Teachers and their students work hard to grow and learn together every year. That’s what inspired us to create the Crystal Apple award. It’s our chance to recognize and reward all the transformational efforts teachers and their classrooms make.
This year, at a time when we see teachers and classrooms coming together in innovative and creative new ways, we were especially impressed by the hundreds of entries we received. We want to take a moment to honor all the nominees and every educator out there working hard to make a difference.
2020 Crystal Apple Award Winning Entries
Each and every one of this year’s nominated teachers was inspiring, and from those we selected three to be recognized as especially exemplary. They each received a $500 School Specialty merchandise certificate, a personalized Crystal Apple trophy, and student medals for the whole class. Check out the entries below to read about how these teachers and their students exemplified dedication this year:
Miss Sara Wrightstone’s 5th Grade Classroom
Harrisburg Catholic Elementary, Harrisburg, PA
Sara is continuously giving to her kiddos. When school was in the classroom she was always in early and staying late to plan and help her class. Her classes usually have children who are behind in reading and math by several grade levels. She not only strives to enhance the experience of her excelling students, but tirelessly works to achieve new reading and math levels for those who have been lost in the shuffle. She works in an underprivileged area, and has really taken this pandemic time to heart for her kiddos. She works with the church and school to try to provide schooling AND food for her class. She worries about students she hasn’t heard from and tries every avenue to make sure those kiddos are safe and not hungry. She leaves a lasting impression on all her students with fun experiments and games of learning as well as making sure each student understands and comprehends in their own learning style. Her class shows their abilities and appreciation by performing their best at the annual class play, which Sara is in charge of planning and practicing with the students. Sara also is part of Girls on the Run, Quiz Bowl, and Math Challenge as well as tutoring on the weekends when she is not grading papers or working on lesson plans. There is not a day off for Sara, even now. Her dedication to her kiddos shines through, especially at this time when teaching can be a challenge especially for children who are not able to be hands on with technology. Thank you, Sara, for your endurance and persistence every year with each class and the continual difference you make in fifth graders’ lives as they come through your classroom!”– Amanda Hopple
Mr. Tres Barker’s 6th Grade Classroom
Granville Wells Elementary School, Jamestown, IN
Mr. Barker has gone more than over and above with helping my son and many others. My son has anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, and some learning disabilities related to the previous series. Mr. Barker stepped up before the school year began to see how he could get to know my son to help him through his obstacles. He helped him overcome fear of school, fear of the unknown, he learned how Braedyn learns so that he could teach him specifically. He did all of this maintaining his current classroom needs as well. He would help him by tutoring him after school and by recognizing when he needed breaks. He taught my son to recognize when he needed a break. We thought times would turn against us when we had to switch to elearning. Instead, Mr. Barker stepped up even more. He is doing extra meetings, extra checking of homework and offering for one on one lessons if needed. He is simply doing way more than I could have expected. I have 6 kids and Mr. Barker has shown a light on how teachers should be. HE CHANGED MY SON’S LIFE.”– Amanda Mathews
Mrs. Jessica Tuscher’s 3rd Grade Classroom
School of Science and Technology, Corpus Christi, TX
Teaching empathy in the classroom transforms a community. The benefits of empathy in her classroom includes building positive classroom culture, strengthening our community, and preparing her students to be leaders in their own communities. She provides an example daily of showing students how we can display acts of kindness and empathy. She knows that her students watch her and learn from her example. They learn from her character and behaviors as much as they do from her instruction. One way she helps her students understand empathy is by reading the text Hey Little Ant, by Phillip and Hannah Hoose. This is a great book about acknowledging others differences. Then she presented to them a community project called Samaritans Purse Operation Child. Her classroom helped sponsor two children- a boy and a girl in war torn countries. Her students exceeded her expectations when they brought in countless items such as books, toys and other thoughtful gift. They then put these gifts in shoe boxes and wrote these children a letter before mailing it overseas. For our 100th day of school my students collected items to donate to shelters. Students brought in shavers, shampoo, toothbrushes, granola bars, and combs. Our 100th day box was over filling with items and once we sat back and placed these items in baggies we were blown away! Our goal was to collect 100 items. As a grade, they level combined items and had 150 baggies filled with 5 hygiene items per bag. She shared with her students the faces at the shelter she saw when she dropped over these amazing little gifts. Moments like this make us more human and develop our ability to understand and sympathize with others’ experiences. It was truly impactful not only for her community but for the classroom as well. She is the kindest teacher I have ever met. Even during the virus pandemic, her own safety took a backseat to students needs.”– Dominique Janeway
Be Ready for Next Year’s Crystal Apple Award
Follow us on social media and when you see the next Crystal Apple Award nomination has started, enter an exemplary classroom’s story for a chance to win. We love to read about all the fantastic things teachers and their students are doing. Get inspired with more stories from our previous winners (contest formerly known as The Honor Roll).