Local teacher receives Dewey Award

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A Noblesville teacher from Options Charter School has received recognition for making a difference in students’ lives.

On Nov. 4, Charter School Capital, an organization that helps support charter schools, named social studies teacher Joshua Curry a recipient of one of three annual Dewey Awards.

Connor Reiff, left, pauses in his classroom with teacher Joshua Curry. (Submitted photo)

The awards are given in honor of Richard Dewey, the third-grade teacher of Charter School Capital CEO Stuart Ellis. Ellis named the award after Dewey, citing him as his most inspirational teacher.

Connor Reiff, a sophomore at Options, nominated Curry through an essay submission, telling the story of how Curry helped him during Reiff’s health issues that significantly affected his attendance.

“In his essay, (Connor) spoke frankly about a number of medical issues he has and will have for the rest of his life, pending a cure, and the threats that they have presented to his education and overall well-being,” Curry said. “This being something that takes confidence and bravery itself, he was articulate in describing care taken to help him feel at place in school, give room for him to do his best work and grow academically despite the challenges that he faces, and to give him the best possible chance at a normal high school education that our school can provide.”

As a parent, it is important that each child has at least one other adult in their life that mentors, guides, protects and challenges them,” said Sarah Reiff, Connor’s mother. “Teachers play a critical role in shaping our children, and they are fortunate to have many excellent teachers at Noblesville Options Charter school. Josh came into Connor’s life at a pivotal point. Connor has had great support along the way, but he had not yet connected in the classroom setting. In Josh’s classroom, Connor felt understood, appreciated for his academic abilities, challenged and engaged, and recognition was given to successfully overcoming his limitations. It was because Josh went the extra mile removing the pressure that a child with sleep disorders experience that Connor was able to connect and succeed.”

Curry has taught at Options since August 2017. The Dewey Award also grants $1,000 to the school, which is directed to the classroom of teachers who have been recognized.

“The money will be put to use towards long-term investments in the departmental curriculum, presentation materials, visual aids and materials such as maps and documentaries to better flesh out topics covered. I also plan to purchase more classroom decorations that will help bring the material more to life,” Curry said. “An example that stands out, in particular, is that I have a fairly large collection of newspapers dating from before World War II and moving through 9/11 that was gifted by a neighbor in my hometown several years ago. I intend to frame these and have available for the students to see and utilize as we get into those topics later in the year.”

Two other teachers were granted Dewey Awards – Betty Williams, a second-grade teacher from Florida, and Chantall Haskell, a drama and music teacher from South Carolina.

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