KCTS 9, PEMCO Insurance and the School Employees Credit Union of Washington recently announced the winners of the 17th annual Golden Apple Awards for individuals and programs that make a positive difference in Washington state education for grades pre-K through 12.
This year’s recipient of the Stanley O. McNaughton Golden Apple Award is Mike Town, teacher of AP Environmental Science in grades 11-12 at Redmond High School (RHS).
Town is known throughout the Lake Washington School District for his passion for environmental science. He personally advocates for all students to have access to rigorous AP courses and believes strongly that if a student is introduced to college course material and receives credit, the odds of them attending college will increase dramatically.
Because of this, Town has opened his six AP courses to all students with great success. Fifty percent of the RHS student body enrolls in his courses and 90 percent of these score well enough on the AP exams to earn college credit.
Outside of the classroom, Town mentors the RHS Environmental Club, which successfully reduced the carbon footprint by implementing environmental changes at the school, including solar panels, a recycling program and environmentally friendly practices in the cafeteria. Under his guidance, and starting with his “simple idea” to invigorate the student body with pride in their environment and their school, the students launched the Cool Schools campaign.
The campaign challenged teachers to reduce their classroom’s carbon dioxide emissions by 2,000 pounds, with a plan to achieve a 46-ton reduction. Ultimately, the electric bills revealed that over 72 tons of carbon dioxide emissions were prevented.
This “green schools” concept has been replicated at 17 other district schools and has received the Presidential Environmental Youth Award, first and second prizes in Washington State University’s “Imagine Tomorrow” contest and entry into the Congressional record.
Town’s teaching philosophy holds that “change begins in the classroom.” As students become passionate and learn how to combat global warming, they bring these lessons home to their families and friends.
“Every one of us can look back to their favorite teacher and trace a direct path to how that person made us who we are today,” said Mohler. “The teachers that we honor with this award are those teachers, setting the course of our state’s future by the efforts they put forth today.”
Golden Apple Award ceremonies will be held in Seattle in January 2009 and they are recorded for later broadcast on public television stations nationwide. Each winner will receive a Golden Apple statuette. Individual honorees will also receive $250 and each winning program will receive $500. PEMCO Insurance will also award each Golden Apple winner a $1,500 grant to support their classroom, school or educational program.
For more information and a complete list of winners, visit www.KCTS9.org.