professional standards by taking his job seriously. He started out being the best teacher he could be, and has never let down. A longtime colleague comments, ” I first saw him at work in the classroom in 1987. I could see that he enjoyed his job and that he was great at it. But even more importantly was how engaged his students were. Rapt they were. All these years later, he still has the magic touch.” To know this nominee is to know his pride in the teaching profession and his love for his subject. A fellow teacher states: “ I can say he inspires me professionally by showing me what kind of enthusiasm it takes to get kids interested in a topic they may not be fond of.” Another teacher who observed his classes for a few months comments, “ His classes involved high level thinking and analysis. He presented material with absolutely NO bias. He taught the students to think critically, to challenge accepted ideas and to have them know that they could be movers and shakers.” This observation inspired her to challenge herself in her own classes. An administrator reports, ”Prior to the AP test he spends 3-4 Saturdays preparing students for the test. He has one of the highest number of AP test takers at the school with the highest average scores.” He is the same man both in and out of the classroom – honorable, smart, aware and caring, or as one colleague puts it, “a wonderful human being that we are lucky to have.” He has a love of life and a respect for it that is obvious to all who know him. A fellow teacher gives an example of the nominee’s personal standards: “When I was battling cancer and needed an ally, he was in my corner. I was facing a three month medical leave of absence without pay… He came to my cause, organized a faculty annual leave donation email, and lobbied my cause with the BVSD union. Eventually all this worked and I suffered no loss of pay.”

6. How does your Nominee positively IMPACT his/her peers? (2,000 characters maximum, including spaces)

The nominee positively impacts his peers, first by setting an example of what a good teacher can and should be, and secondly by taking a leadership role in the school. He has mentored student teachers for most of his career, and almost all of them have gone on to get jobs in the schools they wanted. One of his former student teachers has this to say: “He has been absolutely indispensable to my development as a teacher. So much of what I do on a day to day basis is influenced in some way by the many things I learned from watching and trying to emulate his teaching. He really sparked my passion for teaching in the same way I’ve seen him spark an interest in the subject for his students.” He is always willing to share ideas. A peer says, “A quick comment in the hall between classes usually ends up with some sort of interesting article on your desk or file in your inbox.” A colleague who taught with the nominee comments, “It’s obvious that he makes learning fun for his students, but what’s equally true is how, just by being himself, he reminds his peers that teaching is fun, too.” As far as showing leadership, he has served as department chairman, department representative to the all-school governing committee and currently, he is in charge of ordering books for the department. A colleague says, “ This (book ordering) is a critical role that he performs seamlessly for our grateful department.” Finally, he bolsters the school morale by projecting a positive attitude. His office mate remarks, “His humor brightens the days and supports the lives of his fellow teachers. This is his gift: the power of words well placed in the imagination of his peers.” He volunteers every year to be the chef at a faculty get-together, and is known for his “mean curry.” A fellow teacher says: “Every time I see him in the hall, he has a smile on his face and makes me feel good and welcome in [our school].”

7. How is your Nominee unique? Describe the most significant quality about your Nominee? (2,000 characters maximum, including spaces)

The most significant quality of the nominee is his incredible ability to take his extensive knowledge of his subject and make it accessible and exciting to his students. A parent comments, “He provided a wonderful role model to our children from their first days at [our school]. He combines scholarly intellectualism with a wonderful sense of humor.” He uses his sense of humor (different accents, including the Beatles and whoever happens to be the current president), his weird imagination (he once sliced a cantaloupe in half with a machete to illustrate a point and at another time had a tape recorder hidden in the ceiling and played sound effects at appropriate times), and his down-to-earth way of relating to people to make every class he teaches into an adventure. He impacts the lives of students by showing them how much fun learning can be. Every single person who collaborated on this nomination – and there were many – mentioned his sense of humor. Here’s a sampling from parents, students, and peers: “His classes were fun…. He is funny – really funny – and the kids would laugh as they learned…. The students always talk about how much fun his class is…. He’s really hilarious and is passionate about teaching…I constantly hear about how exciting he makes his class….He has this unexplainable sense of humor and passion that make him an outstanding teacher and person…He’s so dang funny and smart.” A former student’s comment sums it up: “He makes an environment that makes learning fun and so I came to school wanting to learn.” I team-taught with the nominee for 14 years and enjoyed every moment of the experience. I saw first-hand how the combination of his sense of humor and deep knowledge engaged everyone in the room and made them want to learn. Students may forget a lot about their school experiences, but they never forget this nominee and the impact he has had on their lives.

