NKU Honors Two Inspiring Teachers with Trailblazer Awards in Louisville

For immediate release…
Monday – Nov. 17, 2014

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Two Kentucky teachers will receive the Northern Kentucky University Trailblazer Award for Mathematics Education during a presentation by President Mearns Nov. 18 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville.

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 Crowne Plaza Hotel 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

Teresa Cooksey, Brooks Elementary, Bullitt County Schools

Teresa is currently serving her fifth year as a mathematics intervention teacher and has helped more than 165 intervention students. Through her participation in the Kentucky Center for Mathematics professional learning community, she continues to acquire tools and strategies for implementing best research-based practice for developing student numeracy.

Most recently, Teresa has implemented “Number Talks” for supporting advanced mental computation and discussion of rigorous thinking among students. Test scores reflect her skillful provision of targeted instruction based on evidence of student need. For example, the 2013-2014 Measures of Academic Progress indicated that Teresa’s first-grade intervention students on average had more than 14 percent higher gains than expected and her second-grade intervention students on average had more then 26 percent higher gains than expected.

Teresa also works hard to help other teachers. She is now in her third year leading a Kentucky Center for Mathematics Course for primary grades teachers in her region titled “Enacting Effective Response to Intervention.” She continues to train other teachers at her school to most effectively assess and advance conceptual-based mathematical fluency.

Rick Reinle, Taylorsville Elementary, Spencer County Schools

Rick was one of the first highly trained mathematics intervention teachers in Kentucky, supported by a Mathematics Achievement Fund grant provided by the Kentucky Legislature and distributed by the Kentucky Department of Education. Rick has helped more than 460 intervention students become more capable and confident with mathematics during his more than eight years as an MIT. Many of those students now declare that they love math or that math is their favorite subject!

Through ongoing participation in the Kentucky Center for Mathematics statewide professional learning community, Rick has learned how students learn mathematics, has changed the way he teaches, and has established relationships with others who are also working hard to allow students to make sense of and become proficient with number and operation.

“My years working as an MIT have been the most rewarding years of my career,” Rick said. “It is a thrill for me when parents and grandparents approach me and thank me for the changes they have seen in their children.”

Test scores confirm the astonishing success among Rick’s students, who on average increase 36 percentile points during intervention and exhibit more than twice the expected growth in grade level attainment.

“The impact of Mr. Reinle’s expertise is tremendous, to the point that parents will call school and request that their children have ‘Mr. Rick,’” Taylorsville Principal Mariann Arnold said. “We are very, very impressed and excited about the transformation that is taking place this year in the regular classrooms as far as math instruction is concerned.” 

Rick’s influence has been far-reaching as he has also presented sessions for other teachers at regional and statewide conferences and he serves on the Kentucky Center for Mathematics Program Advisory Team.

About the #RoadToNKU

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

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

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