CHANA — The Illinois Principal’s Association (IPA) Northwest Region has chosen Cassie Jennings and Stephanie White as recipients of the 2019 Leadership Awards for recognition of outstanding achievements in their educational practice.
The IPA Northwest Region consists of six counties and more than 200 schools. This year, Jennings was one of four teachers to receive an award in the region, and White was the only Certified Support Staff selected in the region. Both are employed with Ogle County Educational Cooperative and work at Chana Education Center. This year, Chana Education Center was the only school in the region to have two staff members selected to receive awards.
Jennings, a Byron resident, has been teaching physical education and in the Challenge Regional Safe Schools Program (RSSP) at Chana for three years. In her time with the school she has transformed the physical education program to focus on physical, social and emotional health. She includes fitness, yoga, health and mindfulness exercises to support emotional self-regulation with students.
Jennings provides classroom teachers with strategies to provide appropriate movement opportunities for students to help when they need to energize or calm to be ready to learn. She earned grants for the school to establish a fitness room in the building that students utilize for gym time, and also when they need regulation breaks.
White, a Rochelle resident, has been the school social worker at Chana for six years. She serves an integral role in providing social and emotional supports for students.
She has created partnerships with several area mental health agencies to host counseling services inside the school building, as well as becoming a certified Trauma Informed trainer. She led the transformation of Chana in becoming centered in trauma-informed practices.
White provides training to area schools and agencies on understanding how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can affect child brain and social development, which impacts their abilities to perform in schools and develop relationships with others. She also supports students in their future planning by helping them make connections with potential future employment opportunities and colleges.