Pittsburgh Teacher Among Winners of Robert F. Kennedy Urban Education Awards

PITTSBURGH: (May 18, 2017) A school leader, teacher, and student from across the country have been named winners of the 2017  Robert F. Kennedy Urban Education Awards, announced by Schools That Can (STC) in partnership with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. Each winner shares a commitment to improving education and fighting injustice.

The 2017 awards honor a school leader, teacher, and student who have stood up for freedom and spoken out against indecency. Winners were nominated by peers and chosen as exemplars of the following quote by Robert F. Kennedy:

“Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or too frightened, when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice.”

Winners were announced May 11th at a special Awards Luncheon during Schools That Can’s National Forum: Real World Learning for the 21st Century in Pittsburgh, PA. The Awards Luncheon also recognized Chairman, President, and CEO of PNC Financial Services Group Bill Demchak and Tony Award winner Billy Porter for their contributions to the community. Schools That Can is pleased to congratulate the following honorees on their outstanding dedication and work:


Michelle Navarre, School Leader RFK Award Winner, is the Head of School at Polaris Charter Academy in Chicago, IL. As the leader of Chicago’s only EL Education school that provides project-based, hands-on, real-world learning for 450 students on Chicago’s west side, Michelle believes “we all have a responsibility to actively engage solving problems our country is facing,” and works to support students “in becoming effective learners and ethical people while tackling issues of social justice.”

Mark Barga, Teacher RFK Award Winner, is the Cultural Literacy Teacher at City Charter High School in Pittsburgh, PA. He has been committed to teaching in under-resourced communities and helping his students within the context of their own lives. For instance, he has them take on real-world issues facing students, including examining the Black Lives Matter movement from three perspectives – deconstructing, discussing, and analyzing them in order to better understand their world.

Deandre Allen, Student RFK Award Winner, is a 12th grade student at Chicago Tech Academy in Chicago, IL, who founded his own education-focused business, Profs Academy, to provide schools with quality learning materials and experiences for students.

For more information about the Robert F. Kennedy Urban Education Awards, 2017 finalists, and Schools That Can’s Annual Forum, please visit schoolsthatcan.org.

Schools That Can (STC) creates a safe space where teachers and school leaders from urban schools, education innovators, and industry leaders work together to advance school improvement and ensure all students have the skills they need to succeed in college, career, and life. The organization currently works with more than 180 high-potential schools serving over 70,000 students nationwide. Since 2005, it has grown from a small cluster of schools to the largest cross-sector network of urban schools, and draws upon the strong knowledge and practices within its network to address the needs of each school and the national landscape, including increasing opportunities for real-world learning, building 21st century skills, and connecting education to employment (e2e).

Learn more about Schools That Can at schoolsthatcan.org, Facebook.com/schoolsthatcan, and on Twitter @SchoolsThatCan.                                              


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