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Winners 2005
Congratulations to the 2005 winners that were selected from a pool of over two-hundred fifty very strong applications and forty-three 2005 finalists. Winners were honored at the Gala event on May 17, 2005 in Washington, DC. See photographs from the 2005 Cable's Leaders In Learning Awards.

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General Excellence

Peggy Bryan
San Jose, CA

"As an urban school with mostly low-income children who are learning English, we keep searching for the best teaching and learning strategies on the face of the planet. What we are about is continuing that quest and asking others to join us on the journey."

Peggy Bryan is the force behind Project ALAS, a model of professional development that offers teachers the time they need for additional training while not changing the structure of the school day or week. The secret of Bryan's success is the project's Mid-Day Block, from 11 am to 12:30 pm, when all teachers participate in formal staff training and students, supervised by paraprofessionals, take part in fitness activities, study period, and lunch. In addition, ALAS builds in crossgrade-level peer coaching once per month for teachers and week-long mini-sabbaticals for professional development.

Over the past two years of the project, the school's state ranking has moved from one of the lowest to a mid-point, and it has jumped an average of 70 points per year on the state Academic Performance Index. In 2002-2003, the school had the highest gain of any school in the state.

 Helen Soulé, Executive Director of CIC, presents Peggy Bryan the award [High-resolution JPG]

 Press Release [PDF]

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Linda Kennedy
White Oak, TX

Linda Kennedy"I resolved that no one would leave my room with an unaddressed learning problem. I was looking for some addition to the classroom. I wasn't prepared for a room with mini trampolines, beanbags, and balance boards. But that's where I work today."

From her earliest years as a teacher, Linda Kennedy says she "wanted the ones who were behind, who struggled to belong, and who were puzzles to teach." In the spring of 1997, Kennedy resolved that no one would leave her room with an unaddressed learning problem if there was a possibility of finding the cause. That was Kennedy's first step in creating the White Oak Learning Development Lab, which helps analyze and address students' individual learning needs and builds their capacity to understand, to process, and to remember information. The Lab works to expand learning readiness, skills, and visual and auditory memory, and offers visual testing and therapy.

Kennedy credits the Lab for ever-increasing scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, and for a reduction in Special Education referrals and the number of discipline referrals to the principal. "The work we do in this lab has helped all teachers find better ways to teach children," said Kennedy. "Finding the correct programs for our students' needs, pulling them together, helping find ways to fund each, and assisting children to develop in all areas of their education is what I do today. I wouldn't trade places with anyone."

  Helen Soulé, Executive Director of CIC, presents Linda Kennedy the award [High-resolution JPG]

  Press Release [PDF]

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Calvin Pearce
Chicago, IL

"Among the benefits of students participating in peer tutoring are that students develop a love for learning, gain a greater sense of self-esteem, improve attendance, aspire to become teachers, and much more."

Calvin Pearce found a way to involve students in tutoring their younger peers, engage parents in their children's education, and address the Digital Divide – all through his Time Dollar Tutoring program. Peer tutors earn "time dollars" toward an Internet-ready computer, equipment that has been reclaimed, recycled, and upgraded. Time Dollar Tutoring targets schools with a 90% free lunch program and high poverty rate, helping student participants develop a love for learning, a greater sense of selfesteem, and improving attendance. Many of them emerge with aspirations to become teachers, among other lofty goals.

In its eight-year existence, Time Dollar Tutoring has placed 5,075 computers in disadvantaged homes and helped students average a year's growth in math and reading scores. In addition, 450 tons of computer waste has been redirected out of landfills. Pearce's program has shipped computers to Trinidad and Ghana, set up computer reading labs in several schools, and run computer-training labs that help teenagers enter the job market. The United Kingdom, Japan, and The Chicago Bulls have all started using the Time Dollar Tutoring program.

  Helen Soulé, Executive Director of CIC, presents Calvin Pearce the award [High-resolution JPG]

  Press Release [PDF]

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Mary Catherine Swanson
San Diego, CA

Mary Catherine Swanson"The perpetuation of democracy and the long-term success of our nation hinges on building an education system that accommodates and prepares all students. AVID calls upon our educators to perform miracles against all odds; through our efforts together, our students become trailblazers of hope, courage, and excellence."

Mary Catherine Swanson founded Advancement Via Individual Determination — nationally known as AVID— a school-wide program that prepares the least served students for college eligibility and success by raising rigorous standards and providing support. Since 1980, Swanson's system has been improving school-wide standardized test scores, encouraging challenging course selection, and increasing the number of students accepted to college. The program places students in honors, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate courses, then provides them the support tools to succeed.

Most AVID students are underrepresented minorities – African Americans and Latinos. Since 1990, more than 30,000 AVID students have graduated from high school and gone on to college. Nearly 95% of AVID students enroll in college (77% in four-year institutions and 17% in community colleges), compared to the national average for four-year college enrollment of 35%. Swanson credits the support AVID students receive, the commitment to success they feel, the inspirational teachers they encounter, and the self-determination they exercise for making them persevere despite considerable challenges.

