On Wednesday, May 1, Lorrie Weaver, a Special Education Teacher at Foundation Academies, Trenton’s largest and top-performing K-12 charter school, was named as a recipient of a 2019 Robert F. Kennedy Urban Education Award.

Each year, in honor of Robert F. Kennedy’s legacy, and in partnership with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Schools That Can presents the annual Robert F. Kennedy Urban Education Awards to an individual school leader, teacher, and student from urban schools located all over the United States. Awardees embody Kennedy’s characteristics by speaking truth to power and acting as agents of positive change.

“This award honors my current students and all students I have taught in the past twenty years,” stated Weaver in her acceptance speech. “I have never taught in a classroom alone and I could not be successful with students without the support of my other special educators, paraprofessionals, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and general educator’s support. It takes a team, but the students I teach CAN be successful. It may not be in the same way or on the same day, it may cost more and take more resources, but they can and will succeed if you see students for their ability rather than their disability.”

With a career in special education spanning two decades, Weaver is a veteran teacher. She’s committed to working with students facing significant challenges, and she approaches her work with passion and empathy.

“We are grateful for Lorrie’s recognition with this prestigious and well-deserved award,” stated Graig Weiss, Foundation Academies CEO. “Our staff and students see her passion and commitment on a daily basis, and it’s wonderful that Schools That Can, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and a nationwide urban education community now recognizes her too. Foundation Academies is very proud!”

The 2019 award winners were announced during Schools That Can’s 6th Annual National Forum: Advancing Culturally Relevant Real-World Learning at the Robert Treat Center in Newark. The awards were presented by Cara Kennedy Cuomo.

Schools That Can (STC) started with just a few schools from different sectors (charter, district, independent) and has grown into the country’s largest cross-sector network of urban schools serving low-income communities. The network currently reaches more than 180 schools across 15 cities, serving more than 70,000 students. STC works with students, teachers, and school leaders from its network to reimagine education through real-world learning that closes the opportunity and skills gap. Innovative approaches fill a much-needed void to better prepare students for a rapidly changing future. By connecting leaders to powerful practices and models, developing teachers and engaging students, STC is poised to make an important difference in the lives of American urban youth. Learn more at schoolsthatcan.org

Foundation Academies is a top-performing public K-12 charter school in Trenton, NJ. Founded in 2007, Foundation Academies is currently serving more than 1,000 students across two campuses. With markedly less funding than Trenton district schools (approx. $6,000 less per pupil), Foundation Academies’ dedicated teachers and scholars are proving that all children, irrespective of race, gender, or socioeconomic background can succeed at a great public school. On state exams, all grades at Foundation Academies are outperforming not just their Trenton peers, but NJ statewide averages as well. Learn more: foundationacademies.org

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