April 20, 2017. The program featured the awarding of the 2017 Ritchey J. Ricci Teacher of the Year Award as well as a presentation from the 2016 award-winner.
Katie Frawley began by showing us what she did with the $1,000 Award from last year. Katie teaches at the Easton Area Academy which is an alternative school within the Easton School District. Students at the Academy are there for a variety of reasons, most of which result in them not being welcome in the mainstream school. Common family issues with students include things such as jailed parent(s), various type of abuse, gang involvement, drug use in the household, abandonment by parents, foster care, mental health services, probation and juvenile detention, lots of siblings in close quarters, evictions, homelessness, and lots of fighting. Students may suffer from ADHD, bipolar syndrome, mood disorders, adjustment disorders and many other things.
This is Katie’s world where she tries to reach this challenging group of students. Part of the challenge is to break through the barriers these students create with their personalities in order to prevent them from getting hurt again. She decided to treat her students to a positive experience with a trip that they will never forget. She took 11 of her top students to Philadelphia where they spent the day at the Franklin Institute. None of these students had ever had such an experience. They studied gravity with the sky bike; learned about the math and science behind sports activities; dissected cow eyes; learned about space, and saw life-sized dinosaurs at Jurassic World.
2017 Winner Dorothy Lindblad works with a mix of students from 6 school districts. She teaches early childhood education at CIT where she has students from grades 10-12. The three-year period allows her to form special bonds with the students. The trust developed over time can help erase attitude issues and help prepare students for productive lives following their school years. She plans to buy a GoPro camera to make videos of her hands performing some of the tasks the students will have to learn. Changing a diaper, for example, requires 22 steps. Hand washing requires 12 steps. These videos will be a great visual aid for the students. She also plans to purchase some standing desks. Some students do not do well when seated for long periods. She also plans to update the children’s literature library which is woefully dated.