ACPS has announced the five winners of the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award for their valuable contributions to our schools.
Each year, as part of an effort to increase awareness of the importance of parental and community involvement in public education, ACPS recognizes the valuable contributions made by school volunteers with these awards. Nominations are submitted by ACPS program and school staff and selections are made by a team of ACPS administrative and student support staff.
This year’s awardees are:
Individual volunteers at the elementary level –Beverly Spitzer and Inkutalash Teferi
Individual volunteer at the high school level – Kevin Sherlock
Volunteer organization – Latino American Student Society (LASS)
Corporate volunteer – U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Congratulations to this year’s winners were recognized at the School Board meeting on Thursday, April 21.
Beverly Spitzer, a former librarian and expert in children’s literature, has used her skills and experience to refine the library collection at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology. Her work both in the library and with students during and after school has made her an invaluable resource. From developing personalized book recommendation lists for every fourth-grade student, to leading an after school story telling program, to curating a collection of books that meets the broad needs of teachers and students, she has enabled the school to offer a full-service library program, something that the school would be challenged to do with a part-time library assistant.
Inkutalash Teferi is a long-time volunteer at William Ramsay Elementary School. She has served on a variety of committees, including the PTA, the Spelling Bee Committee and the Chess Club and serves as an Amharic translator in the community. She also provided exemplary leadership in facilitating the Reading is Fundamental (RIF) program, which distributed 2,400 free books to students three times per year. Although her children have moved on and now attend middle school, Teferi continues to organize Ramsay’s level book rooms, provide administrative support, assist in the library and chaperone field trips.
Kevin Sherlock has been a volunteer for the past three years with the International Academy at T.C. Williams, where he provides hands-on support to students with limited or interrupted formal schooling in their home country. In his spare time, he brushes up on algebra topics and explores new ways to overcome communication barriers so that he can better meet the needs of students. His presence in the Algebra Readiness class each Monday through Thursday enables students to get more individualized support, leading to higher student achievement.
The Latino American Student Society (LASS) at Mount Vernon Community School (MVCS) is the recipient of the Outstanding Volunteer Organization of the Year Award for the critical role it plays in conveying important information to parents in their native languages during parent-teacher conferences. This partnership has been in place for 17 years. This year, 20-25 students have interpreted for 300 conferences over a period of 16 hours, providing a tremendous service to the 56 percent of MVCS students from Spanish-speaking households. Many of these families are recent immigrants. As a result of the interpretation services, the school has achieved an 87 percent conference attendance rate. This reinforces the concept that when parents are informed, they are more likely to participate in their children’s education.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been recognized as the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year in the Corporate Volunteer category for their work with students at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology. USPTO professional engineers volunteered at Cora Kelly to engage third- and fourth-grade students in hands-on project-based learning activities designed to enrich students interest in engineering. Through the projects, students were encourage to use innovation and creativity to overcome challenges and complete their activities. They were able to explore engineering concepts, participate in rich scientific discussions and learn about potential career paths.