Crystal Apple Award

<p>Deborah Madison</p>

Deborah Madison

The Richland and Pasco School Districts have announced the winners of the 2013 Crystal Apple Award honoring exceptional educators and innovative instruction in the area.

Deborah Madison is one of four eachers who won the award in the Tri-Cities. She's a fifth grade instructor at Lewis & Clark Elementary School in Richland, and teaches what's called the highly capable program, a special program for academically gifted students.

There are 29 students in her classroom.  Today they were tackling the U.S. Constitution and Terrariums.

Earlier they learned about the salmon run, and the journey the fish make each fall to reproduce.

One of the things that Madison believes is how each child interacts. For this reason, no student is assigned a specific desk. They work together in groups of four, and each week the configuration changes.

"I think the children have a better chance to interact with one another, and our kids need to learn how to work in teams, because that's what we do as adults, collorabate," said Madison.

Principal Doug Palicky said of Madison, "You have somebody who is truly making an impact in the school setting and the community."

"We work towards a growth mindset, kind of like the Michael Jordans of the world," she said smiling.

Madison's classroom is effective because she thinks outside the box, and expects her students to be better, to think harder and to strive for more. For the students, her expectations make them reach for the stars. 

Paul Mayer from Hanford High School also won the Crystal Apple. In Pasco, two teachers, Judy Church and Raquel Martinez were given the award.

Each teacher will be given a crystal statuette, $1,000, and other gifts.

Congratulations to all the winners.  The formal awards ceremony takes place on March 7 at Columbia Basin College.