Dr. Maura Roberts, superintendent at of the Woods Schools in Langhorne, Pa., received the 2020 Greater Philadelphia Social Innovations Award in the Social Justice category from Social Innovations Journal, Institute & Lab, for her innovative approach to educational programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
ABOUT THE SOCIAL INNOVATIONS AWARDS
Dr. Roberts accepted her award at a ceremony on Thursday evening, January 23, held at the Independence Blue Cross Center for Innovation in Philadelphia.
The annual awards, presented by the nonprofit online magazine and voted on by the public, honor social innovators, entrepreneurs and changemakers in the Philadelphia region whose work, social impact and efforts in their communities make Greater Philadelphia a thriving region of innovation and opportunity for all people.
Dr. Roberts was one of 11 Woods employees and partners nominated for the awards.
Goals of the annual awards are to promote a culture of bold thinking and problem solving, increase awareness and build a culture for social enterprise and entrepreneurship, and increase social impact investments by social sector funders and investors.
“We are extremely proud of our Woods employees who were recognized by Social Innovations Journal with award nominations for the positive impact they are making for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities served by Woods,” said Tine Hansen-Turton, president and CEO at Woods. “Their innovative approaches have been essential to Woods’ transformation as a population health organization and are deserving of recognition and emulation,” she said.
HOW THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE WOODS SCHOOLS WON
Dr. Roberts received her first-place award in the Social Justice category based on the innovative work she is doing in education. As a result of their intellectual and developmental disabilities and medical complications, the students Dr. Roberts serves can exhibit severe behaviors which impede their learning and compromise their safety. Dr. Roberts identified and launched the School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports approach because of its emphasis on whole-school culture change.
Through this evidence-based approach, teachers and students learn skills to support positive behavior.
After two years of implementation, the approach has resulted in fewer negative behaviors among all students, and increased academic achievement, including enormous gains in math and literacy.
“Dr. Roberts’ belief that we should teach positive behavior just like any other subject and her leadership and dedication to ensuring all students can achieve their goals led to the implementation of this innovative approach,” Hansen-Turton added.
WOODS RECOGNIZES OUR OTHER SOCIAL INNOVATIONS AWARD WINNERS
Brian Valdez, a fellow at Woods and creator of PLACE (People for Liberty, Access, Choice and Equality), received a second-place award in the Social Justice category for his advocacy work on behalf of individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Valdez unifies groups within the disability advocacy community around the common goal of preserving real choice when it comes to where individuals with intellectual disabilities are able to live and work. Maurice Johnson runs Woods Wear, a social enterprise print shop at Woods created by Danica Lynn to provide jobs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Johnson and Lynn shared the second-place award in the Small Business Development category.
The following Woods employees and partners were recognized with nominations and awards:
SOCIAL MOBILITY: Race Equity and Social Justice
- Valerie Durden, Woods Enhanced Benefits Specialist, Woods Services
- Dr. Maura Roberts, Superintendent, Woods Services
- Brian Valdez, PLACE (People for Liberty, Access, Choice and Equality)
SOCIAL MOBILITY: Small Business Development
- Maurice Johnson, Operator, and Danica Lynn, Creator, Woods Wear, Woods Services
HUMAN SERVICES: Housing and Community Development
- Dawn Diamond, Senior Vice President and Ben Pozez, Trustee, Woods Services
HEALTH: Healthy Communities
- Dr. Steve Kolesk, Chief Medical Officer and Dawn Diamond, Senior Vice President
HEALTH: Healthy Workforce
- Homestead Smart Health Plans and Woods Services partnership – Bill Green of Homestead Smart Health Plans, and Tom Grant and Julia Pfisiter of Woods Services
- Dr. Scott Spreat, Vice President of Evaluation and Research, Woods Services