Peninsula teachers honored with excellence in mathematics education award
Teachers from Port Angeles, Forks and Sequim, respectively — from left, Carol Jackson, Kim Northcut and Joe VandeWeghe — were recently awarded the Excellence in Mathematics Education award in Poulsbo.
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The Excellence in Mathematics Education award was presented to them by the Washington State Mathematics Council and the Olympic Education Service District.
Kim Northcut is teaming with another third-grade teacher at Forks Elementary and taking on math instruction for both classes.
According to a news release, she “has embraced the instructional shifts mandated by the Common Core Standards. Her students have developed a dynamic learning community where their ideas are honored and explored and mistakes are seen as an important part of the learning process.
“Northcut's attention to maintaining the cognitive demand of rich tasks has brought a change to the student participation.”
As the sixth-grade math teacher at Forks Middle School, Carrie Echeita was recognized for making mathematics “fun and accessible” for all students.
According to a news release: “Her classroom is a wonderful, warm environment rife with students explaining, justifying and defending their point of view, and where mathematics is the arbiter of truth, not the teacher.
“In this discourse-rich environment, Echeita pushes students for precise language and complete ideas.”
Joe VandeWeghe is a math teacher at Sequim High School. In his four years there, he has been the primary leader in the implementation of technology in his district.
VandeWeghe wrote a grant and received funds to purchase a remote student response system and wrote and shared PowerPoint lessons and quizzes with other members of the department.
He obtained a Mimeo projector and whiteboard and uses it interactively with students in all his classes. He uses it to record his lessons and posts them so students who are absent can access them at home.
VandeWeghe piloted a class using standards-based grading last year and used it in a summer school program that allowed students who had failed algebra or geometry to obtain credit, and allowed students to accelerate through geometry to algebra 2 so they could take calculus in high school.
This semester, VandeWeghe is experimenting with flipping his classroom: having students watch a video of his lesson as homework and using class time for projects.
He is an OSPI Math Fellow and a leader in the ESD and district in the transition to the Common Core. He is also completing the National Board Certification process this year.
Carol Jackson is a mathematics teacher at Port Angeles High School.
She is an instructor who has the ability to reach all students in some of the most difficult subjects, according to a news release.
Jackson teaches students algebra 2/trigonometry, University of Washington pre-calculus and UW calculus 124 and 125. She is also the department chair representing nine math teachers in her department.
As chair, Jackson has created a team of math teachers who meet in professional learning communities. With her guidance, they have designed a curriculum for each math class taught at the high school and created group norms to ensure they stay aligned.
The department has adopted five new math courses over the past five years to address student needs and meet changing state standards.
In addition, Jackson provides mentoring for new math teachers. When the school adopted a two-period algebra I class to meet the needs of the most at-risk math students, she taught the teachers how to teach in a block setting.
According to a news release, Jackson coached her colleagues on how to craft teams, create an atmosphere of camaraderie and design in-depth lessons so students would understand at a deeper level.
Last modified: May 27. 2014 7:52PM