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Golden Apple award

Eagle Cliffs Elementary teacher Courtney Niemeyer, center right, is presented with a Golden Apple award during a surprise ceremony in March 2016.

CASEY PAGE/Gazette Staff

With the school year more than half over, it’s time to pick this year’s Golden Apple winners.

This decades-long tradition in Billings will continue in 2017 by honoring six outstanding community educators. The honorees will be educators who work in Billings K-12 schools. Staff at accredited public and private schools are eligible, including parochial schools and elementary districts whose students attend Billings middle and high schools.

The Golden Apple Awards are unique among honors bestowed on excellent educators because they come from the community. The Golden Apple Awards Committee runs on volunteer power. Volunteers organize the annual awards, raise donations for a luncheon honoring the winners and arrange their participation in the annual education banquet held later this spring.

The entire community is invited to participate. If you know a great educator who is working this year, and who made a difference for you, your child, grandchild or neighbor, nominate that wonderful person for a Golden Apple Award.

It’s easy. The application is online at the Billings Public Schools website, billingsschools.organd paper applications are available at schools.

The winners will be:

  • Three K-8 teachers
  • One high school teacher
  • One specialist or administrator
  • One support professional, such as a secretary, custodian or classroom aide.

Panels of community volunteers will read the nomination letters after names and other identifying information have been removed. They will evaluate the nominations based on the information about what the nominee has done to help children learn, so make sure your letter has lots of detail and good examples.

Tell your educator’s story with specifics about how they engaged the students to learn in new ways, how they used technology to teach, how they taught students to solve problems or was a help in a difficult time for the students. Tell the Golden Apple Committee how the nominee’s work has made a difference for his or her students.

Some of the most compelling nominations over the years have been written by students. Younger students may needs some help adding examples and detail. Sometimes Golden Apple winners have been nominated by several people, but others have been selected based on one well written nomination.

Nominate a great educator today! The deadline is March 13.

Rilla Hardgrove and Sue Bach, retired Billings educators, are again co-chairing the Golden Apple Awards for 2017. Sponsors are still needed for honorees gifts and meals. For information on helping, please call Hardgrove at 839-0182.