Veteran University of Chicago Laboratory Schools teacher David Derbes’ Advanced Placement class in physics was interrupted Wednesday morning as representatives of The Golden Apple Foundation arrived to present him with a Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest honor given to school teachers in the Chicago metropolitan area.
Derbes thanked the foundation and his students, as well as fellow teachers and school administrators, applauded. “There are many other fine teachers here as well,” he said.
In making the award, the foundation said, “David wants his students to learn how to think better and examine scientific processes with a more skeptical eye. He feels the largest impediments to accomplishing these goals are time and energy. He loves his job, but it takes nearly everything he has.”
Derbes is one of 10 high school teachers to receive the award this year. They were selected from a field of 941 teachers nominated from Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties.
Seven Laboratory Schools teachers have received the award, since it was first presented in 1986.
The Awards selection committee is comprised of Chicago-area educators. Two committee members will observe each of the 32 finalists in the classroom and interview their principal and selected colleagues, parents and students.
The winners will be honored at an awards ceremony on Saturday, May 12 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, which subsequently will be aired as a one-hour prime-time special on WTTW/Channel 11.
Each of the 10 Golden Apple Award winners will receive a tuition-free fall-term sabbatical at Northwestern University, a personal computer, $3,000 and membership in the Golden Apple Academy, which has inducted 210 expert teachers in the past 21 years to ensure that all children have the excellent teachers they deserve.