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Prizes are way tastier than an apple for the teacher

2014 October 23
by HISD Communications

The tradition of giving an apple to the teacher goes back to frontier days, research shows. It was a simple, symbolic way of honoring hardworking souls who frequently wrangled more than 50 youngsters of widely varying ages in a one-room schoolhouse.

Today’s teachers face a different set of complexities, and the way we reward their excellence has also changed. In HISD, we’re striving to be competitive in pay and benefits to make sure we have an effective teacher in every classroom, and we offer attractive opportunities for professional development and leadership growth. Our ASPIRE awards have put millions of dollars in bonuses into the hands of teachers whose students show measurable academic progress.

Dedicated companies, such as H-E-B, sponsor lucrative annual programs that reward exceptional teaching, and programs such as the Fund for Teachers underwrite professional development opportunities that send our teachers around the globe each summer to bring back unique, first-hand knowledge about history, language, science, and cultures to their classrooms.

That brings us to your chance to give one of these modern-day “apples” to a remarkable teacher. We know we have thousands of them in HISD — those who personalize learning to each child, who engage parents in thoughtful ways, who are making the most of technology, and who are collaborating to bring other’s best practices to their classrooms.

The $25,000 Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice is open for nominations of teachers working in schools where at least 40 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. (That’s most of ours.) We’ve already made some nominations, but we want you to take the time to nominate a special teacher you have encountered. Take your cue from the Fishman slogan:  “Great teaching is hard. Nominating is easy.”

A shiny, crisp apple is always welcome, but national recognition and a handsome prize is something on which one of our teachers could happily chew. Start polishing your nomination now.

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