 

Nomination Sample 3

1. How does your Nominee help students to develop a life-long love of learning? (2,000 character maximum, spaces included)

When one walks into his brightly decorated classroom, one first notices the intricate snowflakes hanging from his ceiling, and the hundreds of unique magnets on display. The “word of the day” is posted prominently so that students entering his classroom may begin guessing the definition of this specially chosen vocabulary word. This is not your typical classroom, but a Boulder Valley school bus! The driver cheerfully greets each of his students by name- stopping to introduce himself to a student’s new friend. Students get settled in comfortably, and this educator starts his engine to begin his “traveling classroom.” This bus driver sets the tone for each day’s learning with his engaging, colorful, fun transportation. By the time students arrive at school, they have been acknowledged by an adult who cares, engaged in learning on the ride, and given the morning foundation they need for a day of learning. At the end of a task-saturated day, this bus ride home provides a safe and supportive sanctuary to reflect on day’s events- and to get excited about new learning adventures to come. Students have given this bus a cherished nick-name, and view it as a privilege among themselves to be on his route. Described by students as “down-to-earth,” “caring,” and “fun”- this adult is the first face to greet students in the morning and the last to get them home safely in the afternoon. He is a primary ambassador for Boulder Valley Public Schools, and he impacts student lives each day with cheer, kindness, and grace.

2. How does your Nominee recognize and respond to individual differences? (2,000 character maximum, spaces included)

Students at our school cite this particular bus driver as one of the favorite people they encounter during their school day! This happy, cheerful driver consistently goes out of his way to recognize the unique worth in each of his students, through personalized conversations and attentive listening skills. This educator makes his students feel special by taking an individual interest in their education and personal lives. Attentive, caring, and involved- this BVSD employee truly makes a difference in the lives of his students. This educator is committed to making each student feel safe, comfortable, and important on his bus. Because he serves the transportation needs of a K-8 school, he has multiple ages, ranging from third grade to eighth grade, riding together to and from school. Whereas this combination of ages could provide challenges for any bus driver striving to ensure that all students are safe in their transportation to and from school- this community of multi-aged bus students travels together in harmony. Older students consistently watch out for younger students at the bus stops and on the bus because of the caring school climate this driver has instilled with his riders. In personalizing his attention to all his students, this driver creates a caring school community where students feel valued.

3. How does your Nominee IMPACT innovations in teaching and/or use of instructional technology? (2,000 character maximum, spaces included)

This educator is committed to fostering a life-long love of education with his students. Each day of the week has a different curricular focus. Mondays are “Guess the Word” day, and students are encouraged to guess the vocabulary definition of a tough and unique word. Tuesdays are “Guess the Phobia” day. Students must try and figure out what symptoms different strange and bizarre aliments might involve, by deciphering the Latin roots of the phobias! Wednesdays include more “Guess the Word” activities. Thursdays involve “Riddles” and “Word Puzzles.” These word challenges are quite tough, and students sometimes spend their entire bus ride trying to figure out the answers. Fridays are celebrated with music, and this bus driver will have song lyrics posted at the front of the bus. Students must try and guess the artist or band name and song title. All of these educational activities are discussed with students when the bus is not in motion, of course! This professional driver wants to make sure that his attention is fully devoted to the hazards of driving safely with fifty children in his care.

4. If applicable, how does your Nominee use instructional teaching strategies to impact student growth in learning over time? (2,000 characters maximum, spaces included)

There are many personal stories to share of how this special educator has made a difference in the lives of his students over the years. Last fall, when a new seventh grader missed his assigned bus after school, this caring educator went out of his way to deliver the child safely home to his new neighborhood- even though this act of kindness required altering his usual bus route. Last winter, a young Kindergartener rode his bus and was so intimidated and scared of the tall middle schoolers, she refused to get off his bus- and sat and cried. Taking her gently by the hand, this driver promised her that he would safely walk her down to her classroom, to her new teacher. Together they negotiated the long walk through the crowded bus loop, crowded hallways, and busy front entrance to the classroom- hand-in-hand. The mother of this Kindergartner was very appreciative of this extra effort this driver gave to her tiny student. There are numerous high school students that view this driver as a mentor and role model. Although they are no longer scheduled to his K-8 bus route, these older high schoolers seek him out after their high school classes are done, and they offer parent permission notes to ride his bus with the younger students. Sitting behind him at the wheel, they then are able to catch up with him on their lives, and it is clear that these high schoolers miss his daily presence in their lives. This year, twin fourth graders cited their bus ride to and from school as one of the highlights of their day. Even though they rode this middle school bus with just a few other elementary students- these siblings loved the fun, engaging community of this driver’s bus commute. A middle-schooler shared that this driver attended her opening theater performance and her orchestra concert at her invitation. She really appreciated his support and friendship.

