A West Palm Beach teacher is one of 10 finalists for a national teaching award offered by the non-profit TNTP.
Lavinia Draper, a third-grade teacher at U.B. Kinsey/Palmview Elementary, was chosen as a finalist from among 800 applicants nationwide for the Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice.
If she wins, Draper will receive $25,000. For being named a finalist, she is guaranteed $1,000. The winner will be announced in May.
Draper’s students were featured in a Palm Beach Post story in November for plans to create a community peace mural on a building in West Palm Beach after a spate of violent crime in the area.
Here’s how TNTP describes Draper, an employee of the school district since 1997:
“With 25 years of experience in the classroom, Lavinia Draper is best described by the glowing words of one colleague: ‘One of those amazing teachers that you will never forget once you meet her.’
“It is Lavinia’s enormous passion for teaching and her ability to grow and evolve with ever-changing demands and rigorous expectations in the field that make her stand out. An advocate for social studies as a foundation for students to explore modern society, Lavinia empowers students to become active citizens in their school’s community.
“Their outcomes are nothing to sniff at: Although 85 percent of students at her Title I school classify as economically disadvantaged, her arts-integrated approach to social studies and literacy helps them surpass school, district, and state averages on both district and state reading and writing exams.”
TNTP, formerly The New Teacher Project, was founded in 1997 by Michelle Rhee before she went on to become chancellor of Washington D.C. public schools.
The non-profit bills the Fishman Prize as the only national teaching award “exclusively for teachers working with students from low-income families.”