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Lisa Young, Teacher Education Scholarship Winner, Fall I, 2010

Dominican University, in partnership with Bisk Education, Inc., is proud to recognize Lisa Young – a life skills teacher at Sto-Rox High School in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania – as one of five winners of the Bisk Foundation Teacher Education Scholarship for the Fall I, 2010 session. The scholarship supports the ongoing professional development of teachers who are making a difference in others’ lives.

A graduate student in Dominican University’s online Master of Arts in Education program with a concentration in Elementary Education, Young strives to help pupils in the Sto-Rox School District achieve their potential and become accountable citizens. She recently shared her story about teaching special-needs students and related how the scholarship will help her continue making a difference in their lives.

“Many of my students have difficult living situations. Often, I felt that the baggage they carried from home was more debilitating than their disabilities. So I’ve made it my mission to create a warm, comfortable environment where my students feel safe to take chances and are not afraid to make mistakes,” Young shared.

She uses a variety of creative methods to teach skills needed for successful living. “I teach my students not only the basics, but also the importance of taking care of yourself, your family, your household and even the environment. We also learn the importance of maintaining relationships with friends and co-workers.”

Through her efforts, Young is truly making a difference in the lives of her Sto-Rox High School students. One positive outcome is the Go-Green Program, in which her students collect all of the school’s paper recycling and take it to a recycling center each week.

“We also started Earth Day Clean-Up and have conducted fundraisers to help raise money for a fellow teacher’s children, who have a rare disease,” said Young. “I teach my students that every little bit helps and everything they do can make a difference. They are learning that if we all pitch in and do our part, we can achieve our goals.”

As an example of how her work prepares students for adulthood, Young described a program she and her colleagues initiated. “When I became Transition Coordinator at Holy Family Institute, we built a program of which I’m very proud,” she stated. “We helped students research potential careers, schools and financial aid, and accompanied them on school tours. We also helped with their living arrangements; I advocated for them to set up housing they would not have been able to access otherwise.”

She continued, “After working so closely with these students, I felt very responsible for their well-being. I feel I was able to help influence and lead the students to discover the career that best fit their interests and strengths.”

When asked how the life-skills program at Sto-Rox High School is helping students succeed, Ms. Young replied, “The curriculum allows students to learn valuable job skills through employment internships we set up with different community-based programs. This past June, our first two students graduated from the program – and one was immediately hired for a full-time job.”

Founded in 1965, Sto-Rox High School takes great pride in its outstanding team of educators. Young and her follow teachers are dedicated to empowering students to ethically meet the challenges of a global society and become self-directed, continuous learners.

To that end, Young’s efforts earned the praise of her colleagues. As one noted, “Ms. Young provides instruction to a variety of students with disabilities and has taken on the arduous task of developing the curriculum for a new program. Her classroom is rich with instructional areas, relevant lessons and engagement. She has challenged her students far beyond expectations, including career research, oral presentations and job shadowing. Ms. Young’s use of technology is excellent, providing interactive instruction using SMART Boards and laptop computers.”

Together with Dominican University, Bisk Education is proud to salute Lisa Young – a true everyday hero who is making a difference through the gift of education!