Three Cambridge public school teachers received the first Crystal Awards for Preeminence in Teaching at the Sala de Puerto Rico on May 23. Each received a $2,000 cash prize and a Waterford crystal clock.
The award, presented by the Cambridge Partnership for Public Education, was created to recognize outstanding teaching. MIT played host to the ceremonies.
Each candidate was required to submit an essay that included his or her vision of exemplary teaching, a paper on student assessment, photographs of learning activities, a rï¿½sumï¿½, and letters of support from an administrator, a co-worker and a student or parent.
"Here at MIT, we try to foster a community of learning -- a community in which we all learn from one another, and in which the value of learning is appreciated and pursued in every aspect of our lives," President Charles M. Vest said before presenting the awards. "But if we are part of a community of learning, it is just as surely true that we are part of a community of teaching -- a community in which the skills and the achievements of great teachers are given the highest possible recognition and esteem.
"Unfortunately, many of our most important civic institutions often seem unwilling to acknowledge the central and compelling role that teachers play in our society. And yet, as all of us who work in education already know, that role is undeniably powerful."
The winners are:
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Karma Paoletti, a third-grade teacher at the Agassiz School. She has been teaching for eight years, all in the Cambridge public schools.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Joan Soble, an English language arts teacher and a "Teaching for Understanding" staff developer at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Ms. Soble, who teaches grades 9-12, has been teaching for 21 years, 13 in the Cambridge public schools.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Karen Spaulding, a science teacher at the Morse School and a K-6 science staff developer. Ms. Spaulding, who teaches grades 5-8, has been teaching for nine years, six in the Cambridge public schools.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 7, 2000.