Mary Lee, at A Year of Reading, was inspired by this year's Newbery Award Winner. Laura Amy Schlitz wrote Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village. She is a librarian at a school in Baltimore and wrote the book originally as monologues for her students to perform. Mary Lee believes that Schlitz went to the ends of the Earth for her students and decided to award some To the Ends of the Earth awards to people at her school.
I think the idea is a fantastic one and I'd like to add a few awards. First, the parent liaison at our school who knows everything about our Spanish speaking students and their families. She arranges transportation to school for some, finds clothing and furniture when needed, and works tirelessly to find medical care and other services.
Second, the secretaries in our office who go way above and beyond for the teachers, students, and families at our school. They are the first ones in each morning and the last to leave. They track down maintenance help, find substitutes, help students celebrate birthdays, and are always cheerful.
The third grade teacher who in addition to raising three girls of her own, manages to be a model teacher, complete her National Boards, advocate for her students, innovate in her classroom, and recognize everyone else's achievements and contributions to our school. We are a better school thanks to her presence.
Our reading teacher who thinks everything through. Nothing happens in our school related to literacy that she isn't considering how it impacts our students. Her model has made all of us more thoughtful about our instruction and has made our school a model in our district.
And, our administrators. It is the atmosphere that they create that allows the rest of us to teach students as well as we can. They treat us as professionals and work hard to find the support for anything we request. They meet with families frequently and are at all evening events. It is thanks to them that we have so many others who go to the ends of the Earth for our students.
(I'm sure that once I post this I will think of six more worthy awardees!)