5. How does your Nominee inspire high personal & professional standards? (2,000 character maximum, spaces included)

This educator is the most creative, caring, and professional driver we have encountered at this school- or any school. Students look forward to riding with this driver because his traveling classroom is engaging and fun. Parents appreciate the personalized attention and care he gives their children. It is not uncommon for this driver to contact parents directly about lost objects or missed attendance. Schools value his professional standards, effective discipline, and strong transportation record. This educator goes out of his way- daily- to make the school commutes an extension of our K-8 community. His traveling classroom is committed to academic excellence and the valuing the individual differences in his learners. Last year, this driver had a dangerous motorcycle rider turn and crash in front of his bus while he was en route to school. This driver exhibited exceptional leadership qualities by clearly instructing students to remain seated and quiet while emergency crews cared for the rider. The driver followed protocol exactly, making sure to take careful notes of students’ seating charts and necessary details required for the write up of an incident report. Parents promptly were informed that evening of the crisis, by the school, and all throughout the incident, students were reassured that they were safe.

6. How does your Nominee positively IMPACT his/her staff or peers? (2,000 character maximum, spaces included)

This unique, exceptional educator is an important member of our school community. This positive individual is the very first adult the children meet in the morning, and the last they see during the afternoon. His altruistic, kind, and positive interactions with kids help foster their self-esteem, and his creative curricular planning helps feed a love of learning and knowledge in his passengers. He is an important member of our staff- and looks forward to participating in school events, whether it’s staff v. student dodge ball, community fundraising, Iron Chef dessert judging, or simply supporting students in the audience for their concerts and sporting events. This type of time and attention this driver devotes to his students goes far beyond what one would expect for a classified employee- but he selflessly and happily gives this time for his students.

7. How is your Nominee unique? Describe the most significant quality about your Nominee? (2,000 character maximum, spaces included)

This unique, exceptional educator is an important member of our school community. This positive individual is the very first significant school employee the children meet in the morning, and the last they see during the afternoon. His altruistic, kind, and positive interactions with kids help foster their self-esteem, and his creative curricular planning helps feed a love of learning and knowledge in his passengers. At the end of each year, this driver has held an “I Appreciate You” party on our school lawn- rewarding his students with pizza and popsicles for their fun year together. Although this party has been eliminated due to the additional impact on time it makes to his afternoon route- it would be fitting to celebrate the difference this educator makes on our school community with much more than pizza and popsicles: this educator clearly impacts Boulder Valley education and is very deserving of an Impact Award.

 

2016 Event

2016 Event

Annual Impact Awards Celebration

March 16, 2016

2016 marked the 24th year that Impact on Education recognizes individuals in the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) who have an extraordinary impact on student learning through innovative teaching skills, exceptional job dedication, and inspirational leadership.

24th Annual Impact Awards
Wednesday, March 16th, 2016
The Boulder Theater

2016 Impact Award Recipients

Elizabeth Burrows
School Counselor
Summit Middle School

It is not often that a single person can be identified as the “heart of our school,” but Summit Middle School’s Elizabeth Burrows fits that moniker. The parents, staff, and students who contributed to her nomination all agreed that she is much more than a counselor, with her impact felt in every part of Summit Middle School from classroom to living room. She transcends the conventional norms of counseling work by not only working with students in the social and emotional realm, but also working one-on-one on non-cognitive skills, running small groups at lunch, leading the student council and student ambassador club, coordinating the school’s parent council, and even guest teaching the 8th grade health class! Summit Middle School’s principal said it best, “Her limitless compassion, her graceful selflessness, and her infectious smile embody all that is good and possible in education.”

 

Tracy Halgren
Community Volunteer
Crest View Elementary School

Does she ever sleep? It’s a common question asked of Tracy Halgren thanks to her tireless volunteer efforts in support of Crest View Elementary. A Crest View student astutely noted, “I see her at school a LOT!” One day she is in her boots and covered in mud in the school garden, the next day she is in the classroom helping kids create holiday crafts, and the next day she is fundraising to get iPads in every classroom and writing grants for teachers to attend an annual Google Summit. As a volunteer at Crest View for over seven years Tracy Halgren has done a little bit of everything, ranging from co-chairing the PTO, to creating the Garden-to-Table program, to leading the school’s recovery efforts following the 2013 flood. Her nominator summed it up simply: “She’s unstoppable.”

Chris Mueller
First Grade Teacher
Escuela Bilingue Pioneer

After years of volunteering as a parent and being told, “You’re so good at this, you should work here,” Christine Mueller made a decision that would change not only her life but those of hundreds of her students over the past 13 years at Escuela Bilingue Pioneer in Lafayette. She quit her job as a geologist and began working at Pioneer in 2002 and became a teacher in 2008. Simply put, she found her passion in teaching and it shows. As a lifelong learner herself, currently working towards a second Master’s Degree, she strives to instill a deep love of learning in her students by personalizing instruction for each student. Whether it’s meeting with a family in August before school starts, spending time with a struggling student after school on a Friday, or hosting a Japanese tea party to bring learning to life, Christine Mueller sparks the flame of learning in each of her students. As one of her nominators put it: “The expectations are sky high, but so is her belief in her learners.”

