Lodi High School teacher Tammy Boschee gleamed with pride Friday.
A teaching academy program she worked to develop four years ago has achieved a rare accolade.
The Academy for Preparing Professional Leaders in Education, or APPLE, program was recently named a Golden Bell award winner for career-focused programs.
The award will be presented by the California School Boards Association at a special reception in December.
The three-year academy program is geared to students interested in education and other child-focused careers.
Such programs are a new approach to career education, merging academic and vocational classes.
Boschee said she was shocked to learn the program won the award. "We're just very proud," she said.
She wrote a grant to start the teaching academy in 1999. The program, now in its third year, has 145 students enrolled.
Boschee works with a handful of other teachers in coordinating studies about children in history, English and science classes.
Students also take career-focused courses, such as child development and an exploratory class in education.
District officials submitted the program for the award and a CSBA evaluator visited the school to validate the nomination.
CSBA recognizes more than 30 schools and programs with the annual award in different categories, said Steve Colwell, principal of school-to-career programs and adult education.
Colwell said students in the academy program have shown slightly higher grades and better attendance rates than typical Lodi High students.
"It's just an outstanding program," he said.
And the program continues to be popular with the students.
Jennifer Iversen and Kara Schmidt, both 16, worked Friday on laptop computers to create a class presentation.
"It's so much fun. I like how all the classes are intertwined," Iversen said of the program. "You get to know everybody."
Schmidt said she likes the focus of the class since she's interested in pursuing a career as a child psychologist.
"It's good for kids who want to be teachers or go into related fields," she said.
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