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Educator Resources

Golden Apples: Foundation, sponsors to fund Teacher Appreciation Week in lieu of yearly awards

Rachel Fradette, Naples Daily News

Golden Apple day in Collier County, with all of its surprises and tearful excitement, is transforming this year to celebrate educators in a new way amid the pandemic.

In lieu of the annual awards and dinner, Champions For Learning announced that 58 Collier County schools will receive funds to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week how they see fit.

Every school through Golden Apple sponsors will receive $2,000 to salute teachers May 3 to May 7 with a special emphasis on May 4 when community appreciation is encouraged.

The county’s education foundation said the pandemic led to a different opportunity and they ran with it.

“We’ve always done well when we’ve listened,” Susan McManus, president of Champions For Learning, said. “I think that was what came across this year.”

McManus said the foundation could not just proceed with their typical program this year; they needed to hear from educators like in every other year.

Foundation staff spoke to Collier school leaders about what teachers were feeling about the unprecedented year and how they might celebrate innovation and hard work in classrooms, McManus said.

“The principals and the selection committee taking the time to be on the phone and talk through all this, you know, it’s inspired us. It’s encouraged us,” McManus said. “I’m so glad we did it. I can’t even imagine right now trying to go through the motions of that, that same process or celebration.”

From coordination with their parent-teacher organizations to creative themes, schools are in the process of developing how their communities will salute their educators, Lisa Church, chief community impact officer for the foundation, said.

“I was just so impressed so far with what I’m seeing around how the principals are engaging so many people in the celebration plan,” Church said.

Church said she hopes to see Collier as a community reflect on what it has meant to have schools open this year and think about ways to say thanks you to teachers and school staff.

Last year, Collier schools hosted the foundation’s annual surprises mere weeks before the shutdown in Florida.

The results of school closings led to the cancellation of the foundation’s annual dinner, which celebrates awardees and other educators.

The coronavirus pandemic also prevented community volunteers from being able to visit classrooms as part of the selection process for the awards, McManus said.

“We did come to that understanding with them that we would make a commitment to helping the community really understand what it’s been like this year, maybe not by picking just teachers of distinction individually but by our organization really committing to putting a whole different process in place,” McManus said.

Lee County’s annual celebration sponsored by The Foundation for Lee County Schools moved forward with safety precautions and measures in place. Six Lee County teachers took home their Golden Apples last month.

In addition to the Teacher Appreciation Week celebration, Collier’s Champions For Learning is honoring educators through a TV special on April 25 that will focus on teaching and learning through the year.

This year’s program is dedicated to Lavern ‘Lal’ Gaynor, a prominent Naples philanthropist who often involved herself with the organization. She died this week at age 97.

Rachel Fradette is an education reporter for the Naples Daily News. Follow her on Twitter: @Rachel_Fradette, email her at rfradette@gannett.com.

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2021 Golden Apple Celebrating this Extraordinary Year of Teaching and Learning

This year, more than ever, it is so important for us, as a community, to appreciate and honor teachers and principals across Collier County for the extraordinary work they have done in ever-changing circumstances to keep our students moving forward.  While the pandemic has prevented Champions For Learning from sending community volunteers into schools to identify individual Golden Apple recipients, it also provides an opportunity to tell a larger story about teaching and learning over the course of this extraordinary year.

Join in the celebration by watching the 31st Annual Golden Apple program presented by Suncoast Credit Union and broadcast on NBC-2 on Sunday, April 25th, 2021, at 7 pm.   This is a story of exemplary leadership, courage, resilience, creativity, and collaboration of our Collier schools and educators, which has allowed our community to move forward in ways other communities have not.  Our educators are the heartbeat of every community.

In lieu of the annual dinner and with the support of our generous sponsors, funding of $2,000 will be provided to 58 schools to help each school community celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week (May 3 – 7). On Tuesday, May 4th, the entire community is encouraged to show their gratitude for our schools and educators.  Champions For Learning has organized a list of appreciation ideas which can be found at https://championsforlearning.org/appreciation.

The Golden Apple program is presented by Suncoast Credit Union and supported by major sponsors Conditioned Air, Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation, Moorings Park, Naples Daily News, NBC-2 Waterman Broadcasting, Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, and Stock Development.

