OTISFIELD — Lavinia Rogers, formerly of Otisfield, was one of 10 recipients of Teach For America Alumni Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

Rogers graduated from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in 1996 as one of the top 10. She attended Gettysburg College and graduated summa cum laude in 2000, majoring in history and French.

Rogers teaches 10th through 12th grade French at TEAM Charter Schools: Newark Collegiate Academy. For years, her students demonstrated exemplary growth against district language standards but she was not seeing the kind of fluency that she knew was possible.

“After 7 1/2 years of teaching, I forced myself to start anew. Those first months I struggled,” she said. “To keep myself honest. I videotaped my classes and developed guidelines and questions to reflect on my implementation of the Total Physical Response System for language learning, and I never opened those old materials again for two reasons. First, TPRS was a more natural way to acquire language and many of my materials were made to teach language unnaturally. Second, my students acquired language much faster than my previous students because many of those old materials were simply not rigorous enough.”

Her results have been outstanding.

Lavinia’s principal said, “It’s really simple, Lavinia has started a language acquisition revolution for those paying attention. With her uncanny combination of vision, planning, execution and amazing results, she is proving the possible in language acquisition at Newark Collegiate Academy, our network and other KIPP schools across the country.”

Nearly 600 nominations were received from a national alumni teaching base of some 7,000 teachers.

The 10 winners will receive a monetary prize, be invited in an award ambassadorship including an international trip focused in excellence and challenged in educational systems abroad, and will be publicly honored by Teach For America in New York City on July 27.


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