Chicago Public Schools teacher blogger nominated for national award

Chicago Public Schools teacher blogger nominated for national award

I tell my students to advocate for themselves—so I’m going to do the same.  Because of my blog, this Chicago Public Schools teacher earned a nomination for the national Education Commentator / Blogger Award at the 2014 Annual Bammy Awards, an event organized by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences.  I’m honored that my blog caught the attention of colleagues at the national level, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be included among impressive education bloggers—and in some tough competition.

The Educator’s Voice Award in this category is determined by public votes.  To vote for me, follow this link and vote before May 15.  My official press release is below.

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For Immediate Release

Contact Ray Salazar at whiterhinoblog at gmail dot com

CHICAGO, IL - April 22, 2014 – Chicago Public Schools teacher, blogger, and National Board Certified Teacher Ray Salazar announced today that he has been nominated for the Education Commentator / Blogger Award at the 2014 Annual Bammy Awards.  Presented by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences, the Bammy Award is a cross-discipline award recognizing the contributions of educators from across the education field.

"All across the nation, nominees like Ray Salazar are doing some pretty amazing things to educate our children often under very difficult circumstances.  Students are not the only ones who need validation. More than ever before, educators need to be validated and the stories about what's going right in American education need to be told," said Errol St. Clair Smith, executive producer of the Bammy Awards. “We are delighted to be part of this collaborative, nationwide effort."

Three years ago, Ray Salazar started his blog—The White Rhino—about education and Latino issues to address the lack of teacher voice in too many education conversations.  “Teacher voices,” Ray said, “deserve to be at the decision-making table.  Like the endangered species that inspired my blog’s name, I have a perspective that must fight to exist.  Through my articles and editorials, I do not pick sides in the polarized education debates.  Instead, I use my writing and research, my teaching and personal experiences to push the conversation so we can see what is truly best for students and manageable for teachers.”

Jimmy Greenfield, Community Manager at ChicagoNow, the online group that hosts Ray’s blog, said, "It's hardly surprising to see Ray honored yet again for his blog. He has a unique and honest voice, and he's unwavering in his devotion to education. We're so proud to have him as a part of our ChicagoNow community."

In 2013, Ray's blog tied for second place in the Best Blog category of the Education Writers Association national education reporting contest.

In February, Gozamos, a popular online Chicago magazine, recognized Ray’s contributions as an up-and-coming national voice.  “Chicago has corazón. We are the heartland after all. Yet we don’t get the credit we deserve for our contributions to Latino literature.  Look at the Latino writers grabbing the national spotlight right now: Esther J. CepedaErika L. SanchezTanya Saracho, and Ray Salazar–all from Chicago,” said Luz Chavez, Gozamos Editor, when launching the Chicago Latino Writing Initiative.

Ray’s contributions at the national level include multiple National Public Radio commentaries on Latino USA, All Things Considered, the Tavis Smiley Show, and Tell Me More.  A pro-immigration-reform editorial appeared in the Chicago Tribune.  In November, Ray’s post on NewsTaco, a site for Latino news and insights, gained over 13,000 Facebook likes in one week.

In December 2012, a highly controversial education leader sent Ray an email that said, “I find [your writing] to be fair-minded and of a journalistic quality and standard that unfortunately is lacking these days. Even though I don’t agree with everything you write, and I am sure you do not agree with everything that we do, I find the points you make are often intended to provoke thought rather than to demean, which is why I appreciate your style.”

Ray remains committed to his mission as a Chicago Public Schools writing teacher and teacher leader.  “I teach writing,” Ray said, “so students remember that just as there are unending possibilities to use language, there are unending possibilities to create a future beyond any overwhelming circumstance.  As they learn the guidelines for accomplished writing, they defy the boundaries of audience so that their words and their experiences become one universal wisdom among many to engage others to feel, to think, to speak, to ask, ‘What do I believe?’”

Ray started teaching in 1995 after receiving his B.A. in English / Secondary Education from DePaul University.  While teaching, he returned to DePaul and, in 2003, earned an M.A. in Writing with distinction.

To help Ray earn the Educator’s Voice Award in the Education Commentator / Blogger category, follow this link and vote before May 15.

Honorees will be announced on September 27 at a red-carpet event in Washington, D.C. The Bammy Awards are presented by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences, which includes leading educators, education professors, journalists, editors, researchers, commentators, advocates, activists, visionaries and pioneers. The Academy is comprised of a board of governors, a council of peers and the executive committee.

About the Bammy Awards:

The Bammy Awards is a cross-discipline award that identifies and acknowledges the good work being done all across the education village. The Bammy Awards was created in response to the tremendous national pressure on educators and education leaders to improve student outcomes, the impact of high stakes accountability and the intense scrutiny that today's educators face.

The awards aim to foster cross-discipline recognition of the collective contributions being made to educate children, encourage collaboration in and across the various domains, elevate education and education successes in the public eye, and raise the profile and voices of the many undervalued and unrecognized people who are making a difference in the field.

The Bammy Awards is organized by BAM Radio Network, which produces education radio shows for the nation's leading education associations.

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