English teacher Taylor Rose wins Albert Award


Courtesy of Parkway Alumni Association

Surrounded by students and administrators, English teacher Taylor Rose is surprised with her Albert Award win. The Albert Award is an acknowledgment given to three teachers, one at the elementary, middle and high school level, and recognizes teachers for their innovative and energetic teaching styles. “It was a huge honor to be nominated last year as it was my first year here [at West],” Rose said. “I was still learning the ropes, so that was an incredible honor to have the nod of being recognized. It felt amazing.”

Administrators walked into the classroom with balloons and flowers in hand, surprising English teacher Taylor Rose with the Albert Award, a district-wide award for teachers who are new to Parkway and in the first five years of their career.

According to the Parkway Alumni Association, the Albert Award acknowledges these new teachers for the “energy and enthusiasm that they bring to their students” as well as the “creative and innovative practices they use in their classroom.After two years of teaching in the district, Rose was nominated and was the only high school teacher in the district to receive the award.

“Even being nominated is such an amazing experience because the administrators here make it such a celebration for you, regardless of whether you win or not,” Rose said. “To have your peers honor you in this way is extremely validating. Being new to such a prestigious building, department and district, you want to serve the students in the best way, and it’s amazing to feel like you’re on the right track.”

The nomination process is completely up to the school’s administration and teaching staff. The person making the nomination is given up to two pages to write about how the teacher in question makes a difference at his or her school.

“When the process is happening, you don’t actually know that you’re being nominated,” Rose said. “Knowing that the people around you would take that time in their crazy busy schedules to honor you in that way is the most humbling thing.”

All that you want to do is your best work, so to get that nod feels like I’m doing good things for kids,”

— Taylor Rose

Along with the merit of the award, the winner also receives $1000 to supply their teaching endeavors.

“The biggest thing that I support financially on my own would be books that go in the classroom and books for students,” Rose said. “[Often], it’s a book that a hesitant reader is dying to have, and you can’t get your hands on it. It becomes this die-hard mission to get this student what they want because it’s something they’re actually willing to read, and we want to turn students into readers. That’s where I end up spending a lot of my money.”

Rose uses a teaching methodology that allows students to choose their own texts within a certain genre or motif. Using this methodology leaves some teachers using their own bank accounts to keep their students engaged.

“What it comes down to is sometimes you have six different books rather than one book that you need, and you need a weird number of copies depending on who wants to read what, so that’s often where the money goes to,” Rose said. “Feeling like you’ve found something for a student and it clicks is the best feeling, and you feel like you’ve won. It’s worth the investment.”

Purchasing books for her students is just one example of Rose staying true to the district’s goal of continuous improvement for their students and administrators.

“Everyone has strengths and areas of weakness,” Rose said. “How can I raise those areas that I’m not as proud of or that I know I can be stronger in? It’s an incredible motivation. Pretty quickly after [winning the Albert Award] I thought, ‘okay, I want to live up to this honor.’”

Winning the Albert Award is a reminder to Rose to keep looking towards growth and change.

“All that you want to do is your best work, so to get that nod feels like I’m doing good things for kids,” Rose said. “That’s really all that any of us want.”