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Annual French Award supports English Vertical Team at Belen High School

Melodie Good, an English teacher at Belen High School, has been awarded the 23rd Annual French Award for the Improvement of Secondary Teaching.



Melodie Good, an English teacher at Belen High School, has been awarded the 23rd Annual French Award for the Improvement of Secondary Teaching, the most prestigious external award given by New Mexico State University's College of Education. (New Mexico St


The $5,000 award is the most prestigious external award given by New Mexico State University's College of Education.

Good was honored at a luncheon May 21, where she made a presentation outlining her plans to continue building and maintaining an English Vertical Team for the Belen Consolidated School District. The team is composed of 15 middle and high school teachers who will meet during the 2003-2004 school year. They will develop standardized lists of skills that must be introduced, developed and mastered at each grade level. Student success will be evaluated with pre- and post-tests.

Also, a system will be created to keep student notebooks to record literary and grammar skills, writing samples and other data as students progress from 7th to 12th grade. Because meetings will be held during normal school hours, the $5,000 award will be used to provide substitute teachers for members of the team to ensure teacher participation.

"We are trying to see that every student from Belen High School has an equal education," Good said. "Teachers need time as a team to make sure the curriculum is aligned. We need to make sure we are not repeating or neglecting any area."

Mary Beth Calhoon and Mary Rafferty were last year's French Award recipients. Rafferty made a presentation on her project at the luncheon. She used her award to introduce Hispanic female literature to students at New Futures School, an accredited alternative school that serves pregnant and parenting teens in middle and high school.

Calhoon's project examined practices in promoting linguistic skill and reading comprehension in middle-school students with reading disabilities.

The French Award, founded in 1981 by Ralph and Josiah French of Las Cruces to honor the memory of their aunts, Fannie and Floy French, is given annually to encourage research and application of creative ideas for the improvement of secondary teaching. The French sisters devoted their lives to education.

Floy French, born in 1878, worked in library management in New Mexico and later as head librarian at Carnegie Library in Indiana. Fannie French, born in 1883, graduated from New Mexico State University in 1902 when it was the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. She organized the first Las Cruces High School and was its first principal. She later became an education teacher at Morton College in Illinois. Both women returned to Las Cruces after they retired.