 

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Introduction to Innovation

For years Champions For Learning has been involved in preparing students for their future learning and career goals, utilizing the lab space within our office building to not only inspire students’ ambitions but to help them reach their goals.

Longtime Champion, Frank Daveler, was always grateful to facilitate students’ ambitions as they pursued their own success through opportunities otherwise inaccessible. Because of the $500,000 contribution from Frank and his late wife, Ellen, Champions For Learning was able to launch the Frank and Ellen Daveler Center for Innovation in January, allowing the lab space to be reimagined, moving the new Center into the future.

Frank & Ellen Innovation Center Classroom | Champions for Learning   Frank & Ellen Innovation Center Classroom | Champions for Learning   Frank & Ellen Innovation Center Classroom with People | Champions for Learning

Scheduled for completion in June 2021, the new Center will expand the capacity and opportunities for Champions For Learning to support collaboration and innovation with teachers, students, parents, volunteers and community partners. As you look at the renderings of the reimagined Center, you will see that the strongest theme is collaboration. The spaces are meant to be rearranged to become functional lab spaces where students, teachers, and community partners can come together to discuss and innovate.

We believe the Davelers would have enjoyed seeing students, teachers and community members engaged in this way in this vibrant new space, creating opportunities for our community to connect with students as they prepare for their futures and to inspire solutions to complex challenges.

We are excited about the opportunity to engage teachers, students, parents and the community through the Center for Innovation and know that you are excited to move into the future with us!

Champions For Learning is in need of funding for furniture and materials for student modular workstations and conference rooms for the Frank & Ellen Daveler Center For Innovation. Contributions to the Innovation Center will be matched dollar for dollar.

Join in. Your gift to Champions For Learning inspires our community to continue to work together. No gift is too small–your gift can be combined with others to support life-changing learning experiences.

Should you like to make a donation, please visit us here online. Your gift begins making an impact immediately.

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Educators Are The Heartbeat Of Every Community!

Champions For Learning’s Classroom Grant program allows teachers to make grant requests that are funded directly by the community to create innovative learning experiences for their students. One-hundred percent of these contributions go directly into classrooms for teachers to put to use immediately with students.

Tommie Barfield Elementary demonstrates the outstanding creativity and innovation shown by teachers, especially during this incredibly challenging year, offering us the opportunity to understand the incredible daily effort put forth by our educators — they truly are the heartbeat of every community!

The Health and P.E. educators at Tommie Barfield Elementary School could not wait to get students’ hearts pumping when they returned to school last fall, but they knew that doing so during the pandemic — where new protocols were in place around safe distancing and not using equipment — was going to be a challenge.

Fitness Activity Circuit Stencils, obtained through a classroom grant requested by P.E. teacher Deana Richett and funded by Ray Harman, in honor of Karen Harman, made it easy to transform the sidewalks and hardcourts at Tommie Barfield into safe environments to play and be physically active. The stencils are perfect for creating fun and engaging sensory, fitness, and socialization opportunities for students of all ages.

During recess, students can run through the circuit at their leisure. During physical education classes, the teachers use the circuits with more structure, building on daily lessons. Given all the changes and restrictions put on students this school year, it is important for their social and emotional well-being to have safe opportunities to play. All 500 Tommie Barfield students are now able to improve their motor development, flexibility, strength, and coordination through the different activities available while still following safety guidelines.

This year, more than ever, it is so important for us, as a community, to appreciate and honor teachers across Collier County for the extraordinary work they have done in ever-changing circumstances to keep our students moving forward. 

The Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers continues to be an opportunity to highlight teaching and learning in Collier County. Although the pandemic has prevented us from sending community volunteers into schools for a Golden Apple selection process, it has created an opportunity for Champions For Learning and all Collier County Public Schools to tell a larger story about teaching and learning over the course of this extraordinary year.

Presented by Suncoast Credit Union, the Golden Apple television program will air on Sunday, April 25th at 7:00 pm on NBC-2. Leading up to and following the program, there will also be social media highlighting each of our schools, and this will serve as a bridge to Teacher Appreciation Week in early May. Champions For Learning will also lead a community-wide initiative to thank educators on Tuesday, May 4th.

