Six inspiring schools honored at Intel 2009 Schools of Distinction Awards Ceremony

Every year, the Intel Schools of Distinction awards honors U.S. schools that demonstrate 21st century teaching and learning environments that promote excellence in math and science. This year, Intel received more than 700 applications, and from that, chose six winners (one elementary, middle, and high school in each of two categories). These winning schools will receive $10,000 cash grants, and more than $200,000 in products and services from sponsors.

The program culminated with a three-day event in Washington, D.C. from September 13-15, 2009, starting with a black tie dinner, then kicking off two days of activities. On the last day of the event, one of the six winning schools will be chosen as the “Star Innovator,” and will receive an additional $25,000 grant from the Intel Foundation, as well as additional products and services as recognition for their science and math programs.

Managing editor Christine Weiser attended the three-day event and captured some highlights on video.


Wendy Hawkins, Executive Director of the Intel Foundation, introduces the Schools of Distinction Awards ceremony:


The next morning, each school had time to talk about their inspiring math and science programs. Below are the 2009 award-winning schools, along with video highlights:

Urban Assembly for Applied Math and Science
Bronx, NY

By implementing a strategic organization of teachers, ongoing team meetings, purposeful scheduling, and extended school time, The Urban Assembly School for Applied Science and Mathematics has been able to support their mission of math achievement.
Watch the school’s video presentation at the Awards breakfast in Washington DC on September 14, 2009.(Click HERE if you don't see the video)

Palm Desert Charter Middle School
Palm Desert, CA
Palm Desert experienced a leap in student testing scores in science. During the 05-06 school year, California began testing eighth grade students in science. Palm Desert Middle School’s initial results found 63% of students to be advanced or proficient. Just one year later, these scores soared to 72%. In 2008, the scores jumped again, to 78%.
Watch the school’s video presentation at the Awards breakfast in Washington DC on September 14, 2009.

(Click HERE if you don't see the video)

Lynn English High School
Lynn, MA
The learning environment at Lynn English High School challenges students to assume active roles as self-directed learners, with teachers functioning in the capacity of “coaches,” providing guidance and direction. All high school students complete algebra, geometry and in addition enroll in a variety of mathematics courses, ranging in skill level from college prep to honors. Click HERE if you don't see the video.

Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy

Aurora, IL
IMSA is a state agency created to ensure that the needs of students highly talented in mathematics and science were being met. Students at IMSA design and conduct hands-on experiments, make observations, analyze data, draw conclusions, and communicate evidence-based principles. Through SIR, students partner with cutting edge scientists to improve diagnostics, search for the Higgs boson, develop nanotechnology-based therapies, and elucidate mechanisms of disease, for example.

(Click HERE if you don't see the video)

Cedar Park Elementary School
Trumann, AR
A combination of math-focused professional development and a culture of personal accountability within the student body have led to a successful mathematics program at Cedar Park Elementary. Lead teachers work closely with the math coach to create an atmosphere of collegiality to develop quality math instructors in every classroom.

Oakcliff Elementary School
Doraville, GA
Oakcliff Elementary serves a diverse population, with a child enrolled from every continent except Antarctica. Oakcliff's Small Fry to Go program has been recognized by the US Department of Education as the #1 afterschool science program in the nation.

Later that afternoon, the winning schools and sponsors visited Capital Hill to participate in a panel discussion with DC legislators on the issue of STEM. Here are highlights from that discussion:

Click HERE if you don't see the video

Palm Desert Charter Middle School discusses the challenges of California budget cuts

Click HERE if you don't see the videoSchools of Distinction winners talk about the importance of edtech

(Click HEREif you don't see the video)US Congressman José E. Serrano of the Sixteenth Congressional District of New York in the Bronx, the House Appropriations Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government congratulates the Schools of Distinction winners.

Click HEREif you don't see the video.


After a morning session with Intel PR expert Bill MacKenzie offering tips to the winning schools on how to get their winning message out to the community, the winning schools had the opportunity to meet with their Congressional representatives. Then, at an afternoon event at the Ronald Building, the Star Innovator was announced.

Here's Wendy Hawkins again introducing the winners to the room, which included representatives from government:

Click HEREif you don't see the video.

And here is Max McGee, accepting the Star Innovator Award for the Illinois Math & Science Academy:

Click HEREif you don't see the video.