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Pierce County educators win statewide Golden Apple Awards

Post by Debbie Cafazzo / The News Tribune on Jan. 24, 2013 at 3:03 pm with No Comments »
January 24, 2013 3:03 pm

A Lakewood school and a Tacoma teacher will be honored at the 2012 Golden Apple Awards ceremony Feb. 1.

The awards, from KCTS9 public television in Seattle, will recognize Southgate Elementary School in Lakewood’s Clover Park School District and teacher Kathleen Casper, who works with highly capable students in Tacoma Public Schools.

Southgate is one of three schools that will be presented with the Pathways to Excellence award, new this year from the Golden Apples. The award notes Southgate’s transformation over the past five years. Examples: the percentage of third-graders meeting state standards in math grew from 42 percent in the 2007-08 school year to 80 percent last spring. The number of fifth-graders at or above standard in science went from 5 percent to 69 percent in the same time period.

Nearly all – 95 percent – of the school’s students are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, and nearly half are English language learners.

Principal Charlotte Clouse credits Southgate’s progress to engaged teachers, a bilingual parent advocate and support from the local Rotary Club.

“I have a staff that is absolutely phenomenal. They are nurturers and givers,” Clouse said in a news release.

In Tacoma, Casper works with nearly 100 highly capable students in grades three through five from throughout the city. She is also a foster parent and community volunteer.

Last year Casper, who is also an attorney, applied for a fellowship that helped her create a study unit called “Civilizations, Social Justice and Change.” The unit linked ancient civilizations and modern issues. Casper’s students engaged in those issues throughout Tacoma, speaking to the City Council, volunteering in a soup kitchen and more.

The TV station has presented the Golden Apples to exceptional educators from throughout the state since 1992. Since then, more than 3,000 individuals and programs have been nominated, and more than 200 selected. The awards ceremony will air on public TV stations statewide in February.


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