Golden Apple Winners


HPCF Golden Apple Award Honors 5th Grade Teacher Patricia Castro

Highland Park, IL – May 9, 2019: The Highland Park Community Foundation is pleased to announce the Golden Apple Award recipient for 2019. This year’s deserving honoree is Patricia Castro, fifth grade dual language teacher at Oak Terrace Elementary School.

Patricia’s principals and observation team applaud her for setting the standard for good teaching. Patricia doesn’t create lessons; she creates experiences. Navigating in one language is tough enough, but Patricia does it in two. To benefit her students, she takes the core curriculum and adapts it to Spanish. Her dedicated methods change the way her students learn by encouraging them to believe in their own potential while fostering an environment where everyone is on an equal playing field. Each student brings his or her own ideas, strengths, desires, background, and knowledge to the group and ultimately becomes a valuable and participating member of the classroom.

“The Highland Park Community Foundation is privileged to honor Patricia Castro as 2019’s Golden Apple Recipient,” said Sara Sher, HPCF Golden Apple Selection committee. “Exceptional teachers such as Patricia are guiding the next generation of Highland Park citizens. Through our recognition of deserving life-enhancing teachers, the Highland Park Community Foundation can celebrate the profoundly positive impact that their exemplary teaching has on the children of our community.”

In 2010, the Highland Park Community Foundation and a local family foundation initiated an annual Golden Apple Award to recognize outstanding teachers in the Highland Park School systems. Nominations are made in a rotating cycle: K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. A selection committee, comprised of exemplary current and retired educators and administrators and former Golden Apple award recipients, evaluate the extensive application and complete a full day of observation. The final recipient of the award is chosen based on instruction, content knowledge, student and staff interaction, and contribution to school and community.

This year, nominations were accepted for full-time teachers in grades K-5 in North Shore School District 112 who have completed at least four full years of teaching. The committee received excellent nominations, and after a rigorous and intensive review process, nominations were narrowed to three spectacular semi-finalists: Patricia Castro, Amy March, and Becky Purse.

The HPCF Golden Apple Selection Committee met this May to determine the 2019 recipient. Patricia Castro receives a $2000 honorarium, a $500 gift card to Apple store, and a “Golden Apple” award.

All three of the semi-finalists will be honored publicly at the May 21 District 112 Board meeting. By honoring exceptional educators, the Foundation hopes to demonstrate the strength and importance of excellent teaching in helping young people reach their full potential.

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