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IFT members win awards for teaching excellence

As a non-profit organization that works to develop, support, and recognize teacher excellence, Golden Apple annually awards outstanding Illinois educators the prestigious “Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.” Again this year, the IFT is proud to announce that our members have won four of the ten awards statewide!

Outstanding IFT educators who have been named 2019 Golden Apple fellows are:
KringleGreta Kringle
Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1
Eric Solorio Academy High School

Kringle teaches 10th-12th grade students AP Environmental Science, Honors Chemistry and Junior Seminar (College Readiness). In her role as chair of the Science Department at Solorio, Kringle recently introduced a new course, AP Environmental Science, and her students’ scores on that AP exam have already improved by 10 percent in two years. Under her leadership, the Varsity Girls Soccer team was promoted to the highest league of competition in Chicago after an incredible season that ended with the team winning their conference. Her Varsity Girls Soccer student-athletes earned a program record 3.5 team GPA in 2018 after Kringle instituted mandatory study halls and program-wide academic check-ins. This year, Kringle took on the additional role of assistant cross-country coach. Kringle is the school’s service learning coordinator and helps facilitate many service learning trips which help students build respect and appreciation for their local community. Her colleagues say she is a “bundle of joy” and her students say she is fearless, inspiring and does everything she can to make them feel empowered and loved.
RaygozaLeticia Raygoza
Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1
Phoenix Military Academy

Raygoza teaches AP Spanish Language and AP Spanish Literature to grades 10 - 12. She believes that student voice and choice are what students need in order to feel empowered within their learning environment. Her main goal is for all of her students to succeed and she works diligently to help all of her students earn the AP credit they are capable of achieving. Throughout the school year Raygoza spends Friday nights once per month teaching her AP students additional “catch-up” classes so they remain on track to succeed on the AP exam, despite having fewer in-school days than other districts due to a later start to the school year. She also holds four Saturday morning AP practice exams for her students to simulate test day conditions and to help them identify the areas they need to work most on leading up to the exam date. Her students’ track record of success in achieving AP credits is unprecedented. Since 2013 her students have improved from 78% of her class achieving a passing score to 90%+, every year.
UnanderErin Unander
Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1
Lake View High School

In her teaching, Unander places great emphasis on access and equity in math education. With a student body that is culturally and socioeconomically diverse, Unander strives to create lessons that are culturally relevant and unbiased. Her goal is to take every student from where s/he is to where s/he should be -- and that path is different for each of her students. Lake View High School Principal Paul Karafiol credits Unander with successfully turning around the school’s entire math department over the past three years. Math teachers and students are reaping the benefits of her hard work. For the first time in the school’s recent history, students are showing expected year-to-year gains in mathematics. Unander’s students say they love her enthusiasm, energy and the genuine interest that she has for what’s happening in their lives. They say she believes in them and challenges them to be better, even when they are doing well.
YoungAngela Young
Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1
Southside Occupational Academy

Young is a Cooperative Work Training and Special Education Vocational Training teacher for 12th graders at Southside Occupational, a school that services students with disabilities and is a transition center that prepares students to live more independently. Students receive real-world work experiences while in high school. The school has partnered with a variety of businesses across Chicago to give career skills to students. Young’s principal says her work has helped to revolutionize and expand the career training services provided to transition-aged students with special needs within Chicago Public Schools. Her hard work, grit and perseverance have led to many new community partnerships that have yielded learning opportunities within new professional sectors such as food service, hospitality, central supply and transportation in addition to environmental services. Young is dedicated to helping her students find employment post-graduation and spends many hours assisting students with job applications and selecting appropriate work attire, as well as teaching interview skills. She constantly is expanding her programming to benefit her students so they may have more independent lives upon graduation.
CONGRATULATIONS to these incredible IFT educators!

View the complete list of award winners on the Golden Apple website. All Golden Apple winners will be honored at an awards ceremony in May.



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