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Golden Apple Recipients Announced!

Today, students in six Collier County classrooms received bushels of Golden Delicious apples as their teachers were surprised with Golden Apple awards, which highlight best practices in teaching.  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.

59 Teachers of Distinction (4 co-teacher teams) representing 55 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 2018-2019 Golden Apple recipients.  See attached list for the names of the Teachers of Distinction.

  • Philip G. Barton, Immokalee Middle School
  • Kim Benedict, Gulf Coast High School
  • Stephanie Cashion/Deniece Giovinazzo (Co-Teachers), East Naples Middle School
  • Krista Fusco, Vineyards Elementary School
  • Ashley Stafford, Lake Park Elementary School
  • Jill Striz, Village Oaks Elementary School

 “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 Golden Apple Awards enable us to recognize teachers whose dedication and practices stand above the rest. We hope that the grants will inspire them to continue investing in our students and to develop innovative practices.”  

The 2018-2019 Golden Apple recipients will each receive a grant (up to $5,000) from Suncoast Credit Union to allow the building of best practices.  All Teachers of Distinction receive a $250 award, and the Golden Apple recipients receive an additional cash award thanks to the Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation. 

The Suncoast Credit Union Foundation is funded through the credit union members’ use of their debit and credit cards. The Suncoast for Schools Rewards Debit Card and VISA Credit Card program automatically generates funds that are dedicated to education and health-related initiatives benefiting children in the local community.

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 March 29, 2019.  We will also be honoring William R. Barker as the 2018-2019 Heart of the Apple recipient for his contribution to our community.

The 2019 Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers is presented by Suncoast Credit Union and is generously hosted by the 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, NBC-2, and Wells Fargo.

The event hashtag will be #GoldenAppleCollier and #Champs4Collier

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.

Families, students, and the entire community are invited to join in the celebration by tuning in to NBC-2 for the Golden Apple television program highlighting the great work of teachers in Collier County classrooms.  The program will be aired on Friday, March 29 on NBC-2 at 8:00pm, and rebroadcast multiple times after on The Education Channel.

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Corky and Chuck Carlsen Announced as Champions For Learning Mentors of the Year

Chuck and Corky first became involved with Champions For Learning by mentoring two students through the Take Stock in Children program, and brought their passion to the success of their mentees.

Chuck joined the Board of Directors and serves as the Vice Chair of Community Outreach. His leadership with the Champions For Learning Ambassadors Council has helped the volunteer outreach group to recruit a significant number of volunteers and mentors. Chuck and Corky are also this year’s Mentors of the Year.

Chuck and Corky not only give their time, but also provide philanthropic leadership.   Last year, they were instrumental in meeting a financial matching challenge for the College and Career Preparation Program that helps to sustain support for future students.  Their impact is put best by Isabel, Corky’s mentee, “My experience with my mentor is a one in a million.”

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Champions For Learning Honors Community Leaders at Night of Champions

On February 1 ,Champions For Learning is honored community leaders. These individuals were honored for their impact on the lives of students through mentoring, leadership, collaboration and community involvement with educators or students. These honored Champions exemplify what it means to make a commitment to our students and their future.

“We are honored to be highlighting these community leaders who have immense dedication to impacting students and teachers,” says Susan McManus, President of Champions For Learning. ” The Night of Champions honorees truly embody what it is to be a Champion.”

Proceeds for this event helped support Champions For Learning student programs including College & Career Readiness programs and scholarships.

The 2019 Night of Champions honorees are:

  • Ingrid & Fabrizio Aielli: Ingrid and Fabrizio are the owners of the Aielli Group, a company that operates the restaurants Sea Salt Naples, Sea Salt St. Pete, Barbatella, and Dorona. 
  • Stacy & Todd Bradley: Todd, of Cummings & Lockwood, serves on the Planned Giving Council. Stacy, a long-time educator, has volunteered on the Golden Apple Selection and Grants Committee.
  • Corky & Chuck Carlsen: Corky and Chuck became involved with Champions For Learning by mentoring two students through the Take Stock in Children program. Corky and Chuck are the 2019 Mentors of the Year.
  • Yolanda Flores: Yolanda is currently the Administrative Director for Postsecondary Adult and Community Education for Collier County Public Schools.
  • Florida Prepaid College Foundation: Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Foundation has awarded over 44,705 scholarships and collaborated with 170 local community-based organizations.
  • Mary Lynn Hill: Mary Lynn serves on the Champions Advisory Council and as a active Glass Slipper Alumni recipient, helps to raise scholarship money for female graduates.
  • Sharon Hood: As founder and publisher of èBella magazine, Sharon enjoys telling her 22,000 readers about Champions For Learning and how they can get involved.
  • Charles Kerwood III: Charlie, of Waller Financial, is involved through the Planned Giving Council and serves on a student selection committee for Champions For Learning.
  • Mike Martin: As current President of Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), Mike has brought his philosophy that to be a good citizen people need to participate in the community.
  • Dawna E. Pipersburg: Dawna, of Rembrandt Accounting, is involved in the Take Stock in Children student selection committee. and serves on Champions For Learning’s Board of Directors.
  • Steve Pontius: Steve is the Executive Vice President of Waterman Broadcasting Corporation and General Manager of our NBC2 media partner.
  • Carol Windfeldt: Carol, a long-time volunteer, has helped facilitate the organization’s strategic planning process, most recently resulting in the new vision and refreshed mission statement.
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Florida’s Support Education Specialty License Plate Gets a Fresh Look

