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Elementary School Teacher Wins 1998 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

May 13, 1999
A teacher at William Tyler Page Elementary School has won a 1998 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the nation's most prestigious honor for a K-12 science or math teacher.

Brenda Hammond, second grade teacher and mathematics liaison, was one of only four Maryland teachers to receive the national award after undergoing a rigorous review process. Hammond won for her excellence in teaching elementary math.

A national panel of experts in education selected the 208 award winners for their excellent teaching, educational philosophy and the application of that philosophy in the classroom, an ability to engage students in hands on science inquiry or math inquiry activities, an experimental and innovative attitude in their approach to teaching, and professional involvement and leadership. The four winners in each state and extrastate jurisdiction represented the four categories of elementary and secondary math and science.

In total, nearly 650 state finalists were considered for the national awards. Mary Beth Johnson, a science teacher at Greencastle Elementary School, was a state finalist for the 1998 national elementary science award. Since 1989, the school system has had seven winners and 10 finalists for the award.

Hammond has been a classroom teacher for 28 of her 33 years with MCPS. As the mathematics liaison for Page, Hammond conducts in-service training sessions on instructional strategies and assessments for all the grade-level teachers at the school and serves as a resource for them. She also has coordinated family math classes and activities and created instructional materials for teachers.

Projects that Hammond has initiated to involve parents in their children's education include a weekly newsletter describing what students have done that week and outlining specific strategies parents can use to help their children with math. She sends games home for parents to play with their children and a monthly "Mathemagical Packet" for students who would like an extra challenge.

Her years in MCPS also show a dedication to helping other teachers. From 1990 to 1997, she trained instructors for the Family Math program. She also trained elementary teachers in the Mathematics Content Connections project. In Project IMPACT, she followed students from Takoma Park Elementary School through Piney Branch Elementary School, providing training and assistance on math teaching strategies to teachers at those schools and being a resource for students as well.

Her participation in Project IMPACT exposed her to the latest thinking and strategies in the most effective ways to teach math to young children.

Well versed in these strategies, Hammond is a sought-after expert. She has also published several articles, including one for the newsletter of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics in which she described an activity she created to help principals introduce the new math standards to teachers.

In addition to serving on various committees at Page, she was on a panel to review and analyze State Curriculum Frameworks for Mathematics and Science for the Council of Chief State School Officers. She also served on the Chapter One Task Force on The Reauthorization of Chapter One for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).

The Presidential Awards program is administered by the National Science Foundation with assistance from the National Science Teachers Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

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