WASHINGTON, January 25, 2015 – In addition to presenting the Powell Elementary School with its 2014 Principal of the Year Award, the DCPS Standing Ovation event also honored numerous teachers with its Outstanding Teaching awards.
In total the Rubenstein Awards recognized seven outstanding teachers, including the Teacher of the Year, and the Principal of the Year with $10,000 cash prizes; and thirty additional highly effective educators and school leaders including support staff with $5,000 awards.
The Standing Ovation awards gala at which the Rubenstein Awards were presented not only raised over a million dollars, granted nearly a quarter million in awards, but also raised the bar nationally by presenting a first class recognition event with celebrity appeal.
Continuing the trend of elementary educators dominating this year’s Standing Ovation awards, Charisse H. Robinson, a third grade teacher at Cleveland Elementary School was selected as this year’s outstanding teacher of the year.
As a 16-year veteran teacher, Mrs. Robinson has no doubt that teaching is her calling, but her fire is ignited daily by her students’ eager curiosity and honesty. “Children will give you the harsh truth,” Mrs. Robinson says. “The last thing I want to do is disappoint any of them.”
Now in her sixth year at Cleveland after 10 years teaching in neighboring Prince George’s County, Mrs. Robinson builds a safe learning environment for her students. “I constantly encourage them to take risks, to make mistakes and learn from them,” she explains. “We create a family of learners in my classroom. We support one another.”
As a former student writes, “Mrs. Robinson makes me more excited to come to school – just seeing her smiling face makes my day. She puts the ‘learn’ in ‘learning.’”
Mrs. Robinson credits much of her success to her colleagues at Cleveland, who work cooperatively with a genuine focus on student achievement. Mrs. Robinson’s students have shown incredible growth each year. Last year, 95 percent of her students met or exceeded grade level standards in reading, even though a quarter of her class started the year significantly behind. Her principal, Dawn Feltman, remarks, “Mrs. Robinson is an amazing teacher! She meets students where they are so that she can take them to the next level and beyond.”
2014 Excellence in Teaching Award Winners:
The Excellence in Teaching Awards recognize the outstanding achievement and dedication of seven DCPS teachers with a $10,000 prize. DCPS educators, students, parents and community members nominate teachers for this award. In addition to Charisse Robinson, four other elementary school teachers, one middle school teacher and one high school teacher were recognized for their teaching excellence.
The unusual diversity included two teachers with over 20 years of experience: Para C. Perry a music teacher at Amidon-Bowen elementary; and Darlene Morris a high school math teacher at H. D. Woodson with 29 years of experience. Two outstanding male teachers also made the grade: Daryl Forte, a physical education teacher at Burrville Elementary; and Craig M. Duchemin, an autistic English and language arts teacher at Charles Hart middle school.
–DCPS contributed to this article.