Traci Schoeneweis
Director of the Executive Office
Peak to Peak Charter School

To say that Traci Schoeneweis is the “life support” to Peak to Peak’s community would be an understatement. Her front office position, as Director of the Executive Office, offers her a 360-degree perspective on the entire school, giving her the opportunity to interact and share life with students (from kindergarten all the way through high school graduation), staff, administrators, parents, and guardians. Her days can include everything from a second grade hoedown, to a middle school spelling bee, to a high school pep assembly, and she has yet to miss a day of work in her ten years at Peak to Peak! Her nomination asserted that, “Like the root network of an aspen grove, she nourishes our educational community just below the surface: solid, strong and deep.”

 

Samara Williams
Principal
Emerald Elementary School

From visiting every classroom in her school each day, to providing positive messaging about having tenacity and embracing the challenge of learning in her daily announcements, Samara Williams leads Emerald Elementary School with a zest for learning and compassion for her students and staff. She always knew she wanted to make the world a better place when she grew up and her belief in the power of education, especially for children with economic challenges or learning barriers, drove her to become an educator. Ms. Williams is an authentic, natural leader and over the past four years her infectious energy, positivity, and passion have made Emerald a place that is cherished, celebrated and sought out.

 

Past Recipients

Past Recipients

2016 Impact Award Recipients

Elizabeth Burrows
School Counselor
Summit Middle School

 

Tracy Halgren
Volunteer
Crest View Elementary School

 

Chris Mueller
First Grade Teacher
Escuela Bilingüe Pioneer

 

Traci Schoeneweis
Director of the Executive Office
Peak to Peak K-12 Charter School

 

Samara Williams
Samara Williams
Principal
Emerald Elementary School

2015

Dave Blessing, Judy Gilligan, Katie Graf, Dean Stankovic, Tracy Stegall

2014

Sarah Bennett, Shannon Burgert, Sennen Knauer, Kyle Mathews, Ned Levine

2013

Russ Lucero, Wendy Pearson, Kurt Schaefer, Stephanie Van Horn, John Williams

2012

Cheryl McCarthy, Ray Neiman, Justin Oberndorf, Virginia Schick, Clara Quinlan

2011

Mary Campbell, Renee Cerny, Laurie Jundt Donlon, Maureen Keeney, Cathy Zimmerman

2010

Corby Connolly, Kristen Elder-Rubino, Larry Leatherman, Kristie Letter, Jonathan Warshaw

2009

Laurie Brockway, Devorah Dettloff, Jeri Eurich, Sue Kidder, Bill Smith

2008

Leticia de Lozano, Michele Hibl, Larry Orobona, Al Real, Barb Steiner

2007

D’Ann Boal, Cathy Cohn, Gloria Diaz-Morales, Monica Olguin, Jeannie Robertson

2006

Ron Revier, Becky Russell, Tracy Tuttle, Barbara Watson, Craig Yeager

2005

Barbie Boschen, Cathy Finleon, Michelle Grayson, Frances Matsumoto, Sue Siggs

2004

Bitsy Carlson, Rosemary Lohndorf, Joan Root, Sabine Smead, Bridgid Warnock(V)

2003

Andre Adeli, Mary Jo Bode, Dr. Ellen Miller-Brown, Sylvia South, Christy Speirn-Smith

2002

Barbara Davis, Harriet Edelstein, Sharon Nehls, Valerie Wheeler, Cheryl Winter

2001

Ellen Goering, Rosalind Hanckel, Beverly Meier, Sarah Obermeier, Naomi Salaman

2000

Michelle Carpenter, Jim Keller, Eric Miller, Denise Pearman, Mary Jo Pelanek (V), Don Stensrud

1999

Linda Leners, Judy Lewis (V), Tracy Rowland (V), Brenda Ann Millette, Al Pospahala (V), Barb Puzio

1998

John Kettling, Paige Larson, Cindy McCaskill, Linda Overholser, Martha Retrum

1997

Stephanie Briggs, Sandra Brodie, Lauren Hoyt, Joy Redeker, Mark Sparn

1996

Elise Billingsley, Susan Garnand, Fred Gluck, Willie Knierim, Barbara McDermid

1995

Beth Arnold, Judith Koenig, Scott Miller, Bob Rea, Barbara Spriggs

1994

Steven Armitage, Mina Jaroscak, Ann Kane, Carol Newman, Gil Norris

1993

Phyllis Clarke, Nancy FitzGerrell, Dee Kehl, Cheryl Rapp, Becky Whittenburg

(V) = Volunteer