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Cable's Leaders in Learning Awards 2008

The 2008 Cable’s Leaders in Learning Awards winners include educators who are sharing effective teaching methods worldwide via blogs and streaming videos, connecting students to their communities while raising money for orphans in South Africa, producing a student-led documentary on the fabled Bronx borough of New York City, or providing parents a way to connect with their children’s teachers through ATM-like kiosks in grocery stores among other innovative approaches.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Raedell Coogler and Jessica Fredricks, Teachers, Bethune Academy, Florida

Raedell Coogler and Jessica Fredricks were jointly recognized for the partnership between Bethune Academy and the Pierce Orphanage in South Africa to raise cultural awareness between the two groups of children. With the assistance of Bright House Networks and programming from Cable in the Classroom, students are learning geography, how to be good citizens, how to be good stewards of their resources and how important it is to help others.

In their podcast (MP3, 19MB), Coogler and Fredricks discuss their main goal of the fundraising projects: to enhance their students' and community’s awareness of the circumstances of others while teaching them how to be good citizens and stewards of their resources.

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RaSheda Workman, Teacher, Sunshine High School, Alabama

RaSheda Workman was recognized for her work with the program “Eyes Wide Open,” which exposes middle and high school students in rural and under-served areas to the issues that perpetuate persistent poverty and teaches them how to become effective change agents for their community. Workman was nominated for the award by her former employer, Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.).

In her podcast (MP3, 23MB), Workman discusses how, through the lens of anatomy, she taught her students everything from the effects of health policy on people living in poverty and the value of advocacy work to combat inequities, to the importance of becoming informed decision makers in order to enhance their quality of life.

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Jenann Wakefield, Web Developer, Mesa County Valley School District, Colorado

Jenann Wakefield was recognized for the development of “Parent Bridge”, a secure web application providing access to parents without computers in the home to login through computer kiosks in grocery stores. These kiosks allow parents to access their children’s information, including posted messages, grades, assignments, attendance, lunch transactions, standardized test scores and other student data. They also provide a way to easily communicate with their children’s teachers.

In her podcast (MP3, 10MB), Wakefield discusses the increase in parent involvement in their child’s education, citing a survey that found 80 percent of parents who use Parent Bridge initiated conversation with their child because of something they read on Parent Bridge. Within the last two academic years there have been over one million logins.

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Dr. Cheryl R. Seals,District Administrator, Okaloosa County School District, Florida

Cheryl Seals was recognized for her work with the “Academic Excellence Society” (AES), a collaborative effort between local schools, parents and community members to strengthen the academic portion of a student’s school experience in Okaloosa County, Fla.

In her podcast (MP3, 18MB), Seals discusses the Academic Excellence Society’s wide variety of programming, and notes the district has been making great strides in closing the achievement gap. Last years F-CAT scores show tremendous progress from the year prior.

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Dan Meyer, Teacher, San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District, California

Dan Meyer was recognized for improving algebra instruction by creating and posting a video lesson for teachers online that was watched by other educators and downloaded more than 6,000 times in two weeks.

In his podcast (MP3, 14MB), Meyer discusses the importance of using nontraditional techniques to engage students, such as using videos, and he is excited about the future of teaching because of the increased sharing and collaboration among teachers via the Internet. After posting his videos and lesson plans on his blog, they were downloaded more than 6,000 times from users all over the world.

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Chuck Estep, Curriculum Resource Consultant, Monroe County Intermediate School District, Michigan

Chuck Estep was recognized for forming a partnership with the Monroe County Historical Museum to foster a better understanding of Monroe County’s rich and unique local history among students and teachers. Through virtual field trips (VFTs), made possible via Monroe County’s video distance learning technology, students are able to learn about history in a new and more engaging way.

In his podcast (MP3, 27MB), Estep discusses how VFTs aren’t just videos, they are interactive programs that involve artifacts, reenactments, video vignettes and time-period clothing. One notable VFT focused on the War of 1812 and the Battle of the River Raisin. With the Monroe County Historical Museum, the program offered numerous sessions over a period of two weeks to students across the county. To date, more than 70 classes and nearly 2,300 students have been virtually transported to battle sites for a lesson in the region’s history.

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Diane Downs, Louisville Leopard Percussionists, Kentucky

Diane Downs was recognized for creating the Louisville Leopard Percussionists, a non-profit community organization for students aged 7-12. This community-building program helps students develop music appreciation, performance skills and proficiency on a variety of percussion instruments.

In her podcast (MP3, 24MB), Downs discusses the success of the Leopards—the group has traveled nationally, performing jazz, Latin, pop and original work. The children rotate playing a full range of percussion instruments, which Downs says has given participants creative skills and confidence. The group has recorded six CDs.

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Monday, August 11, 2008


David Considine, Professor, Appalachian State University, North Carolina

David Considine was recognized for his ability to model a management approach that enabled him to introduce media literacy to an educational institution and sustain that innovation for more than a decade, creating multiple media literacy entry points for students, supported by numerous faculty at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

During his podcast (MP3, 24MB), Considine discusses the definition of media literacy, and separates it from simply using media. Media literacy, he says, isn’t just “teaching with media,” it’s “teaching about the media,” and helping students build the skills needed to critically analyze and deconstruct the abundance of media present in our nation.

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Don Cerrone, Teacher, Jonathan Levin High School, New York

Don Cerrone was recognized for partnering with Cablevision, the Independent Film Channel (IFC) and the Bronx borough president to offer students the opportunity to create a film documenting the history and rise to excellence of William Howard Taft High School and the Bronx, the fall and decline of the high school and the Bronx and the return to glory of the Bronx and new schools like Jonathan Levin High School which is housed in the old Taft High School building. The project, “Recapturing Glory,” focused on the use of enhanced technological materials to promote a higher standard of education and expression.

In his podcast (MP3, 36MB), Cerrone discusses the way in which the filming and production of the documentary, as well as the content, “opened students up to an understanding of the environment in which they live and generated in them an interest in capturing history on film for current and future generations.”

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Donna Bownds, Teacher, Clear Creek Elementary School, Texas

Donna Bownds was recognized for partnering with Time Warner Cable to implement “Take a Vet to School Day.” Local veterans visited the school and shared stories about their service, while linking their work in the military and in their current jobs with the learning that is occurring in the classroom. This was a part of a national initiative by The History Channel. The project aims to strengthen ties in the community, bring history to life in classrooms and recognize the contributions of local veterans and their families who must deal with issues associated with deployment.

In her podcast (MP3, 19MB), Bownds discusses the significance of the event, given that the school is located on the Fort Hood Army base and that 99 percent of the students are dependents of military personnel. She said the event was a unique opportunity to involve the entire community.

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