Join in. Your gift to Champions For Learning inspires our community to continue to work together. No gift is too small–your gift can be combined with others to support life-changing learning experiences.

Should you like to make a donation, please visit us here online. Your gift begins making an impact immediately.

Save The Date

 

 

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Back To Learning

Champions aren’t born; we lift each other up. Although our school year is getting started differently, we are so grateful for our teachers, administrators, parents, volunteers, and community partners for helping our students get back to learning!

Now, more than ever, it is fundamental to student success to keep learning moving forward, whether virtually or in-person and our community recognizes that our educators are the champions that students need in their corner.

Please join in and help our educators, schools, and families in one or more of the following ways:

  • Fund a teacher’s great idea by visiting https://www.finditfunditflorida.com/collier/ or by purchasing a License For Learning License plate with 100% of the proceeds going directly into classroom grants.
  • With more than 60% of students returning to Collier County Public Schools for instruction on campus, our students will have the opportunity to learn with district-provided laptops and devices appropriate to their grades and will be provided with face masks and hand sanitizer. However, the guidelines outlining social distancing will require that each student uses their own individual school supplies.   They will not be able to share their crayons or scissors and teachers will need to help students keep their own supplies organized.   A $10 donation can sponsor a backpack full of the items that a student will need to start school. To donate visit: https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E206032&id=41
  • Join in and become a virtual volunteer! For more information, visit https://championsforlearning.org/volunteer/
  • Class of 2021 be ready for what’s next! Champions For Learning is preparing students for life after high school check out our student resources, updated regularly!  www.Championsforlearning.org/resources
  • Learn more about Champions For Learning by attending a Virtual Champions 101. Learn about how our work is impacting students, families, and teachers in Collier County. Champions 101s are informational sessions that serve as an introduction to who we are, what we do, and how to help. https://championsforlearning.org/learnmore/

Our community is engaged and energized in support of student success. Please join in and help us to create life-changing learning experiences for every student in Collier County.

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Tune In To Watch: April 5th

Tune in To Watch  Flyer Please Share

Celebrating Teachers: Adapting Golden Apple

TUNE IN TO WATCH:
30th Annual Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers
Sunday, April 5, 2020 at 7 pm
NBC-2

Champions For Learning is celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program this year. Each year teachers from across Collier County and their best practices are recognized, and six teachers highlighted as Golden Apple recipients through committed media partners, Naples Daily News and NBC-2. The primary purpose for this recognition is to honor outstanding educators in our community, highlight their best practices, and share our community’s utmost respect for the profession of teaching.

The television special highlighting Collier County’s Golden Apple teachers and Teachers of Distinction will air on Sunday April 5th at 7 pm on NBC-2 and will feature the six Golden Apple teachers and their practices along with highlighting our sponsors and Teachers of Distinction. In addition, there will be social media to promote the television program as well as give our educators prominence in our community.

With the current challenges of the COVID-19 virus, we want to be socially responsible, and not put school staff and families at risk. In lieu of an annual dinner, and with the support of our generous sponsors, we will adapt the program and devote our celebrations to teachers and their classroom practices by funding classroom projects for each of the 52 Teachers of Distinction and Golden Apple teachers.

“We want to keep the focus on our teachers at this time, and hope that by investing in their classroom practices and avoiding large events, we will help to support the health of our community,” shares Susan McManus, President, Champions For Learning. “We are so grateful to our sponsors and the entire community for continuing to support and recognize the important role that teachers play.”
Thank you to Suncoast Credit Union as presenting sponsor of the Golden Apple program, along with major sponsors: and Naples Grande Beach Resort. Additional support is provided by our Major Sponsors: Conditioned Air, eBella Magazine, the Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation, Moorings Park, Naples Daily News, Naples Grande Beach Resort, NBC-2, Stock Development, and Wells Fargo.

 

 

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Champions For Learning Announces 2019-2020 Golden Apple Recipients

 

Students in six Collier County classrooms received bushels of golden apples as their teachers were surprised with Golden Apple awards. Representatives from Suncoast Credit Union, Presenting Sponsor of the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program, were joined by Champions For Learning board members, sponsors, and volunteers to present the awards to the teachers in their classrooms.

