The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed many hard truths about U.S. society. Among these is the critical part teachers play in a healthy, functioning society, despite their being perennially underpaid, overworked, and under-appreciated. Over the past year, teachers’ role as essential workers has become undeniable, and it is clear that the nation owes a debt of gratitude to our heroic K-12 educators. Nonetheless, in many communities, parents continue to expect teachers to subject themselves to risks that they would not accept for themselves and to make unreasonable demands of teachers in this difficult moment. On its own, the pandemic has challenged teachers to learn new modes of instructional delivery, to build relationships with students without having met them in person, and to help their students process an ongoing national trauma, all while managing a heavier workload and in many cases, greater home responsibilities than ever before. Layer on top of this community contention about school re-openings, and it is a wonder we have not seen higher levels of resignations. Experts agree that a serious teacher shortage is on the horizon. For these reasons, it has never felt more important to honor the work of exemplary educators, who have not only risen to the challenges of the day with courage and conviction, but also used this moment to imagine and articulate new possibilities for their students, their colleagues, or the profession. The Villanova Department of Education and Counseling is therefore pleased to release our call for our annual Teachers of Courage and Conscience Award. This award honors educators who are creatively envisioning and bravely enacting alternatives to the rote learning experiences that have become the standard fare in far too many classrooms across our region; educators who are teaching their students not just the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in college or careers, but about the pressing issues of our time and the responsibilities of democratic citizenship; and educators who are igniting students’ curiosity, encouraging them to become engaged civic actors, and inspiring them to lead lives that matter. Recipients of the award are well-respected by their colleagues, beloved by their students, and recognized as teacher activists or agents of change in their local community. Through this award and the attendant ceremony, our Department strives to celebrate and connect these teacher leaders with one another.
Teacher of Courage and Conscience Award
The 2021 Teacher of Courage and Conscience Award Call for Nominations
Candidates must be K-12 public or private school teachers engaged in the following activities: *work to improve access to high-quality education for those students who are currently least well-served in our region; *advocate for the education profession; *encourage student curiosity and love of learning, use effective teaching strategies, and engage students in meaningful problem-solving, knowledge-production, or artistic work; *embody and put into practice the values of Villanova University: Veritas, Unitas, Caritas.
Nomination packets must include the candidate’s name, school, and contact information, as well as the nominator’s contact information. A letter explaining the candidate’s qualifications is required, and may be supplemented by additional material such as parent, student, or colleague testimonies, examples of student work, the candidate’s resume, or lesson plans. Please use the form linked below or send completed packets to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 15th, 2021
The deadline for nominations is April 15, 2021. A committee including former award recipients, academics, educators, and administrators from surrounding schools will meet to evaluate submissions. Finalists will be announced in early May. These finalists will be presented with the award and a token of our appreciation, at an event in May. Information about past winners can be found on our Teacher of Courage and Conscience Award page.
Please contact Jerusha Conner with any questions
Teacher of Courage and Conscience Award was created to recognize teachers who improve access to high-quality education for those students who are currently least well-served; advocate for the education profession; encourage student curiosity and love of learning, use innovative teaching strategies, and engage students in meaningful problem-solving, knowledge-production, or artistic work; and embody and put into practice the values of Villanova University: Veritas, Unitas, Caritas. Recipients of the award are well-respected by their colleagues, beloved by their students, and recognized as teacher activists or agents of change in their local communities.
Sam Reed, III, U School in Philadelphia
Patricia Sheetz, Memphis Street Academy Charter School
Inaugural 2016 Teacher of Courage and Conscience Award Recipients:
Danielle Arnold-Schwartz, Welsh Valley Middle School
Kelley Collings, Feltonville Schools of Arts & Sciences - Video
Carl Rosin, Radnor High School