Nothing is more important to Julie Rowell than removing barriers and expanding opportunities for students at Gresham High School. Rowell's English Language Learner classes engage students who typically have only two to three years of English, propelling them via group learning projects and individualized strategies that have them swiftly engaged in conversations. Her students regularly advance more than a year per grade, and Rowell helps put them on a pathway to higher education by deploying the student-centric AVID system (Advancement Via Individual Determination). A fluent Spanish speaker and dedicated bilingualist who goes the extra mile for struggling students, Rowell also inspires learners with her high expectations and aspirational message of inclusiveness.
But it was Rowell celebrating success this morning at a surprise school assembly where she was presented with a Milken Educator Award by Milken Educator Awards Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher and Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill. Rowell was named a 2019-20 recipient of the national recognition, which comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. She is the only Milken Educator Award winner from Oregon this year, and is among up to 40 honorees for 2019-20.
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.”
Rowell also mentors and coaches the school district's secondary English Language Learner teachers to enhance and advance their effectiveness and is a model teacher with a data-driven yet hands-on, personal approach. She shares videos of her teaching methods with interested colleagues and employs technology to amp up student engagement wherever possible to accelerate the learning curve.
"A teacher like Julie Rowell knows how to really connect with students and make an extraordinary impact," said Gallagher. “Her dedication, commitment and creative approach exemplify the inspirational leadership we seek in our Milken Educators."
“Julie truly models the instruction and coaching we know will make a difference for our students,” said Gill. “Our state is strengthened by cultural diversity and language learning, and every day in the classroom Julie is at the forefront of this effort.”
“Julie is a stand-out educator who uses highly engaging instructional strategies to ensure English Language Learners achieve at high levels,” said Gresham-Barlow School District Superintendent Dr. A. Katrise Perera. “Her willingness to share her expertise with colleagues has had a dramatic impact on our students.”
Source: Milken Educator Awards