After 25 years and more than a million miles on Florida’s highways, the Support Education specialty license plate has a fresh look. While the design is new, the cause remains the same – when a Florida resident purchases or renews their Support Education specialty tag, $20 goes directly back to support schools, teachers and students in the county where the tag is registered.  In Collier County, Champions For Learning, The Education Foundation of Collier County, invests 100% of those proceeds into classroom grants.

Since its introduction as Florida’s second specialty license plate in 1994, over $13 million dollars has been raised through the collaborative efforts of the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF) and local education foundation members throughout the state.

The new design promotes the importance of education in the Sunshine State and is among only a few specialty tags in Florida where the money goes directly back into the county where the tag was purchased or renewed. Florida’s K-12 local education foundations invest in classroom innovation, recognize excellence, and provide targeted support beyond what tax dollars provide such as free school supplies for students who can’t afford them, classroom grants for teachers and after-school enrichment programs.

“The Support Education specialty tag is a powerful way for citizens to demonstrate their commitment to our public schools and provide needed, local support for teachers and students,”

Said Mary Chance, president of the CFEF.  “We are so excited to debut the new design and hope more Florida drivers will support their local teachers and students with the purchase or renewal of the Support Education license tag.”

The annual fee for the Support Education specialty license plate is $25. Local taxes and state fees may apply and first-time purchase price and fees may vary based on scheduled vehicle registration renewal date. The new Support Education tag design is available now and can be purchased in-person at your local tax collector office or online at LicenseToLearnFL.com.

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Champions For Learning Open House

New year, new opportunity to learn how to be a life-changer! Champions For Learning is kicking off the new year by opening our doors and inviting the community to connect with our students, teachers, volunteers, and staff, and tour our newly renovated space. 

Attendees of the open house will learn about the mission, impact and ways to get involved.  Bring a friend!

What:  Champions For Learning Open House
When:  Friday, January 18, 2019
When:  3 pm – 6 pm
Where:  3606 Enterprise Avenue, Naples, FL  34104

For information, please RSVP to Rachel Welch at RWelch@ChampionsForLearning.org or (239) 643-4755.

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Congratulations to Our New College and Career Preparation Program Inductees!

On December 3, Champions For Learning inducted 65 11th grade students into the College and Career Preparation Program.

This program is provided at no cost to students and families thanks to the generous support of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation.

As participants in this program student will receive

  • Weekly college and career preparation curriculum in our on-site lab
  • Family workshops on college processes such as applications, financial aid and college planning
  • Naviance, a web-based tool that enables students to stay on track with college access tasks as well as ACT and SAT test preparation

Congratulations to the inductees!

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Champions For Learning to Name Five Suncoast Credit Union Scholars in 2019

The Suncoast Schools Credit Union Foundation is partnering with the Champions For Learning to offer five of $2,000 scholarship awards to high school graduates in the Class of 2019.  Class of 2019 high school graduates in Suncoast Credit Union’s 21-county service territory have the opportunity to apply for financial support to continue their education, thanks to a $116,000 investment in scholarships by the Tampa-based credit union’s Foundation.

Click here to download the application.

This year’s Suncoast Credit Union Scholars program represents a continued philosophy of the foundation to support education initiatives and the well-being and potential of children.  Since its inception in 1990, the Foundation has contributed more than $22 million including more than 600 student scholarships valued at nearly $1 million.

“We believe the best way we can build better communities is by investing in education and health-related initiatives for children,” said Cindy Helton, Executive Director of the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation.  “Through the Suncoast Credit Union Scholars program, we have the opportunity to invest in individual human potential, which is particularly rewarding.”

All applications must be received by 5pm on January 11, 2019  at the Champions For Learning office, 3606 Enterprise Avenue #150, Naples, FL  34104.

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Recap of Coffee & Conversations Fall Sessions

New this year is Coffee & Conversations, a monthly series open to the public, with the goal of sharing and discussing various educational topics as it pertains to our community. This is also a great chance to connect with current volunteers, mentors, and staff.

