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UT Austin Honors Five Texas High School Teachers For Excellence

The OnRamps program at UT Austin honored five outstanding educators from across the state with the OnRamps Instructor of the Year Award on July 22, 2016.

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AUSTIN, Texas — The OnRamps program at The University of Texas at Austin honored five outstanding educators from across the state with the OnRamps Instructor of the Year Award on July 22, 2016. OnRamps’ dedication to cultivating teacher excellence, best-in-class instructional materials and extending teacher quality throughout the public school system in Texas is echoed in the five teachers chosen.

“The purpose of the award is to recognize and promote teachers who exhibit excellence in offering the high school portion of OnRamps dual-enrollment courses,” said Dr. Julie Schell, director of OnRamps.

Each winner demonstrated excellence in seven criteria including within the four pillars of OnRamps: innovative pedagogy, college-aligned content, technology-enhanced education and teacher excellences.

The rigorous application process included nominations, essays and letters of recommendation. The selection activities were spearheaded by a committee of educational leaders from The University of Texas at Austin, and all applicants were evaluated anonymously. The pool included 100 teachers in Texas who had implemented a Texas OnRamps course in 2015-2016.

“These incredible teachers have demonstrated their deep commitment to their students and to education through their participation in advanced professional learning so that they can offer a profound college-level experience to students,” said Dr. Jennifer Porter, professional development and research coordinator.

The five OnRamps Instructor of the Year honorees received a crystal award and $2,500 each. They are:

Lara Chapman

Rhetoric course, Lago Vista High School in the Lago Vista Independent School District.

“The OnRamps experience has proved its value to my students, our community and me. I grew more professionally in the past year as an OnRamps instructor than I have in the previous 15 years of teaching. The rigor of the coursework in combination with the guidance and support of the OnRamps staff has been the catalyst for my renewed passion in education,” Chapman said.

Alison Mote

Geoscience course, Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders in the Austin Independent School District.

 “OnRamps not only prepared my students for college, it also empowered them to be more informed decision-makers. They are more scientifically literate and know how to evaluate geologic hazards and risks. These skills will empower my students to make decisions in the marketplace, workplace and voting booth. This makes me so proud to be an educator, and OnRamps helped me develop these skills through high-level content and research-based pedagogical tools like peer instruction,” Mote said.

James Pigg

Computer Science course, Dubiski Career High School in the Grand Prairie Independent School District.

“Winning this award is validation of my continued efforts to be the best teacher that I can be for my students, my peers and my community. It wasn’t necessary, but it is certainly appreciated,” Pigg said.

Dana Stiles

Statistics course, Bowie High School in the Austin Independent School District.

“I realize how lucky my students and I are to be able to learn from the faculty of The University of Texas. Winning this award has reminded me that, as teachers, we are life-long learners and we need to embrace chances to learn right beside our students,” Stiles said.

Chelsea Wade

PreCalculus course, Northwest High School in the Northwest Independent School District.

“The OnRamps program has provided me with the pedagogical skills to facilitate a challenging curriculum that allows my students to think critically and make connections in mathematics. With the use of technology and college-level coursework, this program gives my students an opportunity to gain an insight into what college will be like,” Wade said.