 High-resolution image of Mary Catherine Swanson [TIF - high-resolution - 3 megs] 

 Press Release [PDF]

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Kandy Claybaugh 
Colorado Springs, CO

Kandy Claybaugh"As some of our dropouts succeed at the Digital School, they regain confidence in their ability to achieve academically. Many enroll in traditional high schools to complete their secondary education. Parents who had given up hope are grateful that their student will earn a diploma rather than a GED."

Kandy Claybaugh is the force behind the Digital School at the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs, an online school designed for about 100 high school students annually who have dropped out or need to recover credits. The school provides them an opportunity to earn a diploma without the constraints of a traditional school year or five-days-a-week schedule. They can complete a course in less than a semester or take longer if they need it.

Students study one course at a time at the Citadel Mall in the oneroom school model, with a licensed teacher who acts as a facilitator. Teachers are able to meet the individual needs of each student, and credit for the course is transferred back to the student's home high school. Students select the day and time they would like to reserve a computer and a teacher to assist them as they progress through their course work. Adelphia Communications donated the cable modems which make this program feasible. During the 2003-2004 academic year, 75 students who attended the school earned a diploma, and the graduation rate of Colorado Springs School District Eleven rose 3.8%.

  Helen Soulé, Executive Director of CIC, presents Kandy Claybaugh the award [High-resolution JPG]

  Press Release [PDF]

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Terrence Clark
Bethpage, NY

"We prepare students with 21st century skills. We conduct videoconferences around the globe from 2nd grade on up, have heart monitors so students can chart their own physical education, and students continue their work at home by accessing our school network remotely."

When the economic base of Bethpage, NY morphed from Cold War defense-industry to high-tech, Terrence Clark wanted students in his small school district to be a part of the profound change. He led the creation of Bethpage Academy of Technology, a high school curriculum providing students an opportunity to earn advanced diplomas in information technology or new media.

Through a powerful partnership with Cablevision, Clark was able to provide the Academy's students with a computer lab, staff training and other resources. Students also have the opportunity to learn from local corporations by going on guided tours of their operating centers, visiting graphic design houses to see the layout and production process, and touring television studios and labs, where they receive hands-on experience configuring the latest in networking equipment. The Bethpage School District now has one of the most sophisticated computer networks in the country.

 Helen Soulé, Executive Director of CIC, presents Terrence Clark the award [High-resolution JPG]

 Press Release [PDF]

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Darryl LaGace 
Lemon Grove, CA

"This program has transformed the learning environment. Resources are no longer limited to textbooks, paper copies, or the overhead projector; these have been replaced by more relevant ways of delivering instructions—classroom websites tailored to students' needs."

Known as the "Little District that Could," Lemon Grove has transformed the teaching and learning environment with technology, largely thanks to the efforts of district administrator Darryl LaGace and his partners, L. McLean King, Ed.D., superintendent of the Lemon Grove School District and Barbara Allen, director of Project LemonLINK. Determined not to let economic challenges inhibit their capacity to meet the needs of the community, the city and the school district created LemonLINK, which focuses on highspeed connectivity, equity, and access to resources. The result of business and government partnerships created to connect all schools and the city via microwave, laser, and fiber-optic technologies, LemonLINK has turned the school district into the communication hub for the entire community.

Unique to this system is the use of a microwave tower, located at the district office. Each school and city facility (City Hall, Fire Department, Public Works, Recreation Department, Community Center, Teen Center, and Senior Center) has its own microwave, laser, and/or fiber-optic link and, thanks to Cox Communications, can access the Internet and any programs needed from workstations anywhere on the city wide area network. Every family now has equitable access to information technology, just as families in more affluent areas do.

 Helen Soulé, Executive Director of CIC, presents Darryl LaGace the award [High-resolution JPG]

 Press Release [PDF]

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Rebecca Painter 
Bowling Green, KY

Rebecca Painter"We are attempting to educate and remediate a forgotten population. Things that are normally taken for granted are privileges in detention, and limited exposure to nature can be supplemented through television."

Rebecca Painter's students can't take field trips. In fact, in the winter, they go outside only when they go to court. They are residents of a youth detention facility, and thanks to Painter's "Cable in the Classroom at Warren Regional Juvenile Detention Center Program," they now can explore careers in climatology and meteorology, put on plays, and take virtual trips outdoors and into the broader world. Using Insight Communications as a link to the outside, Painter uses Cable in the Classroom member network's programs and technology to transform the education of these at-risk youth.