Here’s a recap of the fall topics and discussion:


August

Mentor Badges, CCPS School Entry Changes, and Student Benchmarks

This early-bird session reviewed the new security measures of Collier County Public Schools as part of the district’s “Keep Collier Safe” efforts. CCPS has added various layers of security to better protect our students. Here’s what you should be aware of:

  • If you have visited a school this year, you likely experienced the new school entry procedure. You can read more about the change here, or watch this video for a demonstration of how to properly enter a school.
  • The district has asked that all mentors receive badges. If you are a current mentor have not been issued a badge, please contact Rachel Welch for instructions on how to obtain one.
  • Backpacks and large bags are no longer allowed at CCPS athletic events. Click here for more information on appropriate bag guidelines.

We also shared our Student Benchmark Checklists, a resource we developed to help parents and mentors ensure their student is on the right path to personal and professional success. Click to download the checklist.

8th grade

9th Grade

10th Grade

11th Grade

12th Grade


October

CCPS Emergency Drills with Guest Speaker

Our October session was a continuation of August’s topic, featuring Tim Kutz, Head of Security at Collier County Public Schools. Our topic was a heavy one – emergency drills on campus, including active shooter situations:

  • Click here for tips on how to talk to your student about violence.
  • CCPS is working to develop resources for the community so anyone who visits a school can be informed of the drills and procedures that may occur. We will update you once these materials are released.

November

CCPS Social and Emotional Learning with Guest Speakers

In November, we were joined by Caroline Brennan and Dr. Heather McElroy of Collier County Public Schools. They walked us through the importance of Social and Emotional Learning, as well as the top five priorities to address the growing need for student mental health support within the schools. Learn more about the five priorities by watching this video.

The district has developed materials to help parents better understand and become advocates for Social and Emotional Learning. These same resources are available to you:


Interested in attending?

Coffee & Conversations will return on January 16 and 17, where we’ll discuss financial aid opportunities for students. Please note the new format – our topic will be introduced at 8:30am, with discussion and conversation to follow until 9:30am. Attendees are encouraged to stay and network once our formal conversation concludes.

Whether you’re a parent/grandparent with a child approaching college, a mentor looking, a volunteer interested in helping students complete the FAFSA, or simply someone who would like to become more knowledgeable about financial aid, we invite you to join us! Click here to reserve your spot.

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Champions For Learning Announces Collier County Teachers of Distinction

Champions For Learning is proud to announce the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program’s 2018-2019 Teachers of Distinction. Each school nominated a teacher and best practice to highlight on behalf of their school. From this group of Teachers of Distinction, Champions For Learning’s community-based selection committee will identify six (6) teachers to highlight as Golden Apple recipients. Click here to see the list of Teachers of Distinction.

In addition to a $250 cash award and multiple celebration activities, the Teachers of Distinction representing 55 schools, will 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 29th Annual Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers Dinner presented by Suncoast Credit Union on March 29, 2019, at the Naples Grande Beach Resort.

We’d like to thank our Presenting Sponsor, Suncoast Credit Union for all of the support they provide educators and students.  We would also like to thank additional Golden Apple Major Sponsors:  CenturyLink, Conditioned Air, eBella Magazine, Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation, Moorings Park, Naples Daily News and NBC-2 Waterman Broadcasting

Opportunities to sponsor a school to attend the event are available. For more information on event sponsorships and ticket sales click here.

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Champions For Learning Reveals Night of Champions Honorees

Champions For Learning is proud to announce their 2018-2019 Night of Champions honorees.

These honorees are being recognized at the Night of Champions event on Friday, February 1, 2019, at the Naples Grande Beach Resort. These individuals will be honored for their impact on the lives of students through mentoring, leadership, collaboration and community involvement with educators or students. These honored Champions exemplify what it means to make a commitment to our students and their future.

The 2018-2019 Night of Champions honorees are: Ingrid & Fabrizio Aielli, Stacy & Todd Bradley, Corky & Chuck Carlsen, Yolanda Flores, The Florida Prepaid College Foundation, Mary Lynn Hill, Sharon Hood, Charles Kerwood III, Mike Martin, Dawna E. Pipersburg, Steve Pontius, and                                                                                 Carol Windfeldt

“We are honored to be highlighting these community leaders who have immense dedication to impacting students and teachers,” says Susan McManus, President of Champions For Learning. ” The Night of Champions honorees truly embody what it is to be a Champion.”

Proceeds for this event will support Champions For Learning student programs including College & Career Readiness programs and scholarships.

We would like to thank our generous sponsors:

Presenting sponsor: Capital Wealth Advisors

Major sponsors: eBella, Naples Daily News, Naples Illustarted, Suncoast Credit Union and Waterside Shops

Tickets for this event are $300. Table and event sponsorships are also available. For more information

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