Helena teacher Melissa Romano selected as 2018 Montana Teacher of the Year
Divide and Shields Valley teachers are 2018 finalists
After learning she had become the 2018 Montana Teacher of the Year, Melissa Romano had to get back to work. She was preparing for an event at Four Georgians where she teaches. According to 2017 Montana Teacher of the Year Kelly Elder, it is just an example of what makes Melissa such a successful educator.
“She goes out of her way every day to contribute to her students and her colleagues to make her school a better place to teach & learn,” said Elder.
Each year, the Montana Teacher of the Year program recognizes a teacher who exemplifies the best in the teaching profession. It is the highest honor a Montana teacher can receive. The program is sponsored and administered by the Montana Professional Teaching Foundation, based in Helena.
Melissa Romano and other teachers nominated for Montana Teacher of the Year go through an exhaustive application process. Three finalists were chosen for interviews, which took place on Sept. 23rd. This year’s selection committee included representatives from school organizations, fellow educators, parents, and students.
As the 2018 Montana Teacher of the Year, Melissa Romano will serve as an ambassador for public education, represent Montana in the National Teacher of the Year program, and attend several national events along with the other state teachers of the year.
Melissa Romano began teaching in 2004 after ten years working as a nanny, exploring her passion and love for children. Watching a child’s face light up as they play and discover the joy of learning something new inspired her to become a teacher, where she strives to create those experiences every day for her students.
This past year Melissa became one of 130 select teachers nationwide to share lessons on BetterLesson, a website creating a year’s worth of classroom-ready math lessons. Additionally, she worked as a BetterLesson Science Master Teacher and is currently working as an instructional coach delivering personalized professional development to teachers nationwide.
Global Connection: Romano shares, “Ensuring that my students are connected to the world around them and able to display empathy and compassion to those in their world is extremely important. Students who experience other cultures and develop skills in a connected world are better prepared to be productive, kind, and world changers. I aim to bring the world to my students by extending student learning through field trips and hands on experiences, using technology as a tool to compare our community and state to other parts of the world, and by emphasizing the act of giving to others”.
Parent, Maureen Boyle, who wrote in support of Romano’s application, shares, “She is a teacher who deeply cares about her students and works to build an environment of great respect both in and out of the classroom. She brought out a fierce love for math and inspired my daughter to continue to push herself. My son loved her instruction of his favorite subjects of science and writing. I am grateful that both of my children had the opportunity to work under Mrs. Romano’s tutelage”.
Finalists: This year’s other two Teacher of the Year finalists are Judith Boyle, an elementary teacher at Divide School in Divide; and Judy Vincent, a first-grade teacher at Shields Valley Elementary School in Wilsall.
Teacher of the Year Celebration: Melissa Romano, Judith Boyle, and Judy Vincent will be honored at a celebration on October 19 in Missoula. The Montana Professional Teaching Foundation sponsors the celebration in conjunction with the annual MEA-MFT Educators’ Conference.
The Montana Professional Teaching Foundation, based in Helena, works to enhance the teaching profession and promote quality education in Montana. The Montana Teacher of the Year program is one of several projects sponsored by the foundation. Others include:
* Karen Cox Memorial Grants to help teachers who pay for classroom resources out of their own pockets
* National Board Certification & Candidate Support
* Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching
* Jim McGarvey Scholarships
A positive classroom environment maximizes the space provided; that includes active, ergonomic seating. Every inch of a classroom should serve a purpose to the students and teachers. Flexible seating includes a wide-variety of seating styles – carpet squares, Hokki stools, standing desks, bean bags, and more. This best practice can augment self-directed learning and collaboration skills. Flexible seating promotes student choice therefore, influencing the efficacy of pedagogical approaches and student learning. Seat location and preference contribute to the physical design and attitude of each learner. Flexible seating acknowledges a student’s need to move. Movement is one way to incorporate creativity and stimulate a learner’s academic growth. Educators use this movement to create a rich, dynamic classroom environment. Flexible seating involves a transformation of teaching and student autonomy. (Severena Samuelson-3rd Grade)
pictures from Severena Samuleson and Jane Shawn (First Grade)
Congratulations, team, we couldn’t be more proud of you!!
Below you can read the article that is in the IR.
A team of four Capital High School math students is one of the top high school math teams in the world.
After placing in the top two teams in the country, the team was judged in the International Mathematical Modeling Challenge, where they placed second.
The four students were given five days to create algorithms to pick the best place for a hypothetical international meeting. The selected meeting place was supposed to allow participants to come from different countries and suffer the least amount of jet lag and productivity loss.
After considering distance, travel time, cost and the number of time zones attendees had to cross, the team picked a community in Russia for a primary meeting and Beirut or Cairo for the second.
Their math teacher, Dennis Peterson, said the team was one of two schools competing from the United States. The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics took first place, while Capital tied for second with teams from North Korea, Argentina and Germany.
There were 27 countries or regions invited to participate in the 2017 challenge and after the national selection round, 49 teams competed in the international round of judging.
“I’m just really proud of these kids,” Peterson said. “They have to be able to write. They know how to do computer code. They can do math.”
Team member Jack Murphy previously told the Independent Record he thought the team did well due to a program that automated the process. When they tried it in a real world problem, such as where to host the G20 summit, the actual meeting in Germany was one of their top results, he said.
“They work really well together and they’re very creative,” Peterson said. “They each have their strengths.”
Now, after placing in an international competition, three of the students are going to college. Murphy is going to Williams College, Caleb Noble to MIT and Willie Gross to the University of St. Thomas. The remaining teammate, Jaskrit Singh, will be the only returning member on the team next year.
Peterson said Singh will be joined by three new students from the Math Club on the team next year.
We are pleased to announce that Broadwater Elementary School and Capital High School have received an “MBI Exemplar School” award! Montana Behavioral Initiative issued both of these schools with a Platinum status! We are very proud of Broadwater and CHS! Congratulations!
You can read the entire recognition letters by clicking on the link below.
Jefferson students were treated to a performance by the Utah Valley University Cultural Envoy Leadership Program! The group is touring Montana with the goal and objective in sharing cultural and expressive arts is based on the following tenets.
2.) Validating students’ cultures through performance and helping them feel comfortable in creating, viewing, interpreting, and investigating their cultural performances as a complementary tool to formal education
3.) Through expressive arts students’ develop skills, knowledge, and understanding as creative problem solvers, collaborators, critical thinkers, and learn to be open-minded to new ideas and to value multiple perspectives.
The student council at Jefferson Elementary presented an art scholarship to the Holter Museum of Art on Tuesday in memory of Kevin FauntLeRoy, the son of a Jefferson para-educator.
Each year the school holds a bake sale and donates the proceeds to a different cause. This year they raised $405 to provide an art scholarship and buy games and puzzles for nursing homes in Helena. The scholarship will help a student who couldn’t otherwise afford it attend summer classes at the Holter.
All of the student council members were required to bring something for the bake sale, which they held this St. Patrick’s Day. Their student council coordinator, Mary Larsen, said students outside of the council volunteered to help.
“Each year we do a bake sale,” Willa Bishop, a fifth-grader, said. “We should have a cause for it.”
During their presentation, the students said they chose a memorial art scholarship because they care about their para-educator, Mary FauntLeRoy. Her son, Kevin, was 28 when he died last Christmas Eve due to a carbon monoxide leak.
The team of math wiz kids at Capital High School was a bit stunned to learn last week that they are one of the top two teams in the nation in the High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling (HiMCM).
They are one of two U.S. teams competing in the International Mathematical Modeling Challenge of 27 teams.
To read more, visit the IR’s website.
Photo credit to the Helena IR.