Residents of the youth detention facility have benefited enormously from Painter's efforts, including a hurricane unit that wove in Weather Channel programming. She has convinced the language arts instructor to integrate the hurricane materials with "Isaac's Storm" by Erik Larson, providing historical perspective through an investigation of a devastating Galveston storm. All courses address Kentucky Learning Goals and Academic Expectations. Students say Painter's courses are among the high points in their lives.

 Helen Soulé, Executive Director for CIC, presents Rebecca Painter the award [High-resolution JPG]

 Press Release [PDF]

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Julie York 
South Portland, ME

Julie York"Amazing results and awareness resulted from the project. Students learned and the community got involved. Through multiple multimedia projects, students developed their awareness of the importance of voting and civic responsibility."

Julie York has helped students connect voting to their own lives, to the school, their families, and the community. Using cable programming, especially CNN, she developed a student voting project, complete with student-created 30-second radio ads, public service announcements, PowerPoint presentations, brochures, posters, websites, video interviews, written interviews, and a school-wide mock election.

Aligned with Maine Learning Results, the project helped students gain a better understanding of civic responsibility and share that understanding with their families, who were invited into
classroom activities. Working with online, broadcast and print resources, students gained a better understanding of the election process.

Parents commented that they felt the project helped them open communication with their children about voting and democracy. York has a long waiting list to get into her classes.

  Helen Soulé, Executive Director of CIC, presents Julie York the award [High-resolution JPG]

  Press Release [PDF]

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Media Literacy  

Chris Sperry
Ithaca, NY

"Media literacy is an essential skill for the 21st century, and teachers must have the materials and training to integrate it into the core curriculum."

Chris Sperry has designed, developed, and disseminated multimedia educational materials to help educators integrate media literacy throughout the core curriculum. For the past eight years, Sperry and Ithaca College faculty member Cyndy Scheibe have co-directed Project Look Sharp (PLS), developing its unique approach that is inspired by teachers' needs and ideas.

"Teachers desperately want engaging media materials that they can use to teach core content and engage students in complex critical thinking," said Sperry. "Few teachers have the time to find the right materials, to get them in a usable form, to research the appropriate background information, and to put everything together in time for the next class. PLS has taken on this challenge." Arranged as curriculum kits, the materials Sperry has developed cover such topics as "Media Construction of War: A Critical Reading of History," which includes comparisons of Newsweek covers from the Vietnam and Gulf Wars, among other activities. The kits are distributed nationally and are being used by hundreds of teachers.

 Helen Soulé, Executive Director of CIC, presents Chris Sperry with the award [High-resolution JPG]

 Press Release [PDF]

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Laura Miller 
Mayor, City of Dallas
Dallas, TX
Mayor Laura Miller - Dallas, TX"When I was a little girl, nothing thrilled me more than bicycling to the neighborhood library and spending the afternoon lying on the floor in the stacks reading to my heart's content. I know firsthand the pleasures of keeping fit and reading all year long."
For Mayor Laura Miller, learning goes on well beyond the end of the school day and extends to every part of the community. Based on her own love of reading and fitness, Mayor Miller made a commitment to literacy and healthy living as the best way to improve the quality of life for Dallas' children.
Miller has enlisted the collaboration of the business community and has donated countless hours of her own time to educate the city's youth about the importance of well-tuned minds and bodies. Through her Mayor's Summer Reading Program, the city's first-ever get-fit summer run – "The Mayor's 5K Fun Run!", and an annual Back-to-School Fair providing school supplies, free immunizations, check-ups, and health education to under-privileged youth, Mayor Miller has helped more than 250,000 young people to learn the joy of reading and staying fit.
All activities have been free to participants, and each was successfully completed with no impact on the city's financial obligations. Constituents attest to Miller's popular appeal with frequent observations that she "doesn't act like a Mayor."
  High-resolution image of Mayor Laura Miller [High-resolution JPG]
  Press Release [PDF]
Ron Thornburgh 
Secretary of State for Kansas
Topeka, KS
"Abraham Lincoln said, 'The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.' That's why we must instill in our youth the importance of participating in democracy, and Kids Voting is the program that will get it done."
Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh increased voter turnout, especially among 18- to 24-year-olds. His leadership was instrumental in creating Kids Voting Kansas, a grassroots, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to educating Kansas youth about the rights, responsibilities, and mechanics of participating in American democracy.
Thanks to Thornburgh's tireless efforts, Kids Voting Kansas has been embraced by schools and communities, with 55 communities now participating statewide. Average voter turnout among 18- to 24-year-olds nationwide is only 15%; in areas of Kansas where Kids Voting has been implemented for 10 years or more, an average 65% of that age group turn out to vote.
Beginning in kindergarten, students learn how to research the candidates, listen to debates, and become responsible citizens through Kids Voting Kansas. Under Thornburgh's direction, the program has become the largest of its kind in the nation.
 High-resolution image of Ron Thornburgh [TIF - high-resolution - 1 meg]
 Press Release [PDF]