Photo Courtesy of Corrie Myers
As a teacher, you make a lesson plan and you typically stick to it, repeating the same lessons period after period. After a while, it can start to feel like a routine. For Sage Creek English teachers Shannon Alberts and Corrie Myers, they got to shake up their routine with a special trip to San Francisco a couple weeks ago to attend the 39th CSBA Golden Bell Award ceremony in honor of the Genius Project.
“Mrs. Myers and I were just beside ourselves with excitement to travel. We both woke up early and started texting each other like ‘’oh my gosh we’re going on a trip today,’” Alberts explained, “We were so excited because as teachers we hardly ever get to do fun things like travel places, especially in honor of our awesome students.”
According to CSBA’s website, the Golden Bell Award promotes excellence in education and school board governance by recognizing outstanding programs and governance practices of school boards in school districts and county offices of education throughout California.
“The CSBA Golden Bell is a statewide recognition given annually to innovative educational programs,” CUSD Board of Trustees Member Claudine Jones said, “ The passion and hard work of the educators behind the Genius Project deserved to be acknowledged. Mrs. Myers, Mrs. Alberts and the entire Sage Creek team have done an outstanding job creating this program, executing it annually and documenting it along the way.”
For Alberts, the fact the Genius Project was awarded within the Curriculum and Instruction through the California Standards Implementation: Integrated Content category is a huge validation for the project.
“Even though what we’re doing is hard work, it’s important work and often we’re in the trenches and things are hard for our students and for us as leaders,” Alberts said. “When we might have challenging experiences, it’s hard to remember the end goal which is ultimately to make our students thinkers and participants in the world around them.”
When Sage Creek started the Genius Project, they didn’t set out to win awards.
“Every time I sit down and talk with a student about their idea, what they want to do or what they have done, I’m convinced as a society we’re gonna be okay, because each individual person, just has so much to offer,” Myers said, “So to me, the coolest thing is that it feels like other people are seeing the innate qualities in our students and what they’re capable of and what students, in general, are capable of when we give them that opportunity.”
Along with the bell itself, CSBA Business Alliance provided a $1,000 award to the program to help support its continued success.
“Some possibilities include student grants, paying for guest speakers, paying for programs students might need as far as on their Chromebooks,” Alberts said.
The Genius Project Committee comprised of student, parent and community representation will meet soon to decide what to do with the money.
All in all, the Golden Bell Award was an opportunity for teachers to take a step back and see that all the ups and downs of the Genius Project are worth it.
“We’re constantly amazed at what interests and passions the students have and how they translate into projects that impact various communities around the world,” Jones concluded, “We hope the CSBA Golden Bell award ignites more innovation and excitement within the students and staff involved in the program.”