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Princeton 5th-grade teacher wins $25,000 national cash award

Angela Harvala, a fifth-grade teacher at Princeton’s North Elementary School, can use the money in any way she likes. 

Fifth-grade teacher Angela Harvala learning she is the winner of a 2014–15 Milken Educator Award.

Angela Harvala, a fifth-grade teacher at Princeton’s North Elementary School, was surprised at school this morning with word that she’d won a $25,000 cash award from the Milken Family Foundation.

Harvala, is one of 40 teachers around the country who will get one of the Milken Education Awards this year for their commitment and dedication. The foundation has been awarding the cash since 1987, with $65 million going to 2,600 K-12 teachers.

There are no restrictions on how the winners can use the money.

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Officials said about Haravala and her classroom work:

 Harvala is known for creating an uncommon bond with her students and encouraging them to believe in themselves and realize they can create their own future.

Harvala works tirelessly to individualize instruction by gathering information about her students including their achievement data, learning preferences, home life and anything else that could influence their performance. She then uses that information to modify instruction and set specific goals for each student. 

Harvala holds her students accountable for their work by asking them to personally rate their own effort and progress. To ensure that students who need extended learning time get the support, she developed a “Catch-Up Club” where students can get assistance with completing assignments on time. She also leads the girls’ iEmpower group after school.