'Apple for the teacher” takes on a special meaning in Billings this time of year.
The Golden Apple Awards, a long-running tradition in our community, annually honor outstanding local K-12 educators.
School staff members may receive many awards in the course of their careers. The Golden Apple stands out because it is a community award — recognition from people, businesses and other organizations throughout Billings who want to encourage excellence in education for all our children.
Once again, six awards will be made to staff from public or private accredited schools in Billings as well as from Lockwood School and elementary schools whose students attend middle and high school in Billings. Awards will be given to:
• Two elementary teachers.
• One middle school teacher.
• One high school teacher.
• One specialist or administrator.
• One support professional, such as a secretary, aide or custodian.
Nominations are being accepted through March 12. It’s simple to make a nomination: In two pages or less, describe why your nominee should be selected. Give specific examples of how this person takes the extra step to help students learn, how he or she is a mentor or role model and how this person has affected you or someone you know. Also, the letter should describe the nominee’s community activities.
Often, people wonder if it takes a bushel of letters to win a Golden Apple. The answer is no. Just one letter that tells a great story of an outstanding educator can make your nominee a winner.
Nomination forms are available on the Billings Public School Web site, www.billingsschools.org, and have been given to elementary students to take home. The form simply states the award criteria given above and asks for the nominee’s name, position and school as well as the nominator’s name, address and phone number. Nominations can be made without the form, if all that information is included with the letter and mailed to: Golden Apple Award Program, 415 N. 30th St., Room 209, Billings, MT 59101.
Winners will be honored at the Educator Appreciation Banquet on April 20 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. They each receive a cash reward of $500 and a Golden Apple.
This year’s Golden Apple program is being coordinated by Penny Copps, wife of Superintendent Jack Copps, and Alex Tyson of the Billings Chamber of Commerce. Volunteers and donors are needed to help with this community effort. To find out about getting involved, e-mail Tyson at alex@billings chamber.com or call 869-3726.
Anyone may make a nomination, including students, parents and colleagues. Don’t just think about how awesome it would be for your best teacher to get a Golden Apple, make a nomination. The deadline is March 12.