Educator Recognition Programs
2005 Massachusetts Milken Award Winners
Milken Family Foundation Mission Statement
The purpose of the Milken Family Foundation is to discover and advance inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives. The Foundation advances this mission primarily through its work in education and medical research.
In Education, the Foundation is committed to:
- Strengthening the profession by recognizing and rewarding outstanding educators, and by expanding their professional leadership and policy influence.
- Attracting, developing, motivating and retaining the best talent to the teaching profession by means of a comprehensive, whole school reform.
- Stimulating creativity and productivity among young people and adults through programs that encourage learning as a lifelong process.
- Building vibrant communities by involving people of all ages in programs that contribute to the revitalization of their community and to the wellbeing of its residents.
In Medical Research, the Foundation is committed to:
- Advancing and supporting basic and applied medical research - especially in the areas of prostate cancer and epilepsy - and recognizing and rewarding outstanding scientists in these areas.
- Supporting basic health care programs to assure the well-being of community members of all ages.
A wealth of human potential is represented by individual people of all ages whose vision and purpose make them dynamic forces for change. The Foundation's mission is to help realize this potential by giving the support that enables people to create and carry out effective, lasting solutions to the challenges facing our communities.
Thabiti Akil Brown
Codman Academy Charter School
In a unique and innovative partnership with a local theater, Thabiti Brown has brought the power of staged drama to the study of history, literature and humanities. At least twice a month Codman Academy students travel to Boston's Huntington Theater where they watch plays ranging from Shaw's Heartbreak House to Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun. Students then discuss these plays with actors, learn about stagecraft and write in journals. These experiences later enliven and enhance classroom discussions, led by Mr. Brown, examining themes, character and symbolism. Students also produce a play at the end of each semester. A recent production was an original opera about Amadou Diallo, the unarmed Bronx man who was shot forty times by the New York City police. The partnership with the Huntington, which Mr. Brown created, developed the curriculum for and implemented, has dramatically improved academic achievement. Every one of his tenth graders passed the English/Language Arts portion of the high-stakes Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), including several students who had entered the ninth grade reading below the 25th percentile, and one hundred percent of last year's seniors were accepted to four-year colleges. To say these results are dramatic is an understatement.
Randolph High School
Randolph Public Schools
"All the world's a stage," wrote William Shakespeare, and so is Jasmine Lellock's English program at Randolph High School. Founder of the school's Shakespeare Ensemble, now in its fourth year, Ms. Lellock helps students learn by bringing the Bard's plays to life, from Macbeth and Othello to A Midsummer Night's Dream. She also led students in creating a weekly improvisational theater group that performs for sixth graders, teaching them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Integrated with these dramatic performances are Ms. Lellock's instructional strategies, from alternative assessments such as portfolio building to artistic projects based on literary works, including illuminated manuscripts and posters for the Shakespearean productions. She uses the data collected from her assessments to bolster weaknesses in the curriculum and drive instruction. Her upper-level course sections are often filled to capacity, and more students request enrollment in her classes each year. Five former students mentioned her in their National Honor Society farewell speeches. Parting is such sweet sorrow.