Two Niles-Morton Grove students are among 135 Golden Apple Scholars in Illinois this year.
Diane Choe of Morton Grove and Alejandro Gonzalez of Niles received the 2013 award. Choe is a student of Niles North High School, and Gonzalez attends Maine East.
The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program has grown to more than 1,500 statewide participants since its inception in 1989, making it the leading pre-service teacher preparation and internship program in the nation. The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program is designed to address the urgent need for resilient and creative teachers serving Illinois students in economically and educationally disadvantaged schools. The program provides tuition assistance to each future teacher while they pursue an undergraduate education at one of 53 Illinois universities. Most importantly, throughout their undergraduate years Scholars participate in a comprehensive series of pre-student-teaching internships, mentoring and course work on the art of teaching delivered by Golden Apple Award-winning teachers.
When Scholars complete the program, they have acquired more than three times the classroom experiences garnered by traditionally prepared teachers. Golden Apple continues to support Scholars after they begin their teaching careers through mentoring and professional development opportunities. In return for the financial and professional development support that is provided by Golden Apple, Scholars agree to teach in a high-need school in Illinois for five years following graduation.
The 2013 group of Scholars represents a diverse group of young people from across the state of Illinois, chosen from 1,285 nominated students through a rigorous selection process, which includes a written application, completed by 350 of the nominated students, and interviews with Golden Apple.
“For 25 years, The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program has thoroughly prepared young teachers to thrive in high-needs school environments where their unique skills are desperately needed. We know from experience that excellent teachers produce successful students and we welcome this new class of future educators with gratitude and enthusiasm,” said Dominic Belmonte, Golden Apple president and CEO. Proof of the success of the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program includes:
- 82 percent of Golden Apple Scholars teach for 5+ years in a school of need vs. 44 percent of new teachers leave their initial school within two years.
- 83 percent of Golden Apple Scholars successfully graduate from college each year, dramatically outpacing the national average graduation rate of 58 percent.
- More than 600,000 students in Illinois have been taught by Golden Apple Scholars.
- Students of Scholars have a demonstrated record of performance improvement in subject mastery on state tests.
Scholars that are in their junior year of high school or their sophomore year in college are eligible for selection. Applications for the 2014 class open May 1, 2013 on the application portal on the Golden Apple website.