Educator Recognition Programs
2008 Massachusetts Milken Award Winner
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.
Chris Louis Sardella
Grade 5, General Elementary
Marion E. Zeh Elementary School
Over the past decade, fifth-grade teacher Chris Louis Sardella has provided a wealth of innovative, hands on experiences that challenge and motivate students at Marion E. Zeh
Elementary School in Northborough, Massachusetts. Always teaching with students' end goals in mind, Sardella balances teacherdirected, whole-class lessons with highly differentiated opportunities for individual practice and cooperative learning.
He established what has come to be a fifthgrade tradition at the school: an end-of-year play based on a historical novel that his students have been reading and researching throughout the year. Chris also implemented a math fluency program to help fourth and fifth graders build a solid foundation in basic math facts and operations. He established a learning garden at the school, for which he not only acquired grants but spent hours weeding, pruning and planting. His students consistently show growth in reading, writing and math achievement.
Sardella is a member of the school's Technology Committee and the district's English/Language Arts (ELA) Committee, through which he played a key role in creating Zeh's ELA benchmarks and writing rubrics. He has also worked with colleagues to pilot a math database designed to document student growth on math assessments, and facilitated a professional learning community on sheltered English instruction as part of a schoolwide model. Chris also teaches courses in literacy instruction as Framingham State College's Division of Graduate and