From the Principal’s Office: Life After Intel Schools of Distinction Awards

Dr. Claudia Styles, second from left, and colleagues representing Legacy Elementary School in Madison, Ala.

This blog was posted on behalf of Dr. Claudia Styles, principal of Legacy Elementary School in Madison, Ala. Legacy was the 2012 winner of the Intel Schools of Distinction Elementary Science Award. 

The Intel Schools of Distinction Award is truly one of the most exciting events that has ever happened to Legacy Elementary School. Our students, teachers, and parents have worked many hours on our Pond Project to create a special learning environment for our students and Intel has made our hard work pay off!

The Intel Schools of Distinction Award has placed Legacy on the map.  We already knew that we had a great school with a one-of-a-kind teaching and learning environment, but it seemed to be a “hidden secret” shared only by those who lived in the community and had the luxury of sending their children to our school.

Now, our school is known nationwide because of Intel’s emphasis on education.  I have realtors call me and thank me for the job we do.  They say that because of Legacy, it makes their job easy! I have had parents contact me and tell me that they wanted to move into the area and buy a house in our district just so their children can attend Legacy.   If it weren’t for Intel’s award, we would not receive this national status and many families would overlook us.

Legacy Elementary students gathered around Project Pond, part of Legacy's outdoor learning laboratory.

The students were ecstatic about winning the award and they are ready to celebrate. We have been planning some BIG outdoor classroom days that will be devoted to our Intel Schools of Distinction win as well as our student success.
We have already received calls from other schools and have scheduled days that they will come out to meet with our teachers.  These schools will also get to see science at its best as they experience Project Pond activities and experiments conducted by the students. The Intel Schools of Distinction Award definitely brought our schools together to collaborate around the great things we are doing.

The grant that was provided to our school was very helpful as we plan our science units and purchase some new technology that we have been wanting.  However, it is the Award itself that brings the greatest excitement to our entire school system. When one school in our system receives an honor such as this, it is celebrated by EVERY school…elementary, middle, and high school.  It is also celebrated by the local community and business leaders. Since Legacy is located at the back door of Research Park, the Space and Rocket Center and the Redstone Arsenal, awards such as this provide an avenue for all of us to come together to celebrate the science, technology, and math and the effect that it has on our youth.  Legacy will be hosting a top-notch gala event on the night of November 1st.  We cannot wait to see our Schools of Distinction buddies again!

We got in a plane on September 9th and flew to Washington, D.C., not knowing what to expect.  When we arrived, we were treated like royalty!  Our team of teachers and superintendent and wife had the time of our lives!  Intel Schools of Distinction Award really made everything so enjoyable all the way from the food and drinks to the entertainment and collaboration among fellow educators.  I was so impressed by the entire venue.  I have been an educator for 23 years and have worked very hard in the field and this experience will definitely go down as one of the most memorable.

Read more about the 2012 Intel Schools of Distinction Awards from Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation. 

Rachel Sutherland

About Rachel Sutherland

Rachel Sutherland is the Communications and Media Relations Manager for Intel Arizona. She is responsible for defining and implementing communications strategies to tell the story of Intel’s presence in the state. She also contributes media plans and storytelling on national projects that support Intel’s corporate responsibility initiatives. Follow her on Twitter @Rachel_Ariz.

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