The O'Rourke Prize
Co-sponsored by Authentic Education and the Colorado Staff Development Council
Bill O'Rourke was a leader of educators; he was a teacher of children and adults, he was a lover of family and friends, and in all of his life roles, he led from something deep in his heart.
This prize honors an exemplary teacher of teachers, who demonstrates unusual vision, effectiveness, cheerful persistence, and wise tact in educating educators through in-service programs in schools. It is limited to those individuals living in Colorado. The person may be nominated by a peer, colleague, or supervisor.
Applications/submissions are now open until 12 midnight MDT, November 6, 2009.
And, so it was, when you were Bill's student, you learned first about being a person, and then about writing curriculum, designing standards and assessment, and conducting school improvement.
How did you learn about being a person from Bill? Much of it was through real dialogue - the exciting process of deep listening, probing questions, reflections, and shared ideas - the kind of exchange where you experienced the gift of Bill's full interest and attention. He was as comfortable talking with the high school Latin teacher about the "authentic" upcoming Chariot races, as he was the 1-2-2 zone that had recently been put in by the "buckets coach." He honored your world by knowing about your world, and he knew about your world by asking questions and reading voraciously. He made you feel that whatever, and whomever, you were leading, was oh, so very important. One of his students in an educational administration course, wrote about him, "If administration could be spiritual, Bill made it so."
The story of buying his mother, then in her seventies, her first microwave oven, and her unanticipated defensive reaction to it. The details were both humorous and instructive, and spoke to the principle of understanding change, whether it be in the kitchen or in the context of school reform.
The story of returning to his 30th high school reunion, to recognize that fifty percent of his small graduating class returned, and fifty percent did not. What did it say about the "haves and have nots," the engaged and the unengaged in our school systems, and the necessity of quality for all students, based on educational standards?
The story of the aspiring professional cyclist, who lived with Bill and his wife, while training for his dream. The young cyclist understood the balance of building an aerobic and fitness base and then specifically tailoring his training for a given race. The same principle applies to the balance needed in curriculum development, with strong attention given to building a foundation, and yes, teaching to the test, given that the test measured that which was worthy of learning.
For more information on th CSDC visit their web site - www.co-csdc.org