Silver Apple Award: Young teacher wastes no time making a difference in students lives

Sponsored by Arizona Bank and Trust.
Ms. Cooper of Palo Verde Middle School has been awarded the Silver Apple Award.
Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 10:57 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Shatiana Cooper is a young teacher who teaches math and science at Palo Verde Middle School.

She has only been in a classroom for two-and-a-half years now. Cooper is not that much older than her junior high students, but she believes that gives her a big advantage; has wasted no time making a difference in her students’ lives. “I think it helps a lot because we are in the same generation,” explains Miss Cooper. “I get what they’re saying. They get what I say.”

Respect for yourself and others, along with authenticity are the first lessons and rules in Cooper’s 7th grade classroom. She expect each of her students to be themselves and accept each other. However, she sets the example first by accepting and respecting each student just as they are.

In his Silver Apple nomination letter, Phoenix McCardle says Cooper practices what she preaches, going out of her way to make all her students feel special. “Miss Cooper is special because instead of just her giving us a worksheet, she actually explains the work,” said McCardle as he read his nomination letter. “And when we get our work finished, she lets us have free time, and she lets us eat snacks in her class.”

“Middle school is really fun. It’s a pivotal point in a child’s life,” she said. “[It helps them] determine what they want to do going forward or how they want to live. In middle school, you figure out who you are, and I want to help kids figure out who they are.”

“You are preparing our next generation of leaders in this state,” Brian Cousins of Arizona Bank & Trust said to Miss Cooper as he presented her with a check. “...and preparing the future of Arizona right here in your classroom. We really appreciate all that you do. Congratulations!”

Arizona Bank and Trust awarded Miss Cooper $1000 as part of the Silver Apple Award. However, Miss Cooper says she receives her reward every day--in her classroom. “It’s intrinsic gratification. I feel really good when I’m able to have an impact on my students lives,” Cooper said. “They go home and they feel like they’ve accomplished something because we worked together to do that.”