Students in Jen DeRoso's fifth grade classes love math.
The Hawthorne Elementary School teacher will be recognized with the 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award for the elementary school level by the Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics at a Thursday night banquet at Matthew's 1600 in Catonsville.
DeRoso, a Perry Hall resident who has eight years of teaching experience, credits her interactive approach for her students' enthusiasm. She said she sets up stations work together using SMART boards.
"I don't do worksheets," she said. "It's about focusing on student engagement and best instruction practices. [Students are] constantly moving around and learning."
Fun aside, the approach has proven successful academically as well.
"The students' state test scores have been much higher," DeRoso said. "But more importantly, they're not just learning what they need to pass tests. They're truly understanding the material."
A panel of mathematicians from the council granted DeRoso the win after a rigorous application process. After securing a nomination from an assistant principal at Hawthorne, she also had to provide two letters of recommendation, show evidence of ongoing professional development, complete an essay and submit a videotaped lesson.
"It was a nice honor," she said.