NEWARK – School system officials celebrated Worcester County’s most innovative educators with a special program this month.
Worcester County Public Schools hosted the second annual Celebrating Innovation luncheon on Wednesday, June 8. The event, held at Worcester Technical High School, honored 19 teachers for the unique ways they’ve improved learning in their classrooms. Superintendent Jerry Wilson thanked them for their efforts to be creative.
“It’s often easy to dream up ideas,” Wilson said, “but it’s the leaders who move those ideas into action who are truly innovative.”
Teachers were honored for the array of ways they’ve increased learning during the past school year. Though all teachers were invited to submit innovations to be recognized, those whose efforts were celebrated this week were chosen by a review committee made up of several school system officials. Wilson said the innovations were reviewed based on their utility, creativity, efficacy, replicability and by the results they generated.
“We offered everyone the challenge of implementing innovative processes that produce measureable improvements,” he said.
Projects highlighted at this week’s lunch ranged from redesigning a classroom to creating a virtual adventure to launching a local SkillsUSA competition. Pocomoke High School’s Bill Williams was recognized for improving his marching band’s performance through the use of video playback and review, a practice more often utilized by sports teams.
“The use of this practice enabled the band to score an average of six points higher in competition categories of marching and general effect,” said Carrie Sterrs, the school system’s coordinator of public relations and special programs.
Cedar Chapel Special School’s Mary Lankford was honored for creating a business project — holiday card sales — to augment her students’ work experiences.
Worcester Tech’s Valerie Zienty earned recognition for holding a debate — moderated by Senator Jim Mathias — in which her students researched and defended specific views on energy.
Zienty said she was thrilled to receive the letter notifying her of the award but was even more honored when she saw what other projects were beign highlighted.
“Teachers wrote and piloted their own curriculum, invited parents on digital adventures, partnered with educators across the state,” she said. “How can one not feel honored to be listed among these innovative practices?”
Kristina Belcher, Worcester County’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, praised all of the Celebrating Innovation winners for their leadership and efforts to prepare students for a high-tech world.
“The only constant in this world is nothing stays the same,” she said. “Change is inevitable and can serve as a powerful incentive for improvement.”
For a complete listing of this year’s Celebrating Innovation winners, visit www.worcesterk12.com.