Teachers Cheri Chaney, Amy Creek, Jennifer Johnson and Laura Kopshever have been honored at the Project CHILD National Conference held in in April. This two-day event is hosted annually by the Institute for School Innovation (ISI) and is attended by educators from around the country.

Chaney, Creek and Johnson received the 2010 Innovation First Year Star Cluster Award. All are Project CHILD teachers at Dishman McGinnis Elementary School (Bowling Green Independent).

Project CHILD, which stands for Changing How Instruction for Learning is Delivered, is a unique three-dimensional learning system that incorporates technology and hands-on learning into daily instruction. Classrooms are organized into cross-grade clusters using a team-teaching approach. Teachers receive special training to become subject-focused specialists in one of the core academic areas: reading, writing or mathematics. Classrooms use six different learning stations to incorporate computers, textbooks and hands-on activities. Teachers work with students for three years to build basic competencies throughout the primary grades (K-2) and intermediate grades (3-5).

“After Dishman McGinnis (Elementary) completed its first year of CHILD in the primary grades (K-2), Cheri, Amy and Jennifer didn’t wait for Principal Michael Wix to ask them to implement it in the intermediate grades,” said Sally Butzin, president and executive director of ISI. “They asked him if they could become a cluster and start CHILD with the 3rd-, 4th- and 5th-graders.

“Their students are loving school, becoming independent learners and making academic achievement by leaps and bounds,” Butzin said. “CHILD has given them the tools to transform their traditional classrooms into 21st-century classrooms. You often hear them say, ‘We love teaching!’”

Kopshever received the 2010 Classroom Champion for Change Award. She is a primary CHILD mathematics teacher at South Heights Elementary School (Henderson County).

The Classroom Champion for Change Award recognizes exemplary CHILD educators who stay in the classroom to have a direct impact on student achievement. The recipient must have at least five years of teaching experience as a certified CHILD specialist, as well as becoming a certified consultant to train and mentor new CHILD teachers.

“She is truly an extraordinary, committed person,” said South Heights Elementary Principal Rob Carroll. “She views every child as an opportunity to improve the world.”

The CHILD project was originally developed at Florida State University. Numerous research studies have shown that CHILD students have higher test scores and better behavior and are more involved in learning than are comparable students in traditional classrooms. Project CHILD is being implemented in schools in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Connecticut and New York. Nearly 16,000 students are involved.

The Institute for School Innovation (ISI) is a private, non-profit educational organization established as a vehicle to continue the CHILD research and development and to promote its growth to reach more students and teachers. ISI engages in research and development, along with professional development, to transform teaching and learning to better meet the educational needs for the 21st century.