The Ball Brothers Foundation names its Excellence in Teaching Award Winner

West View's Kira Zick has received the Ball Brothers Foundation's Excellence in Teaching Award, according to a report from the Ball Brothers Foundation. 

The award includes $5,000 for the district, $5,000 for the school, $5,000 for the classroom and also $2,500 for professional development. The award is given annually to one Delaware County teacher who inspires students and colleagues, according to the report. 

"When choosing the recipient of this award, we place high value on teachers who display integrity and a responsibility to their students and community," said Jud Fisher, president and CEO of Ball Brothers Foundation. "We are also seeking to honor teachers who are preparing students with 21st-century skills. There is no doubt that Kira Zick exemplifies these qualities inside and outside of her classroom." 

Zick teaches in the third and fourth grades in a Spanish/English dual language classroom. In her classroom, she teaches their usual subjects like math and science in the Spanish language. By the third and fourth grades, students are taught 50% of their day in Spanish. 

"It is essential that the learning environment is safe, positive, encouraging, well-managed, as well as diverse," Zick said. "Every student deserves to be treated fairly and to be given equal opportunities. Having an open mind and ability to adapt are essential qualities for a successful teacher; learning is a continual, lifelong process." 

Zick said with the personal development funds she wants to attend the La Cosecha Dual Language Conference or a conference held by the National Association for Bilingual Education, according to the report. 

"There are math and science curriculums with a Spanish version, but they aren't necessarily created for students in a dual language program," Zick said. "Being able to attend one of these national conferences would allow me to learn how to apply more best practices in my classroom, allow me to collaborate with other dual language educators and have more exposure to and be able to sharpen my own Spanish language communication skills outside of a classroom setting." 

The foundation also gave out two other awards to Rob Jones, a social studies and media teacher at Burris Laboratory School, and Heather Rogers, a German and Russian languages teacher at Indiana Academy for being a finalist. 

"The most important thing to understand is that what lies ahead in the student's life is not set," Jones said. "My teaching comes from a place of giving opportunities for students to engage in real-world issues and learning skills that will benefit them for their unseen future." 

Rogers teachers her students to become community members of a wider global community. As well as teaching Russian and German, she also emphasizes the importance of what languages mean to those who speak them, according to the report. 

As a finalist, Jones and Rogers will both be awarded a grant of $1,000 for the classroom and $500 for professional development. 

The award finalist and winner will be honored at a reception on May 23. Indiana Secretary of Education, Dr. Katie Jenner, will be the special guest speaker. 

To learn more about the Ball Brothers Foundation's Excellence in Teaching Award, visit the foundation's website