Arlene Barte-Lowe, a sixth grade English and reading teacher at Takoma Park Middle School, has been selected to receive the MCPS Teacher of the Year award. Barte-Lowe will represent Montgomery County in the competition for the 2002 Maryland Teacher of the Year.
Barte-Lowe found out about this honor during a surprise visit to her classroom and a presentation of flowers from Superintendent Jerry D. Weast on May 13.
Barte-Lowe and other local teachers of the year from across the state will be honored at a breakfast and meeting of the State Board of Education and at a lunch sponsored by the Maryland Business Roundtable Foundation. The teachers also become part of a state network of exemplary educators working with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) on policy and program development, and will participate in the Maryland Teacher Forum.
All local teachers of the year will be candidates for the Maryland Teacher of the Year, who will be announced at an awards dinner at Martin’s West in September. Finalists for the state award will be named in August.
Barte-Lowe began her working career as a graphic artist when she graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1975. She felt, however, that her true vocation lay elsewhere. When her children began attending school, she began volunteering in the classroom. She completed a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education at Towson State University in 1992 and began teaching in Prince George’s County Public Schools. She joined MCPS as a middle school English and reading teacher in 1999.
Her colleagues have noted her commitment to expanding and refining her teaching skills and the creativity in her design of classroom activities, many using computers and other media. She blends her use of technology with a firm commitment to the arts and humanities, that allow the student “to ponder, to dream, and to discover.”
Among her notable accomplishments is an after-school Shakespeare Club for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students. In its three-year history, the club has grown from eight to 23 members who read, discuss, and perform Shakespeare’s works. The group has attended workshops led by a director of the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., and recently performed at the Secondary School Shakespeare Festival sponsored by the Folger Shakespeare Library.
Barte-Lowe also works with interns and student teachers. Takoma Park Middle School Principal Linda Perie says that Barte-Lowe sets the same high standards for her student teachers as she does for the sixth grade students in her classroom. “Not only is Arlene committed to the success of her students,” says Perie, “she also is committed to the next generation of teachers.”