Dell Brooks, a master BrainWise instructor, has been selected to receive the prestigious Jared Polis Teacher Recognition Award for 2010. The award acknowledges innovative teaching that demonstrates clear academic results for students, commitment above and beyond job requirements, and the ability to work collaboratively with colleagues to create a positive school environment.
Brooks has been teaching BrainWise for four years at Colorado High School Charter (CHSC), an alternative Denver Public School for students who have had difficulty succeeding in a traditional education system. The students at CHSC face daunting odds for achieving academic success: 80 percent of the student population qualifies for free or reduced lunches; 95 percent of students come from single parent households or live with a non-custodial parent; and 100 percent of the students need help to graduate from high school.
Dr. Patricia Gorman Barry, BrainWise founder, says of Brooks, “Dell is a champion for those students. Dell teaches BrainWise to all students at CHSC, and more than 80 percent graduate from high school, a phenomenal achievement for the hardest-to-reach of all teens.”
She notes that graduates often return to thank Brooks and share their success stories. “We are pleased that Dell’s outstanding work with students is being recognized, Dr. Barry adds.”
Currently, Brooks is piloting a new BrainWise/Confidence Based Learning course at CHSC. Brooks is using a “blended learning” approach that supplements face-to-face teaching with the BrainWise online educational package. The computer course complements the classroom teaching, helps absent students catch up, and gives Brooks data on how well each student understands BrainWise concepts. Dr. Barry says that other educators will soon be able to replicate the blended learning model to help their students learn decision making skills.
The Jared Polis Foundation honors 15 outstanding K-12 teachers in Colorado each year during National Teacher Appreciation Week. This year’s ceremony was held on Friday, May 7 at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield. Each of the honorees each received a $1,000 award, and their school also received a $1,000 teacher-directed grant.