Chavon Hopgood and VaNetta Clark

Two exceptional teachers will be recognized at The St. Louis American Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala. The Golden Apple award is presented each year to two Newspaper In Education (NIE) teachers that excel in the ways that they have integrated The St. Louis American newspaper into their classroom lesson plans. The NIE program, supported by local corporate leaders, provides weekly newspaper delivery, at no cost, to select classrooms in the St. Louis area. These newspapers contain specific student-friendly educational content for teachers to incorporate into their curriculum. Savvy teachers have found that their students respond positively to using the newspaper in class and they, therefore, include the entire newspaper into their lesson planning.

Chavon Hopgood, 3rd grade teacher at Gateway Elementary School in the Saint Louis Public Schools District, uses the newspaper in her classroom every day, Monday through Friday. Hopgood has used the newspaper in her class for five years and each day her students focus on a different section of the newspaper, including the STEM and Healthy Kids pages. “The use of The St. Louis American newspaper has definitely made a difference in my students being prepared for the MAP test and other assessments,” Hopgood shared. “It serves as an enrichment and exposure tool for my students.”

The second awardee, from the Confluence Academies, is VaNetta Clark, 5th grade teacher at Aspire Academy Charter School. Clark is also the self-published author of Fifth Quarter: The Broken Pieces Realized, available on Amazon and at Left Bank Books. Clark was nominated by multiple Confluence administrators for the positive influence she has on her students while using The St. Louis American in her class. She created a “Community of Compassion and Peace” display in the school hallway using the newspaper, to create posters filled with positive role models found throughout its pages. “Ms. Clark has made The St. Louis American come alive in her class community,” said Lisa Boxley, principal at Aspire Academy. Clark added, “Do you know that the newspaper articles enhance student learning and preparation for the MAP assessment? Well it does!”

The St. Louis American’s Newspaper In Education program has received local, statewide, regional, national and even international recognition for its positive impact on inner-city school classrooms. Research partnerships with Wash U and UMSL confirmed our own internal data: students who use the newspaper in class are more interested in reading, are more involved in their community, perform better on standardized testing, and have an increased interest in science and pursuing science-based careers in the future.

Hopgood and Clark understand and appreciate this positive impact on their classrooms. After a nomination and selection process, both teachers were surprised by the NIE team in their classrooms this past spring with Golden Apple recognition plaques and gift cards. The St. Louis American’s STEM and Healthy Kids weekly educational pages are made possible through contributions from St. Louis area corporate leaders including Ameren, Anthem, Ascension, Bayer, BJC, Boeing, Centene, Emerson, Missouri Foundation for Health and World Wide Technology.

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