Portsmouth teacher awarded $25,000

Posted at 1:30 PM, Oct 17, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-17 13:30:27-04

A Portsmouth teacher has been awarded $25,000 for what officials call, the “Oscar of Teaching”.

On Wednesday, October 17, 2012,  at 10:00 a.m., LaKeshia Ames, a fourth-grade teacher at Churchland Primary and Intermediate School in Portsmouth, was surprised with an unrestricted $25,000 Milken Educator Award. 

The prestigious award, presented by Dr. Jane Foley, Senior Vice President Milken Educator Awards, recognizes the exceptional work of this educator as a model for the state and nation. Up to 40 of America’s top teachers will be named 2012 Milken Educator Award recipients. 

In Lakeshia Ames’ fourth-grade class at Churchland Primary and Intermediate School in Portsmouth, each student is known as a “professor” and takes that moniker seriously. These young “professors” take their teacher quite seriously, too. Ames garners a high level of respect from her young charges, who make great gains in her “positive, friendly and child-centered” environment. One interesting word used to describe her class: “magical.” That’s according to Portsmouth school officials. 

Ames uses an interactive Promethean board, iPads and manipulatives, along with games and centers of activity to promote high levels of engagement. Rap and rhyme are continuously infused into her lessons to make them more engaging and relevant to her students.

Solid performers on the state Standards of Learning (SOL) test, Ames’s kids achieved a 91 percent passing rate in reading and a 70 percent passing rate in math for the 2011-12 school year, ranking above the state averages. They have consistently performed at or above state averages in reading and math for the past three school years.

Ames presents on Singapore Math and Paul Brown Test Taking and also sits on the state math curriculum frameworks committee. A member of the school improvement team, she is a master teacher in math and served as fourth-grade department chair.

As chair for school improvement and data analysis, Ames is the Teachers Expectations Student Achievement coordinator, mentors new educators and leads in-service development for staff. Beyond the campus, Ames finds time to volunteer with the Red Cross, United Way and HOPE Youth Center.