CONTRIBUTED CONTENT: Long-term impacts of positive teachers in Southern Nevada

An educator’s positive influence can have long-term impacts far beyond a high school diploma, according to a new study.
 
Children who receive strong personal encouragement from a teacher are significantly more likely to continue on to higher education, researchers at Cambridge University recently announced. Teacher influence has the greatest impact on students on the margin for attending a university.
 
This trend is even seen here in Southern Nevada.
 
Community members often observe a lasting impact with Clark County School District (CCSD) teachers who go above and beyond for their students.
 
Nonprofit The Smith Center for the Performing Arts can attest to this, after recently closing the nomination period for its third-annual Heart of Education Awards, honoring outstanding CCSD teachers.
 
The nonprofit received 3,450 nominations, all championing public school educators who go far beyond the call of duty to support students. These teachers’ efforts span supportive mentoring, providing food and other materials for low-income students, and overseeing programs that give students unique cultural and outreach experiences.
 
Many teachers who have been named finalists and winners of Heart of Education Awards from The Smith Center offer inspiring stories of helping students achieve success.
 
These include Hela Naziri, a Cheyenne High School teacher who personally funds a food pantry in her classroom to feed low-income students at her Tier 1 school. She has regularly found that once properly nourished, her students are more focused and engaged. She was elated when a student who regularly relied on her food pantry recently went on to study at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
 
When she received a 2017 Heart of Education Award, Naziri applied all of her $5,000 cash prize to invest in her students. She used the funds to pay for students’ college applications and tuition, and also applied it to purchasing more food for her classroom pantry.
 
Another Heart of Education winner who made a lasting impact is Sheburra Haugsness, a math teacher at Roy Martin Middle School when she received the honor. She also passed her cash prize on to her students, including donating $2,000 to a former student to help her pay tuition to attend Yale University.
 
The Smith Center will honor hundreds of finalists for its third-annual Heart of Education Awards on April 20, with the top 20 teachers receiving awards.
 
With so many inspiring teachers in Southern Nevada, students have a strong chance for achieving success both in the classroom and beyond.

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