Bilingual Books and TED Talks: Madison Educators Receive ‘Innovation in Teaching’ Awards | Madison Eagle News

MADISON- The Board of Education recognized four Madison Public School teachers for exceeding their students’ expectations during the past school year.

The winners attended and convened a board meeting on Tuesday, June 21 for the presentation of the third annual Teaching Innovation Awards, a recognition first established in 2020 to celebrate the creative efforts of educators at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, school staff members nominate their colleagues for the awards.

This year’s Teaching Innovation Award winners are Jessica Blier, English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Madison High School, Maria Spangler, science teacher at Madison Junior School, and Katherine Spelker, teacher in special education, and Anne-Marie Mastaglio, a first-grade teacher at Central Avenue. School.

Daniel Ross, Assistant Superintendent of Program, Instruction and Personnel, introduced three of the four winners.

Blier, he said, is a “very effective teacher” who was able to do even more this year because she no longer had to split her duties between high school and middle school after the district hired a teacher. additional English as a second language.

Blier launched several initiatives during the 2022-23 school year, he said, including a bilingual book project in which students were asked to write personal stories in English and their respective native languages.

“These are published books that now live in this Madison High School library,” Ross said. “They have been much anticipated and shared by staff members who are truly blessed to know their students in a different way by reading the personal accounts, personal stories of these students, and also seeing their work written in their language. kindergarten. as translated into English.”

In addition to other initiatives, outreach efforts and support for ESL students in core grades, Ross said Blier worked with math teacher Marcia Prill to develop a transitional math curriculum. that made a significant difference for students transitioning to high school.

Ross said the number of nominations Blier received for the Innovating in Teaching Award “really shows the incredible impact she had in high school.”

“Ms. Blier’s dedication to these students, to their achievement, to their feeling of being welcome within the school, to the community that can be built, is truly unparalleled,” he said.

Spelker and Mastaglio have been celebrated, among other things, for their innovative teaching of reading skills in the classroom they co-teach at Central Avenue School.

Ross said the two “work wonderfully magically together” in the classroom.

“They have truly been incredible leaders in the district, not just at Central Avenue School, in promoting the science of reading; in working with staff members to understand the importance of a structured reading program at the elementary level; for providing resources; for providing their classroom as a learning laboratory for their colleagues;” Ross said “and for providing professional development through the Madison Teacher Academy and also at extracurricular meetings.”

Board of Education member Grace Kim testified the two had turned her youngest son into a skilled reader this year after he entered first grade with limited success in the region.

Ross said Mastaglio and Spelker received numerous nominations from colleagues and administrators.

“Their work has resonated really, really well throughout the elementary school system and with many middle school and high school teachers who have seen their work,” he said.

Madison Junior School principal Brooke Phillips spoke about Spangler, the seventh-grade science teacher, and the mark she left on elementary school.

Spangler, she said, created a TED Talks cycle course in which students use the Influencer Speaker Series curriculum and programming, honing their public speaking skills and knowledge in the areas that interest them.

“Ms. Spangler took the time to become an official TED Talks trainer and coach, so she was truly like a sage to our students, helping them choose topics they were passionate about and teaching them how to talk,” Phillips said. “She gave them the keys to their own learning.

“They explored topics of their choosing, posed questions, and crafted solutions. At the same time, this cycle gave our students a chance to not only pursue passions, but practice that much-needed skill of public speaking. and critical presentation.

Phillips said the school is grateful to Spangler for his efforts and looks forward to the program’s growth. She said Spangler is “truly an innovative and creative educator” who deserves praise not just for the TED Talks class, but for her science lessons, her relationships with students and families, and her support and collaboration with her colleagues. .

Deputy Superintendent Ross thanked everyone who submitted nominations this year, as well as all Madison Public Schools staff in general.

“These are just a few of the amazing examples of what is happening in the district and we thank the board for recognizing the staff in this regard,” he said.

About Stuart M. McFarland

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