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Katherine Bobby enlists parents, engages students, earns $25,000 Milken Educator Award

Pennsylvania 3rd grade teacher contributes inspiration plus innovation to Eagle View Elementary campus and community

October 31, 2018

SANTA MONICA, Calif., — Bringing learning to life from the classroom to the living room, third-grade teacher Katherine Bobby knows that parental involvement is an essential component of student engagement for her English Language Arts (ELA) class at Eagle View Elementary in Somerset, PA. That's why she creates strong connections with families through popular events like the school's Parents Painting Party, Dr. Seuss Night and STEM Night. Kindness takes center stage in her classroom, where every student has a voice and children learn in a supportive, nurturing environment.

But it was Bobby's turn to be supportively nurtured today at a surprise school assembly where she was presented with a Milken Educator Award by Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley and Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera. An excited Bobby was named a 2018-19 recipient of the national recognition, which comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. She is the only Milken Educator Award winner from Pennsylvania this year, and is among the up to 40 honorees for 2018-19.

The Milken Educator Awards, hailed by Teacher magazine as the "Oscars of Teaching" has been opening minds and shaping futures for over 30 years. Research shows teacher quality is the driving in-school factor behind student growth and achievement. The initiative not only aims to reward great teachers, but to celebrate, elevate and activate those innovators in the classroom who are guiding America's next generation of leaders. Milken Educators believe, "The future belongs to the educated."

Boosting both academic achievement and student well-being is a product not only of Bobby's warm classroom environment, teaching savvy and community involvement, she also contributes to improving educational outcomes in myriad other ways. She has taken the lead in aligning Eagle View's ELA curriculum with Pennsylvania's Core Standards, serves on several committees, and leads professional development through mentoring colleagues.

"An outstanding teacher like Katherine Bobby routinely thinks outside the box," said Foley. "She opens up the classroom to a holistic approach that integrates family and community while also embracing individualized learning and academic achievement. It's the kind of multifaceted excellence we love to see in our Milken Educators who, like Bobby, strive to make the everyday extraordinary."

"Being selected to receive the Milken Educator Award is an impressive honor and demonstrates Ms. Bobby's commitment to her students, her colleagues and to the teaching profession," said Rivera. "Knowing that the district's relationship with parents is an essential ingredient for student success, she helps organize events and sits on the planning team, which works to enact Somerset's vision of delivering meaningful learning within a caring educational community. On behalf of the Department of Education, we thank her for her outstanding work and serving as a role model for Pennsylvania's educators."

"We are honored to host Secretary of Education Rivera in the Somerset Area School District and very proud that Mrs. Bobby is being recognized for the way she approaches her students, their families, and her colleagues--with care, compassion, humor, and integrity," said Krista S. Mathias, Somerset Area School District Superintendent. "Although only one educator is chosen for this honor, we are immeasurably proud of all of our teachers and recognize that our students' success stems from a culture of compassion and grit that is present throughout the entire district."

About Milken Educator Katherine Bobby
Katherine Bobby, who teaches third grade at Eagle View Elementary in Somerset, Pennsylvania, knows that forging bonds with parents is an essential ingredient for student success. She concentrates on building a strong school-home connection with events like the popular Painting Party, where more than 300 parents come to school to create art together. Families and students enjoy the Dr. Seuss Night, STEM Night, Halloween Dance and 21st-Century Community Learning Center events Bobby helps to organize. She carries her enthusiasm for creating a nurturing school culture to her work on the district's planning team, which brings together a dozen teachers to enact Somerset's vision of delivering meaningful learning within a caring educational community. Students respond to Bobby's energy and passion: 100% of her students typically reach proficient or advanced levels on English Language Arts assessments.

Bobby has taken the lead at Eagle View in aligning the ELA curriculum with Pennsylvania's Core Standards, making changes based on annual data and benchmarks. She takes a holistic approach to teaching and knows each child's home situation, strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Bobby, who taught special education in the Somerset Area School District before moving to a general classroom, creates a warm, supportive atmosphere where each student has a voice. Kindness takes center stage: Bobby's popular Do One Thing wall highlights things students have done to improve others' quality of life in school, home or community.

At Eagle View, Bobby leads professional development, contributes to professional learning communities, serves on the ELA committee, designed a framework for peer observations and mentors both new and student teachers in special education and ELA. She had a major role in developing the school's elementary standards-based report cards. As part of the Sunshine Committee, Bobby takes a lead role in creating high morale and a positive culture for staff. She organizes school food drives for a local food pantry and is active in her church. Bobby is known as an innovative leader who inspires students and staff to be better and reach for the stars.

Bobby earned a bachelor's in elementary and special education in 2005 from St. Francis University.

More information about Bobby, plus links to photos and a video from today's assembly, can be found on the Milken Educator Awards website at http://www.milkeneducatorawards.org/educators/view/Katherine-Bobby.

Milken Educators are selected in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. In addition to the $25,000 prize and public recognition, the honor includes membership in the National Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 2,700 top teachers, principals and specialists dedicated to strengthening education.

In addition to participation in the Milken Educator Network, 2018-19 recipients will attend a Milken Educator Forum in New Orleans from March 21-24, 2019. Educators will have the opportunity to network with their new colleagues and hear from state and federal officials about maximizing their leadership roles to advance educator effectiveness.

More than $138 million in funding, including $68 million in individual $25,000 awards, has been devoted to the overall Awards initiative, which includes powerful professional learning opportunities throughout recipients' careers. Many have gone on to earn advanced degrees and be placed in prominent posts and on state and national education committees.

The Awards alternate yearly between elementary and secondary educators. Unlike most teacher recognition programs, the Milken Educator Award is completely unique: Educators cannot apply for this recognition and do not even know they are under consideration. Candidates are sourced through a confidential selection process and then are reviewed by blue ribbon panels appointed by state departments of education. Those most exceptional are recommended for the Award, with final approval by the Milken Family Foundation.

Past recipients have used their Awards to fund their children's education or their own continuing education. Others have financed dream field trips, established scholarships and even funded the adoption of children.

To get regular updates on the surprise Milken Educator Award events, follow and use the #MilkenAward hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The Milken Educator Awards tour is on social media at www.facebook.com/milkeneducatorawards, www.twitter.com/milken, www.youtube.com/milkenaward, and http://instagram.com/milkenfamilyfdn.

For more information, visit www.MilkenEducatorAwards.org or call MFF at (310) 570-4772.

About the Milken Educator Awards
The very first Milken Educator Awards were presented by the Milken Family Foundation 31 years ago in 1987. The Awards provide public recognition and individual financial rewards of $25,000 to elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists from around the country who are furthering excellence in education. Recipients are heralded in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish.

Lynne Russo 
(818) 903-6079 cell; 
lynneerusso@gmail.com


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