NEW YORK, July 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/– Teaching Matters is pleased to announce that Jeanne Rotunda, Principal of West Side Collaborative (MS 250) is the recipient of the first annual Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for School Innovation. The $15,000 prize was presented to Rotunda by Elizabeth Rohatyn at Teaching Matters’ Fourth Annual Summer Forum for Principals. West Side Collaborative’s online collaborative community fosters the staff’s ability to differentiate instruction for students, share resources and lessons and strategically use assessments. Rotunda plans to use the award to build teacher effectiveness through the expansion of the school’s online system.

The goal of the Rohatyn Prize is to recognize a school leader who has launched innovative practices in his or her school and to provide funding to support efforts to expand those practices. Before presenting the prize, Elizabeth Rohatyn addressed the crowd of over 100 principals and school leaders. “When we started Teaching Matters 17 years ago, we did so with a vision of today in mind. A today defined by all of you — hard working, imaginative and committed school leaders who creatively promote good instruction and student success by applying the innovations made possible by technology,” Rohatyn said. During her acceptance speech, Ms. Rotunda thanked her fellow nominees. “This is a terrific recognition for our school community. We are so thankful for this award and we learned a lot in this process. There are so many schools doing thoughtful, innovative work. It is nice to be a part of such a significant network of schools. Thank you for letting us learn from all of you,” Rotunda said.

Elizabeth Rohatyn is a champion of innovation and education. Driven by the belief that technology could be used to engage urban students struggling to read and write, Mrs. Rohatyn joined forces with former teachers, principals and technology experts and founded Teaching Matters in 1994. Funding for the Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize for School Innovation is made available by contributors to the Elizabeth Rohatyn Innovation Fund. The Rohatyn Prize trophy is a perpetual award that will be passed on from year to year. Each year the new recipient’s name will be engraved onto the award. West Side Collaborative was one of five finalists—including Academy Street Elementary in Bayport, Long Island, Bell Academy (Q294) in Queens, N.Y., Chester Park (PS 62) in Queens, N.Y., Peekskill Middle School in Peekskill, N.Y., and West Side Collaborative (MS250) in Manhattan, N.Y.—representing schools within a 100 mile radius of New York City.

Naomi Cooperman, Ed. D.
Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Teaching Matters

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