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Awards for Excellence in Teaching at the Precollegiate Level

The Joint Committee on the Classics in American Education invites nominations for the 2015 SCS Awards for Excellence in Teaching at the Precollegiate Level. Thanks to a very generous gift to the Society’s Gatekeeper to Gateway Campaign for the Future of Classics from Daniel and Joanna Rose, the amounts to be awarded have been increased substantially.  Up to two winners will receive a certificate of award and a cash prize of $500.  In addition, each winner’s institution will receive $200 to purchase educational resources selected by the winner.  The winners will be honored at both the SCS Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA in January 2016 and the ACL Institute in June 2016, and they may select the meeting at which they wish to receive the award.

Read the list of previous winners here.

Teachers, full- or part-time, of grades K-12 in schools in the United States and Canada who at the time of the application teach at least one class of Latin, Greek, or classics at the K-12 level are eligible. Membership in the SCS is not required.  Nominations may be made by a colleague, administrator, or former student, who is thoroughly familiar with the teacher's work.  (Additional guidelines for nominators are offered below.)

The nomination packet should consist of three components and should be submitted via e-mail to Adam Blistein.  His  e-mail address is  (Nominators who experience difficulty submitting materials via e-mail should consult the Executive Director.) 

The components are 1) a letter of nomination; the letter may come from someone within the educational institution of the nominee; 2) a letter of support; and 3) the candidate's current curriculum vitae.  One of the two letters must be written by someone in the field of Classical Studies.  Nomination letters should indicate how the candidate meets the criteria of the award.  The letter is the key to the candidate's continuation in the selection process.

The Committee reviews nominations and invites the submission of full dossiers for selected nominees.  These dossiers should also be submitted via e-mail.

1. a short cover letter with a one-paragraph summary of the nominee's key achievements as a teacher.

2. a curriculum vitae – no more than 2 pages.

3. a personal statement of no more than 750 words in which the nominee explains his or her achievements in terms of vision, strategies, and methods.

4. letters of recommendation:

a. no more than two letters from a supervisor or colleague in the field of classics or foreign language teaching;

b. no more than four letters from students and/or recent graduates or parents.

Two of these letters may be expanded versions of the initial letters of nomination and support. 

5. portfolio materials—e.g., pedagogical materials, program flyers, class memorabilia, news clippings.  The complete portfolio should contain no more than 10 items and should not exceed 20 pages or the electronic equivalent.

Applicants will be compared and judged by quality rather than quantity of application materials and are asked to be selective rather than comprehensive.

Award winners are selected by a subcommittee of the Joint Committee on the Classics in American Education, whose membership is selected equally from both the SCS and the American Classical League. September 9, 2015, is the deadline for the receipt of nominations.  Questions about the competition may be directed to Dr. Blistein at the e-mail address above.

Additional Guidelines for Nominators

The key to a successful nomination is detailed information about the nominee's teaching practices and results. The nominator plays a crucial role in gathering and presenting this information. The additional letters of support should be from students, colleagues, administrators, parents, etc. who can also speak in detail about the nominee. Due to the fact that all of the nominees are usually highly qualified, letters of nomination must move far beyond general statements that the nominee is an excellent teacher.

Supporting Materials for the Second Round

Finalists in the competition will be invited to submit additional supporting materials such as innovative teaching units, Latin publicity items, additional testimonials and recommendations, etc. As noted above, these materials must be submitted collated in sextuplicate if they cannot be submitted electronically.  Materials submitted cannot be returned except under special circumstances.

Every application should address at least four of the following criteria:

  • success, size, and growth of the classics program in the candidate's school
  • outreach and promotion of the classics
  • innovative and creative classroom activity
  • evidence of improved student learning
  • student success in contests and competitions
  • movement of significant numbers of students to the next level of study
  • student travel and field trips ranging from study of local architecture to study abroad
  • the teacher's professional service and professional development including workshops (both taken and given), papers presented, offices held, awards received, etc.

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