Coventry teacher awarded national educator recognition

COVENTRY – In a surprise announcement Thursday Lauren Hopkins, a Coventry High School English teacher and literacy specialist, was awarded the 2017-2018 Milken Educator award by members of The Milken Family Foundation and R.I. Department of Education leadership.

“From at-risk to gifted students, Lauren Hopkins always ensures her learners are intellectually challenged and instructed in the complex discipline of English Language Arts,” said Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards, in prepared remarks.

Foley complimented Hopkins; “passion for literature” and noted “Coventry High has experienced a 12 [percent] increase in graduation rates since her tenure began.”

A National Board certified English teacher, Hopkins received her bachelor’s degree in secondary and middle English education from the University of Rhode Island in 2001.

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At Coventry High she is known for designing, developing and implementing curriculum and activities which “support and motivate all student learners,” according to the release. She collaborates with fellow Coventry High teachers to incorporate reading and writing goals into subject areas other than English.

“While there are many educators in Rhode Island who were considered for this recognition and honor, I cannot think of a teacher who is more deserving,” said superintendent Craig Levis in a statement. “To all new teachers out there, I would say watch and listen to Lauren; see how she engages, prompts and challenges her students … feel her passion and commitment. This is the art of teaching.”

Hopkins’ recognition is paired with a $25,000 unrestricted cash prize. She is one of up to 45 educators honored by the California-based Milken Family Foundation this year – the foundation’s 31st anniversary.

Previous winners include Emily Caldarelli, a fourth grade teacher at Providence’s Paul Cuffee Lower School, Kendra Borden, an English teacher at Pawtucket’s Samuel Slater Junior High School, Erin F. Quinlan, a reading specialist and instructional coach at Foster’s Captain Isaac Paine Elementary School, and Marielle Emet, a mathematics teacher at the Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy Middle School in Central Falls.

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email,