The Agnes Meyer award is presented annually to one outstanding teacher from each Washington metropolitan area school district by The Washington Post Company Educational Foundation. This year’s Montgomery County winner, fifth grade teacher Diane Kolata, has been teaching at Chevy Chase Elementary School for four years.
A National Board Certified teacher, Kolata gives students choices, which allows them to take ownership of their learning. For example, being able to select a book based on their interests motivates students to achieve at a higher level and boosts their understanding.
"This empowers students because it allows them to contribute large amounts of background knowledge to group discussions," Kolata says. "It also lets them know that I believe in them so that they believe in themselves." Kolata believes that working in groups allows children to support one another, and she creates extraordinary educational experiences that leave lasting impressions on her students.
Her hard work has paid off. There have been improvements in scores for the fifth grade MAP-R reading assessments and in the Maryland School Assessment for Reading.
Kolata will receive an award of $3,000 and will be honored, along with other areas winners, on May 12 at The Washington Post as part of the annual Agnes Meyer recognition. She also will be recognized on April 21 at the Champions for Children annual gala, sponsored by the Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education.