Julie York, a career preparation teacher at South Portland High School, is being honored nationally for finding innovative ways to educate students and making a substantial contribution to learning in our community.

York has been named a finalist for the 2005 Cable’s Leaders in Learning Awards, a new initiative rewarding the most inventive classroom educators, administrators, community leaders and policymakers who are transforming K-12 education. The Cable’s Leaders in Learning Awards were created by Cable in the Classroom, the cable industry’s nonprofit education foundation, and awards a dozen winners in four categories.

Jeanne Crocker, principal of South Portland High School, said York is “a mover and a shaker with amazing energy … she’s willing to take appropriate risks … and takes the kids along with her.”

As one of only 43 finalists chosen from hundreds of nominations submitted from around the country, York is being recognized in the Pushing the Envelope award category – for those redefining the education frontier by using cable content or cable technology. York was nominated for developing a student voting project, complete with student-created 30-second radio ads, public service announcements, Power Point presentations, brochures, posters, Web sites, video interviews, written interviews and a school-wide mock election.

York said the goal of her project was getting her ninth through 12th graders more involved in last year’s election. She said her students “knew the political jokes about each candidate,” but not much more.

Aligned with Maine Learning Results, the project helped students gain a better understanding of civic responsibility and to share that understanding with their families, who were invited into classroom activities.

Parents commented that they felt the project helped them open communication with their children about voting and democracy. York has a long waiting list to get into her classes.

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