Sixth-grade teacher at Orange’s Dexter Park Innovation School wins Grinspoon award

  • Angela Worden-Corey, center, a sixth-grade special education teacher at Dexter Park Innovation School in Orange, was surprised to learn on March 12 that she had won an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Angela Worden-Corey, a sixth-grade special education teacher at Dexter Park Innovation School in Orange, was surprised to learn on March 12 that she had won an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 3/21/2021 4:01:01 PM

ORANGE — Angela Worden-Corey didn’t know what to think when her principal, dean, superintendent, curriculum coordinator and a School Committee member barged into her Dexter Park Innovation School classroom on March 12.

“I just kept saying, ‘What is happening right now?’ as I backed into a corner,” she recalled with a laugh.

Worden-Corey’s anxiety subsided when she saw her unexpected guests carrying flowers and balloons. They were there to tell the sixth-grade special education teacher she had won a 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

“It felt very nice,” she said. “It was very, very, very humbling.”

As Dexter Park is operating under a hybrid learning model, Worden-Corey said her remote students were muted on her computers and perplexed as to why people randomly came in with balloons and flowers. But, the teacher said, they were all very excited and happy when they learned the news. Worden-Corey said she was flooded with messages from parents and former students over the following weekend.

She said the most joy came when she visited her parents’ driveway in Greenfield to celebrate the news in a socially-distanced and responsible way.

The school district released a statement saying Worden-Corey has an energy for teaching.

“She is a risk-taker and is always learning and growing in her practice. She is well respected by all staff, and currently serves as a mentor to the district’s first-year teachers,” the statement reads. “Angela has a skillset and compassion for the most challenging students.”

Worden-Corey said she has been teaching in Orange for 20 years and in general for 26.

The district says Worden-Corey “goes above and beyond” for students, visiting them at the Star Program, meeting with children over the summer and running with some of them to train for a 5K. She has also presented her work on assistive technology and using social media to build relationships with families at regional conferences, and was highlighted in the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Inclusive Practice newsletter.

There will be a virtual celebration for Grinspoon award winners on May 6. The program will feature the presentation of the individual awards, and winners will receive an engraved plaque and a $250 check. They also receive membership at WGBY Springfield as well as three-month memberships at the Springfield Jewish Community Center, the Springfield YMCA and five regional YMCAs, and other gifts.

All 2021 winners have the chance to apply for the selective Classroom Innovator Prize of $250 by submitting a project-based learning idea. Up to 30 projects will be selected for the Classroom Innovator Prize. Also, seven area colleges and universities — Elms College, Bay Path University, Mount Holyoke College, Springfield College, Western New England University, Westfield State University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst — offer graduate course tuition incentives and scholarships to the winners.

The Excellence in Teaching Awards program is made possible by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation in partnership with the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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