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Broward School Administrators Win ACCLAIM Awards

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2004 Principal ACCLAIM Award Winner, Dr. Patricia Dixon, of Dillard Elementary School

In 1999, the Broward County School Board established the ACCLAIM Award to honor the best school leaders in the county. The award recognizes administrators who exhibit outstanding talent for educational leadership in a complex and diverse environment in the following areas:

Achievement;
Communication;
Compassion;
Leadership;
Accountability;
Innovation; and
Motivation.

For nearly three decades, Dr. Patricia Dixon has been improving education and helping students do their very best. When you meet Dr. Dixon, you quickly see that she has a special spark — a love for children and for helping them succeed at the highest levels. No where is that more obvious than at Dillard Elementary in Fort Lauderdale, where she took the school from the "D" grade it received to its current grade of an "A".

Dr. Dixon's energy and passion for education is contagious. She has spearheaded numerous grants, community partnerships and parental involvement programs that have helped Dillard Elementary climb the achievement ladder. She worked hard helping land a $200,000 grant to fully fund new, creative innovations including upgrading the school's technology, instituting Learning Communities and incorporating intensive family programs. One such program is Families and Schools Together (FAST). This is a comprehensive 10-week program that focuses on building a strong bond between school and home — more than 50 families have graduated so far.

Dr. Dixon also turned her attention to changing the attitudes and behaviors of her students, revamping the school's discipline procedures. Under the new plan, a comprehensive policy was created that included incentives that reward students for positive behavior. From 2001-2003, Dillard Elementary office referrals went from 1,000 to 15. Dr. Dixon's motto is, "Keep the children first in everything you do." Dr. Dixon knows that Dillard Elementary is a School of Excellence.
Visit Dillard Elementary on the web at http://www.broward.k12.fl.us/dillardelem/.

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2004 Assistant Principal ACCLAIM Award Winner, Thomas Howard, of Sawgrass Springs Middle School

Mr. Thomas Howard cares about his students. He cares about the teachers and staff members. He cares about parents and the community. And most of all, he cares about education. It's this caring that drives Mr. Howard to help everyone do their very best and it's what earned him the 2004 Assistant Principal ACCLAIM Award.When you talk with the Sawgrass Springs Middle community, they'll all tell you that Mr. Howard has had a direct affect on the school's academic performance and pursuit of excellence. He works hard to create a school environment that allows for high quality teaching and learning. He also encourages the teachers he works with to use teaching strategies that increase their understanding of the learning styles and personalities of their students — he knows not every child learns in the same way. "I provide faculty, staff, students and parents with the support and guidance they need for them to be successful," he said. Mr. Howard also works closely with his school's teachers, even encouraging them to challenge him on any issue they feel relates to their responsibilities as educators. For Mr. Howard, nothing is out of bounds."Our relationships have allowed us to engage in discussions and conversations that have enhanced each other's thought processes and positions on a number of educational issues," he said. "As a result, we communicate more effectively, which has had a direct, positive affect on our classroom instruction and learning."It isn't uncommon to visit Sawgrass Springs and see Mr. Thomas singing in the cafeteria to the students who happen to have a birthday. It's just another way he makes his students feel special and shows that he cares about them. But ever being a teacher, it's much more than just a song. Mr. Thomas also teaches the students good manners, self-respect and self-control. Thomas Howard is a dedicated educator who truly cares for his school, faculty, students and staff. He is always willing, ready and able to lend a hand wherever he is needed and he's a shining example of what being a school leader is all about.Sawgrass Springs Elementary is in Coral Springs, Florida. Visit the school's website at www.ssms.org.