52 Teachers of Distinction representing Collier County Public Schools shared their best practices. Champions For Learning’s community-based selection committee identified six (6) practices to highlight as part of the Golden Apple process.
Congratulations to the following 2019-2020 Golden Apple recipients. See attached list for the names of the Teachers of Distinction.

• Sarah Bratcher, Lake Park Elementary
• Eileen Fuentes, Sabal Palm Elementary
• Elizabeth Garcia, Manatee Middle
• Theresa Golden, Veterans Memorial Elementary
• Serena M. Hampton-Dunn, Gulf Coast High
• David Stehlin, Immokalee High

Click Here To View Photos of Golden Apple Delivery Day

“At Suncoast Credit Union, we believe that the stronger we make our teachers, the stronger our students will be. For this reason, we create opportunities for educators to share best practices and to grow professionally, “said Cindy Helton executive director of the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation.
The 2019-2020 Golden Apple recipients will each receive a grant (up to $5,000) from Suncoast Credit Union toward further developing their best practice. The Golden Apple recipients also receive an additional cash award thanks to the Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation.

The community will honor and thank the Golden Apple Recipients, Teachers of Distinction, and Collier County Public Schools’ Teachers of the Year at the Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers Dinner on April 3, 2020. This is the 30th annual celebration of Golden Apple as a longstanding tradition of the value our community places on the teaching profession.

Click Here To View Photos of Golden Apple Delivery Day

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Champions For Learning Announces Collier County Teachers of Distinction

Champions for Learning is excited to announce the 2019-2020 Teachers of Distinction for Collier County. As part of the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program, each school in Collier County Public Schools has the opportunity to nominate a teacher and best practice to highlight on behalf of their school. From this group of 53 Teachers of Distinction, Champions For Learning’s community-based selection committee will identify the Golden Apple recipients.
The Teachers of Distinction not only receive a $250 cash award and multiple celebration activities, but also have the opportunity to share their ideas and practices across the county with their colleagues and the community through this process. With a vision of a community that is 100% engaged in support of student success, Champions For Learning creates opportunities for educators that support high impact learning experiences for every child.
The Teachers of Distinction and the Golden Apple recipients will be honored at the 30th Annual Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers Dinner presented by Suncoast Credit Union on April 3, 2020 at the Naples Grande Beach Resort.
Thanks to Presenting Sponsor, Suncoast Credit Union for the support provided educators. Generous support is also provided by Golden Apple Major Sponsors: Conditioned Air, eBella Magazine, Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation, Moorings Park, Naples Daily News, NBC-2 Waterman Broadcasting, and Stock Development.
Opportunities to sponsor a school to attend the event are available. For more information on event sponsorships and ticket sales go to www.ChampionsForLearning.org/GA

Full List of Teachers of Distinction and Best Practice 

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Champions For Learning Awards More Than $75,000 In Classroom Grants

Today, Collier County teachers were surprised by Champions For Learning board members, volunteers and supporters as they received funds for their classroom grants.

During the course of the day, Champions For Learning awarded 136 grant checks that totaled $75,448 to 42 schools. The checks will provide teachers with the funds needed to implement creative and innovative learning experiences for students.These classroom grants were requested by Collier County teachers through the online grant portal on Champions For Learning’s website. The community can go to the website and fund requests (up to $2,000). This online grant program began in 2003 to enable the community to support teachers.

Thanks to a charitable gift from Suncoast Credit Union, which supports the technology and capacity for the classroom grant portal, 100% of community contribution goes into supporting teacher grants. The following provided significant contributions to fund specific teacher grants: Suncoast Credit Union, Florida’s Support Education License Plate Fund, Lucie Jenny MacCarthy Music Fund of the Community Foundation of Collier County, Perna-Rose Foundation for Hope, and Ray Harman in memory of Karen Harman.

Help provide life-changing learning experiences to students! There are still opportunities to fund a teacher’s great idea. Visit www.ChampionsForLearning.org/CWACgrants to support local classrooms today! You can also help fund Classroom Grants through the License to Learn Fund (Florida Education Tag). Collier County community members can buy the new version of the tag now, $20 of the annual $25 fee is donated to Champions For Learning and 100% of the funds support classroom grants.

Full List of Classroom Grant Recipients 

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