NKU Honors Four Inspiring Teachers with Trailblazer Awards in Ashland

For immediate release…
Wednesday – Nov. 5, 2014

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Four Kentucky teachers will receive the Northern Kentucky University Trailblazer Award for Mathematics Education during a presentation by President Mearns Nov. 6 at the Ashland Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Ashland.

Each of these mathematics intervention teachers (MITs) has persevered in completing rigorous professional learning requirements through a program provided by the Kentucky Center for Mathematics to improve their knowledge and skills for developing primary grades students’ number sense and advanced quantitative reasoning. Each has stepped into leadership roles, influencing other teachers to implement innovative strategies and tools for improving mathematics education.

Now these inspiring teachers will receive their Trailblazer Award in a ceremony at the Ashland Plaza Hotel and Convention Center at 5:30 p.m. as part of the 2014 #RoadToNKU Commonwealth Tour. The university will also recognize the winner of the Trailblazer Award for Leadership in Library Informatics.

“The Trailblazer Award is recognition of those citizens throughout the state who are changing lives through new and innovative education programs,” NKU President Geoffrey S. Mearns said.  “With improved math skills and added library capacity, Kentucky's children will be better prepared to meet the demands of this century.”

The event is open to the public and will include an opportunity for high school students and adults interested in completing their degree to meet with university admissions representatives.  

About Trailblazer Award for Mathematics Education Winners

Rita Bledsoe, Heritage Elementary, Carter County Schools

Rita is serving her second year as a Mathematics Intervention Teacher. Her dedicated work with intervention students and colleagues contributed to learning and increases in test scores. Heritage Elementary overwhelmingly exceeded its 2013-2014 Mathematics state test delivery target, with a 21.4 percentage point increase in the number of students scoring proficient or distinguished. Rita’s first grade intervention students, on average, ended the school year 23.4 percentile points higher than in the fall.

Jackie Rayburn, Tygart Creek Elementary, Carter County Schools

Now in her fifth year as a Mathematics Intervention Teacher, Jackie says she loves her job and enjoys meeting with others in the Kentucky Center for Mathematics Community, “to learn and discuss strategies that pertain to the specific needs of our students, and developing leadership skills.”

As she has learned to effectively support students’ mental computational strategies and quantitative reasoning, and involves them in self-assessment to monitor their individual progress, they made higher gains than expected. She has led colleagues to conduct number talks and daily implementation of lessons to develop conceptually based basic skills, the school has realized a higher-than-average Kentucky state test growth score. This is especially amazing, considering that the school had 150 new students during the 2013/2014 school year.  Many teachers who have observed Jackie’s mathematics intervention class have been surprised that students who were hesitant to talk or participate in the regular classroom were leaders and authorities in the intervention room.

Jady Skaggs, Sandy Hook Elementary, Elliott County Schools

Jady has worked as the mathematics intervention teacher since 2007 and has helped more than 100 students, developing their understanding of mathematics and number sense leading to greater success with mathematics. She has shared tools and strategies with colleagues, resulting in school-wide gains, evident on the state mathematics assessment in which Sandy Hook exceeded its 2013-2014 target. The school also had a 15.4-percentage point increase in the number of students scoring proficient or distinguished.

Angela Lewis, Lakeside Elementary, Elliott County Schools

Angie has served as a mathematics intervention specialist for eight years. She has embraced opportunities to share with colleagues and parents her passion about new math strategies and knowledge for developing strong numeracy foundations by providing professional learning experience for teachers and parents at the district, regional, and state level. She spent three years as a Math Content Leadership Network District Elementary Leader, two years as a Co-Teaching for Gap Closure Internal Math Coach, and district Response to Intervention team member.

Angie says her greatest contribution has been changing the attitude and math ability of more than 150 children.

“Her dedication and commitment to the students and teachers of this district are evident in every professional decision that she makes,” said Brian Brammell, Elliott County Schools Instructional Supervisor. “Ultimately, her commitment to continuous improvement for all stakeholders, including herself, are manifested through her action and instruction.”

Angie’s work contributed to an increase of 9.2 percentage points of students scoring proficient or distinguished on the 2014/2013 state mathematics assessment and a drop of 16.1 percentage points in the number of students scoring novice.

About the #RoadToNKU

The #RoadToNKU is a tour of community engagement activities throughout the Commonwealth. This trip to Ashland is the sixth of eight stops through Dec. 4.

Find out more about the KCM at http://www.kentuckymathematics.org/.

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