Early Childhood Awards

Three CPS teachers from Healy, Inter-American, and Belmont-Cragin each won awards for their early childhood education teaching. 


April 11, 2006

Three CPS Teachers

Kohl McCormick
Early Childhood Teaching Award

Chicago Public Schools teachers have been named winners of the 2006
Kohl McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Award, which honors exemplary
educators in the Chicago area who are focused on teaching children from
birth through age 8.

Ramirez, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Belmont-Cragin Early Childhood
Demonstration Center, Maeve Kanaley, a first-grade teacher at Inter-American
Magnet School, and Mary Hanson, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Robert
Healy Elementary School, were among the five winners. All three CPS
winners provide innovative instruction to students learning multiple
languages, either as English language learners or dual language students.

early childhood teachers have been recognized for their dedication to
and creativity in the classroom, said CPS Chief Executive Officer
Arne Duncan. These teachers are inspiring a love of learning that
their students will carry with them throughout their lives.

committee of leaders in the field of early childhood education selected
the finalists for this prestigious award after conducting on-site visits
to hundreds of kindergarten through third-grade classrooms in public,
private and parochial schools around Cook County. They also visited
pre-schools, home daycare centers, childcare centers, Head Start programs
and state pre-kindergartens.

winners will be honored at the 2006 Kohl McCormick Early Childhood Teaching
Awards luncheon on Tuesday, May 23, at the Westin River North in Chicago.
Winners are inducted into the Kohl McCormick Academy of Outstanding
Educators and will receive:

  • A $5,000 cash award
      and a $1,000 award for their school.
  • A classroom field
      trip to the Kohl Children's Museum of Greater Chicago.
  • A classroom visit
      from the Kohl McCormick StoryBus, which focuses on early literacy.
  • A day of professional
      development in the fall 2006 Kohl McCormick StoryBus
      Institute and an additional day at the Kohl Children's Museum of Greater
  • A graduate-level
      course at Chicago's renowned Erikson Institute.



Mary Hanson, Robert Healy Elementary
School (pre-k teacher)

In Mary Hansons classroom,
students speak Chinese, Spanish and English. More than half of Hansons
students are English language learners, so she has developed innovative
ways for her students to communicate while they learn a new language.
She takes photographs of students making happy, sad and scared expressions.
Students place the picture that best describes how they feel on a bulletin
board, which they can change throughout the day. Hanson also has enlisted
the help of Chinese grandmothers, provided by the Chinese American
Service League to assist students in the classroom. Hanson holds a masters
degree in curriculum and instruction, as well as a National Board Certification.

Maeve Kanaley, Inter-American Magnet School
(first-grade teacher)

Maeve Kanaley creates a welcoming
environment for her dual-language first-grade classroom with colorful
student projects on the walls, weaving a creative spell around her students
by using music to build their vocabularies in both English and Spanish.
While students have fun singing, they are gaining skills critical for
reading and writing. Kanaley has completed her National Board Certification
and holds a masters degree in urban teaching from Columbia College,
where she also teaches in the Educational Studies Graduate Program.

Hertha Ramirez, Belmont-Cragin Early Childhood Demonstration
Center (pre-k teacher)

In her sophomore year of high
school, Hertha Ramirez relocated to Chicago in order to escape the civil
war in her homeland of El Salvador. Arriving without speaking a word
of English, she understands first-hand the need to make her students
feel their home language is valued while generating excitement about
learning a second language. Ramirez has high expectations for her 3-
to 5-year-old students, something she also instills in their parents.
Each year, she asks parents to write a Hopes and Dreams letter
to their child, which builds the students self-esteem while teaching
parents the important role they play in their childs education. Ramirez
holds a degree in child development from Northern Illinois University
and a masters degree in early childhood education.

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