Muncie teacher receives Ball Brothers award
The Muncie-based Ball Brothers Foundation has awarded its 2023 Excellence in Teaching Award to Kira Zick, a third and fourth grade dual language teacher at West View Elementary School in Muncie.
The foundation cited Zick’s “commitment to engaging her students with authentic experiences that will prepare them to be global learners and leaders” as a key reason for her selection.
The award is given annually to one Delaware County teacher “who inspires students and colleagues alike,” the foundation said. The award comes with grant money, including $5,000 each for the winner’s district, school and classroom.
“When choosing the recipient of this award, we place high value on teachers who display integrity and a responsibility to their students and community,” Ball Brothers Foundation CEO Jud Fisher said in written remarks. “We are also seeking to honor teachers who are preparing students with 21st century skills. There is no doubt that Kira Zick exemplifies these qualities inside and outside of her classroom.”
Zick’s Spanish/English dual language classroom includes students who are native Spanish speakers as well as students who have been learning Spanish since being accepted into Muncie Community Schools’ dual language program in kindergarten.
The foundation said by the time they reach Zick’s classroom, students are have proficiency in the Spanish language and spend about 50% of their day being taught in Spanish.
“It is essential that the learning environment is safe, positive, encouraging, well-managed, as well as diverse. Every student deserves to be treated fairly and to be given equal opportunities,” Zick said. “Having an open mind and ability to adapt are essential qualities for a successful teacher; learning is a continual, lifelong process.”
Zick will also receive $2,500 for professional development. She said she hopes to attend the La Cosecha Dual Language Conference in New Mexico this November.
“Being able to attend one of these national conferences would allow me to learn how to apply more best practices in my classroom, allow me to collaborate with other dual language educators and have more exposure to and be able to sharpen my own Spanish language communication skills outside of a classroom setting,” she said.
The foundation also named Rob Jones, a social studies and media teacher at Burris Laboratory School, and Heather Rogers, a German and Russian languages teacher at Indiana Academy in Muncie, as finalists for the award.
Jones and Rogers will each receive a $1,000 grant for their classrooms and $500 for professional development.
The trio will be honored at a reception on May 23, which will include remarks from Indiana Secretary of Education Dr. Katie Jenner.