Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation will honor Carrie McMenamin, Social Studies teacher at Centennial High School; Champaign Unit 4, and Darienne Ciuro Sanchez, Dual Language program teacher at Urbana Middle School; Urbana School District 116 with the 2018 Cupcake Awards. Selected teachers are nominated by their peers and exhibit exemplary service, extra efforts, enthusiastic attitude and innovative ideas that noticeably benefit their students.

Carrie McMenamin has been teaching Social Studies at Centennial High School for 4 years. Her nominator highlights Carrie’s ability to “solicit the student voices in her classes and champion their engagement as learners and citizens.” Carrie recently co-sponsored a Model UN (United Nations) Club at Centennial, which immersed students in legal cases and practices. Carrie helped guide her students to think critically about their roles in the world, and what they might need to do to create change in the future.

A fellow Centennial teacher highlights Carrie’s “enthusiasm to foster a safe and collaborative learning environment that builds respectful relationships for all students.” McMenamin’s training in Restorative Justice educational practices has “helped students trust one another and build academic, social and emotional support between students and teachers.” “Carrie’s restorative mindset also shapes her interactions with her colleagues and has helped to promote a positive school climate for everyone. She is an inspirational member of the Centennial community!”

Darienne Ciuro Sanchez teaches eighty-one 6th and 7th grade dual language Urbana Middle School students. Her nominator notes that “since her preps are to be taught in Spanish, Darienne must spend countless hours outside the school day translating her class presentations from English resources. Throughout each day she finds ways to make her subjects (science and language arts) engaging and inspiring to her dual language learners. Colorful and neatly organized bulletin boards welcome her students and spark their imaginations to ask questions that dig deeper.”

Outside the classroom, Ms. Sanchez spends extra time getting to know her students in after school programs including support in the dual language homework lab. She also organizes a special Science Night for the Latino students at UMS to help extend her students love and interest in science.

Both teachers will receive a $500 grant for their classrooms and will be honored on Thursday, May 17th at the 2018 Napleton’s Auto Park Teacher of the Year Ceremony at Pear Tree Estates in Champaign. The mission of the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation is to elevate the excellence in Champaign and Urbana public schools by investing in educators and students.