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Posted October 29, 2012

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English Teacher Wins Innovation Award, Gives Prize to Math Department

Brigid Smith of Atrisco Heritage Academy is October's recipient of the TIG/APS Education Foundation Innovation Award for advancing education in the classroom through the use of technology.

Brigid Smith, center, is October's Innovation Award winner.

Brigid Smith, a sophomore English teacher at Atrisco Heritage Academy, “absolutely loves” her Promethean Board. She uses it every day in creative ways that energize her teaching.

So, you think she’d be thrilled to get $2,500 worth of ActivClassroom interactive tools and training through the TIG/APS Education Foundation Innovation Award.

Smith’s thrilled all right, but she’s not keeping the prize for herself. Instead, she’s donating it to the AHA math department.

“At our school, our kids have really low math scores. I would like to help the math teachers. If they can find ways to make math more interactive, more hands-on, it will make their jobs easier.”

Smith said her school emphasizes collaboration and interactive learning. “I see this as an opportunity to put technology in kids’ hands, so they’re not so afraid of math. Maybe they’ll be more willing to try it if the lessons are more accessible to them, more interesting, more visible, more fun.”  

TIG has partnered with the Foundation to create the Innovation Award that is presented monthly during the school year to a district teacher who is advancing education in the classroom through the use of technology, including Promethean Boards. Educators may nominate themselves or their colleagues for the award. A committee evaluates the nominations and selects the winner, who will be honored at a school presentation. The prize also includes a $100 check for the teacher.

Just because Smith is giving away the tools she won doesn’t mean she won’t still come up with ways to use the Promethean Board in her classroom. For example, instead of simply reading Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar or watching a movie, Smith and her students used the board as a set complete with sound effects that costumed students performed in front of. “You could never do that with chalk or dry erase markers,” Smith said.

The Innovation Award is the latest donation to the Foundation from TIG, which is the title sponsor for this year’s A is for Art! fundraiser in September and also is a key sponsor of the Horizon Campaign, the Foundation’s push to raise $1 million in private support for Fine Arts, Middle/High School Activities, Literacy and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programs throughout the district.

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