Cardinal Cushing Centers’ Cheryl Clark Receives 2012 maaps Excellence in Teaching Award

Plympton resident Cheryl Clark, special education teacher at Cardinal Cushing Centers, has been selected by the Massachusetts Association of Approved Private Schools (maaps) to receive the 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award. The award ceremony and luncheon will take place during the 34th Annual maaps Conference on May 4th. Cheryl is the second Cushing staff person to receive an award from maaps. The first was June Smith in 2011 who received the Albert E.Treischman Memorial Award for Exceptional Direct Service to Children.

Clark, who has worked at Cardinal Cushing Centers in Hanover for 17 years and has been in the field of special education for 30, applies evidence-based teaching in a highly functional way with her students. Cheryl uses real environments as teaching moments. For example, she will take her students out to a restaurant and have them identify functional safety signs, e.g. exit, ladies room, men’s room, etc.. She has been known to teach science with use of examining cereal boxes for iron content. Her lessons are always innovative and creative.

“The maaps Excellence in Teaching Award honors the very best educators,” said Jo Ann Simons, Cardinal Cushing Centers’ CEO and President. “Cardinal Cushing Centers is very proud that Cheryl Clark is receiving statewide recognition for her outstanding teaching. It is an opportunity for the community to know what we, her students and their families have known for many years- she is an outstanding educator. Her students have gone on to become successful college students, employees and to have meaningful and productive lives. She not only touches lives, she improves them.”

The mission of maaps is to “represent private special education schools in their goal of providing the highest quality education to students with special needs.” As part of the nomination process maaps requires nominators to obtain statements and letters of support from peers, superiors, faculty, staff and others.  Cardinal Cushing Centers’ parent and supporter, Constance Nichols, MD, shares: “With our children tiny steps forward are monumental. Cheryl guides them to take tiny steps almost daily. Her influence, her caring and her empathy make a difference every day for the children in her classroom and in their experiences outside the classroom environment.”

Founded in 1947, Cardinal Cushing Centers, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization, is an intergenerational village founded in Hanover, MA. Cushing Centers began as a day and residential school for students with intellectual disabilities. With a second campus located in Braintree, Cushing now serves over 400 individuals of all ages, with the goal of helping each student and adult to become included and independent members of society. Programs include, among others, affordable housing, community programs, education, vocational training both on and off campus, recreational and residential services.

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Since 1947, Cushing's caring community has been a place where exceptional individuals of all ages and abilities have found possibility, opportunity, and hope, receiving support to achieve independence and meaningful relationships across home, work, school, and leisure.

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