Dallas ISD Education Foundation 2021 STOP Award Finalist
(Washington, DC). Whoever thought schools and national officials would be revisiting school safety, COVID protocols, teachers’ mental health and staffing shortages so shortly after the prior year and a half’s devastating COVID impacts on students?
And how many leaders, media and pundits really thought the COVID-era innovations of educating students in numerous new ways, scattered throughout new and old kinds of space, virtually and beyond were made to last?
The answer is simple – the nation’s most dedicated educators, education providers, schools and innovative learning organizations who were best able to deliver for children throughout the nation almost overnight, with urgency and efficiency knew when they changed course they would never look back, and they’d be prepared the “next” time something happened to their community, their individual students or the world.
The STOP Award was conceived to honor and reward education providers who did just that – who, like our front line health care workers, sacrificed, outperformed, and perhaps not ironically, took a 20th-century enterprise and opened the public’s eyes toward the need for 21st-century education transformation.
From hundreds of applications, twenty semifinalists were chosen and today, the Center for Education Reform (CER), working with the Yass Family, and Forbes Media, is proud to announce the five STOP Award Finalists, from which the 2021 Inaugural STOP Award Recipient will be chosen on December 14th, 2021.
“It’s a good thing that we can count on the STOP Award’s first special cohort to show the way for educators and educational institutions who are stuck in systems that cannot or will not respond with urgency to student and family needs,” said CER Founder and CEO Jeanne Allen. “The STOP Award shines an important light on the heroes of education who fought valiantly to serve students and were often overlooked or dismissed. It’s our commitment that their example is seen, learned about and replicated all over the nation.”
They are, in alphabetical order, by state:
From Miami, Florida – CARE Elementary School – During COVID, this free private school for disadvantaged youth was an oasis of educational success, safety and hope for the kids of essential workers whose achievement rose above pre-pandemic numbers as a result of the individualized, innovative approaches used during COVID.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana – Louisiana Key Academy – This public charter school which serves dyslexic students moved expeditiously and before anyone else in the state to deliver in-person instruction, utilizing new safety and educational approaches to serve their special population safely.
Springfield, Missouri – Discovery Science Center – One of the only two such centers to open during COVID, Discovery specializes in engaging STEM education. By March 2020, DCS had turned their museum into a school for 1,500 students and a community support center and a child care facility for the children of front-line workers.
National (based in New York) – Rock by Rock – This start-up condensed their program development work from 2 years into 5 months to deliver to thousands of underserved families whose children lacked effective education during COVID – free and affordable, relevant and engaging materials that made education come alive and connected to future life goals for kids.
Dallas, Texas – Dallas Education Foundation – Dallas ISD’s independent non-profit foundation developed the first virtual and hybrid academy in the area, and created an entire “metaverse” with an intelligent suite of game-based technologies that transformed student learning for students during and since COVID.
Like their cohort of 20, all five finalists stretched their capacity, persistently challenged every barrier they faced, and were among the very first to open, reopen, deliver and develop innovative solutions that are driving their future experiences and replication through their communities and into other states.
“We knew they were out there, these heroes who performed for kids during COVID,” said Janine Yass, STOP Award creator and benefactor. “They understand that families and students should always be the center of learning, that their choices should be paramount, that their parents should have the power to make fundamental decisions in their lives. We salute everyone who did outstanding, transformational work, who didn’t stop to ask for permission and who is seeking to sustain it. We need you now more than ever,” said Yass.