‘Apples’ for 2 West Middle teachers
1st time 2 from same school honored for annual PTA awards in District 11

       For the first time in District 11 history, Crystal Apple awards honoring teaching excellence will go to teachers from the same school - and that school is West Middle.
       The West teachers, Connie Graven and Mary Hahn, are among six District 11 teachers who will be presented with the annual awards by the El Paso Council PTA Tuesday, May 4 (National Teacher Day), at a formal banquet at the Colorado Springs Sheraton Hotel.
       Each teacher will receive $500 to be used in the classroom, a crystal apple mounted on a plaque and an overnight stay in a Marriott Hotel.
       Contacted separately, both West teachers used the same word - “shocked” - to describe their reaction to the honor.
       “I was even shocked to be nominated,” said Graven, a seventh-grade language arts teacher, whose 10-year District 11 career has all been at West.
       Hahn, who's been with District 11 for 23 years (including stints at Pike, Whittier and Jackson on the Westside), said the award was an “incredible honor.” It's especially gratifying, she observed, because teachers often don't know if they are truly succeeding. “It's just you in your room,” added Hahn, who teaches language arts in West's SAIL program for gifted students.
       When asked what she thought of being part of history (as one of two “apple” winners from West), Graven happily exclaimed, “We're good here!”
       The Crystal Apple Awards nomination process involves preparation of a book including letters from colleagues, parents, students and former students. Judges are from outside the school district, and they base their selection on how the teacher:
       · provides for individual differences of students,
       · motivates students to learn,
       · prepares students to be contributing members of society,
       · demonstrates professional leadership, and
       · contributes to a positive school/parent/community partnership.

Westside Pioneer Article from press release