After thousands of nominations and over 800 applications for 2016, just four lucky and amazing teachers were awarded a $25,000 national prize for their hard work in delivering results in the classroom.
Evelyn Rebollar, 9th to 12th grade high school English teacher at Bronx Arena High School in Soundview is that lucky teacher who made the rigorous vetting process to win the Fishman Prize For Superlative Classroom Practice from The New Teacher Project (TNTP).
The process in selecting a winner is a long road with a six-month selection process where they submit essays, teaching videos, and letters of reference, as well as agreeing to an unannounced in-person classroom observation.
TNTP was founded in 1997 buy a group of dedicated teachers who firmly believed that all our children deserved great teaching.
Through their humble beginnings, TNTP has evolved into a think tank of educational leaders with not just assigning great teachers to high-needs schools but also working at all levels of education in over 30 school systems nationwide.
And Rebollar’s and her teaching methods are the kinds our students so desperately need to get ahead.
During her 4 year career at Bronx Arena, 100% of her students have gone on to pass the New York State English Regents in the past 3 years. This is nothing short of simply amazing due to the fact that when her students enter her class they are generally below grade level with a failing average of 53 in English Language Arts.
“Evelyn’s commitment to creating an atmosphere of genuine learning and inquiry is inspiring to our entire school community,” said Bronx Arena High School Principal Ty Cesene. Cesene added, “The growth and success her students achieve in both academic and personal development is a testament to her talent as an educator.”
Rebollar is the real deal when it comes to education. She understands the whole student and the challenges they face with many odds already stacked against them but through her teaching methods, she’s able to get these students to perform at or above their potential.
“My students are a lot smarter than I am,” she says. “They just haven’t had that intelligence cultivated.”
Bronx Arena High School senior Amanda Roman said she was happy Rebollar’s recognition, something which she felt she deserved due to her dedication with herself and fellow classmates. Leslie Allen, another senior said of Rebollar, “She helps me where I need to be, she inspires me to WHERE I need to be. She pushes me to my limits each day.” Both Amanda and Leslie will be attending Bronx Community College this Fall.
A New York City native, Rebollar is a graduate of CUNY’S City College and recalled upon receiving her degree that, “I want to do for other students what my teacher did for me. If I didn’t have her, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” of a teacher who pushed her to excel in the 11th grade.
It is no wonder that out of ten finalists, she was one of four to win the Fishman Prize which consists of not just the $25,000 national prize but she will go on to a summer residency with other prize winners.
Through this residency, they will meet with national education leaders in order to tackle head on some of our country’s toughest issues facing education today.
The residency will culminate with a writing project where Rebollar and her fellow winning companions will disseminate ideas and strategies in final writing project to be shared with the educational community.
The other 3 winners are:
- Erica Stewart, 4th grade math, KIPP Excelencia Community Prep, in Redwood City Council California
- Heather Howle, 8th grade STEM, West Feliciana Middle School, in St Francisville, Louisiana
- Matthew Patterson, 12th grade English, Benjamin Banneker High School, in College Park in Georgia
We couldn’t be prouder of Evelyn Rebollar for believing in our children and giving them a chance at a better life through education.
Congratulations and we hope to read more about your ideas after your summer residency and congratulations to all the other winners as well!