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May 30, 2003     Cape Gazette
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98 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, May 30 - June 5, 2003 SCHOO]L &; EDUCATION Cape Region00 ch()oses teachers of the year Amy Reardon photo Lisa Bayko, special education teacher at Shields Elementary School, is the Cape Henlopen School District Teacher of the Year. Shown in the back row are (l-r)Artez Sheppard, Quinn Sondey and Talon Foreman. In the second row are Bayko, ShaQuan Foster, Erik Marsh, Maxis Schellinger, Demetrius Williams and Hunter Brown. In front are Jessica Vale, Elise Conner and Shanika Glover. Submitted photo English as a Second Language teacher Mary Norton of Lewes is the Indian River School District Teacher of the Year. Shown are (l-r) North Georgetown assistant principal Belinda Waples, Norton and principal Jim Hudson. Cape district's top honor goes to Lisa Bayko By Amy Reardon A yarn spider web with "Humble" writ- ten across it clings to the ceiling of Lisa Bayko's classroom. It's one of the tools she uses to help her special needs students understand E.B. White's classic "Charlotte's Web." Bayko, who is this year's Cape Henlopen School District Teacher of the Year, teaches basic reading, math and life skills to students who range in grade levels from first to third. When the Cape Gazette asked her stu- dents why she was the teacher of the year, they talked about the school store where they can earn points with good behavior to buy toys, candy and books, the money game where they trade five pennies for a nickel, two nickels for a dime and so on, and the writing and math help she gives them during assignments. "She's the greatest teacher," said student Talon Foreman. "When I gave her a card, she gave me a big hug." Continued on page 99 IR district's By Amy Reardon Lewes resident Mary Norton's students face several hurtles in the classroom. All grow up learning a language other than English at home and many come from fam- ilies where one or both parents are illiterate. And yet her students are meeting and sur- passing other student populations on stan- dardized tests with the support of Indian River School District's English as a Second Language (ESL) program, their parents and herself. top honor goes to Mary Norton Indian River Superintendent Lois Hobbs surprised Norton in North Georgetown Elementary School, May 16, with a bou- quet of flowers and the news that she is District Teacher of the Year. "I was shocked," said Norton. "I didn't think an ESL teacher would be chosen as Teacher of the Year. The attitude toward ESL used to be: 'Do what you can.' It just wasn't a forefront issue. 'No Child Left Behind' is going to change a lot of things. Continued on page 99 Can round Ruben really be an American Idol? There are definite opinions out there when it comes to the "American Idol". Ruben is the best. No, Clay should have won it. My students were adamant. They voted almost entirely for Ruben, the cuddly teddy bear singer with a velvet voice. They liked him and the way that he sang but an interesting conversation followed after he won. What about his weight? Can he really be an American idol, being as round as he is? Ruben is a very large man who would not make it as the American Healthy Id01. For many students the weight wasn't a factor• He sang well and the audi- ence seemed to respond to his pleasant personality. Other stu- dents dug deeper and revealed an interesting dilemma• Monique raised her hand and made thi s point. "I bet if Ruben were a girl he wouldn't have made it this far." I asked her to explain her thinking. She went on to say that people have different ideas SCHOOL JOURNAL Diane Albanese for boys than for girls. In order to make it, girls have to be thin for the camera. She told us that there was another "American Idol" show where Simon Cowell, one of the judges, actually made some very ugly comments about a female contestant because she was too heavy• That didn't happen to Ruben Stoddard. Ruben kept singing and the audience kept vot- ing him in regardless of his weight. How can this happen? I challenged them to think about other scenarios. What about an African American woman who is overweight? Could she be a pop- ular singer if she had a great voice and great personality? No way! Name one popular singer who is overweight• The closest we came was Queen Latifah and she has slimmed down. There was a heavy young lady named Missy who got famous and then got slim. What about a popular singer who is white and overweight? We couldn't think of anyone. What about other African American male singers who were large? There are many rap singers who fit this description - Notorius BIG and Nelly. It's OK to be big because these guys have made it. Also there are many male football players who are large and loved by the public. The standard for women is completely different. My students were indignant! It's not fair! Everyone should have an equal opportunity to win this contest if they can sing! But the lesson of the day was that in reality, it doesn't really work that way. This is America and people everywhere have a different stan- dard for men than for women. They figured out that the Ruben dilemma represents a type of prej- udice. When we normally talk about prejudice we think of racial prejudice• The book we are read- ing in class now, "The Cay", deals directly with this theme. Two people stranded on a deserted cay must learn to examine racial prej- udice and survive. The students were willing to look at the issue from many angles. The "American Idol" was a popular vote contest. Tristan observed that most American males would not vote for a fat female singer and she could never win. Nervous laughter filtered throughout the classroom. Tristan was right. What does that say about our culture and how we think about the overweight? What about the movie "Shallow Hal"? Gwyneth Paltrow plays a large woman who cannot get a date until Hal comes along. He is under a magic spell and can only see her as thin and gorgeous. Hal falls in love with her and then the spell is broken. This is Hollywood and when he realizes that she is fat, he marries her any- way. Obligatory happy ending• Life isn't like that though, and my students knew it. Ruben made it as the new American Idol despite his size. He was accepted because a major- ity of people in this country phoned in to say he was the best but there are many layers here to provide great dlscussmns that uncover deep seated attitudes. Diane Albanese is a parent and teacher in the Cape Henlopen School District.