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And the room lights up! Congratulations Kimberley Gilles on winning the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence


Kimberley Gilles, an English teacher at Monte Vista School in Danville, CA, Bay Area Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute Fellow (1987) and member of the California Teachers Association, received the evening’s top honor: The NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence and $25,000. This award recognizes, rewards, and promotes excellence in teaching and advocacy for the profession.

Gilles and four other educators also received the Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence. These five educators were finalists for the evening’s top award.

“He was my son who happened to be gay,” his father states. His mother is grateful that “he was surrounded by friends—the sun, the wind, and the smell of sage brush” as he died, badly beaten and tied to a fence. In between these statements and others made by local residents interviewed by the playwrights, a Tibetan singing bowl mournfully chimes.

With this choral reading of The Laramie Project, students in Kimberley Gilles’ class learn what happened to Matthew Shepard on the day he was murdered. Afterwards, she invites them to share their thoughts and the comments are honest and profound. One student simply asks, “Why?” Gilles shares her passion for social justice and inclusion with her students with this lesson that intentionally provokes and, she hopes, invokes in them a love of reading and writing. She tells them that the purpose of writing is to communicate their inner truths and encourages each student to find his or her unique voice.

Gilles has taught high school since 2003 and was previously a humanities and leadership teacher at the middle school level. In June of 2014, Rethinking Schools will publish her work, “Bringing LGBT Issues Out of the Curricular Closet: Teaching The Laramie Project.” She was awarded a B.A. cum laude from the University of California at Los Angeles and a M.Ed. in Instruction and Curriculum, Specialization: Integration of the Arts in 2012 from Lesley University.

As an active member of the Hayward Education Association, she played an integral part in leading a strike and then afterwards helped mend the fences and bind the wounds that had been created. Gilles currently serves as a union representative at her school in the San Ramon Valley Education Association and is a regular advocate for educators at school board meetings and community events. She is a State Representative to the California Teachers Association and currently serves on the Civil Rights in Education Committee. She received the CTA Members Human Rights Award in 2012.

CWP Jim Gray Pre-Convention Workshops (02/13/2014)

The Pre-Convention Day (February 13, 2014) is sponsored by the California Writing Project in support of the CATE Convention, February 14-16, 2014.




Th u r s d a y, Fe b r u a r y 1 3 , 2 0 1 4

Registration Open 8:00 A.M. Golden Foyer
Introductions/Morning Workshop 9:00-10:15 A.M.
Round A Workshop Sessions 10:30-11:45 A.M.
Luncheon Workshop 11:50 A.M.-1:20 P.M.
Round B Workshop Sessions 1:25-2:40 P.M.
Round C Workshop Sessions 2:45-4:00 P.M.

A: Supporting English Learners

B: Writing and Feedback

C: Critical Reading and Academic Writing

D: Upstanders, Not Bystanders

For more information check out the Pre-Convention Flyer

Digital Learning Day! February 5th

Digital Learning Day
First of all, thanks so much to those of you who are nudging your Teacher Consultants and teachers you’re working with to participate in Digital Learning Day and Beyond activities…..and to add classroom and school activities to the national DLD map. You can see the map and the CWP impact already in evidence here ( by far the majority of events/activities entered there are CWP-connected): http://www.digitallearningday.org/events/state-and-local-celebrations/.
Please reach out to TC s you know have classroom or school info to post, and if you have site activities planned with a digital learning focus—continuity, youth programs, inservice sessions, conferences—please do the same and enter them here: http://www.digitallearningday.org/events/create-an-event/