LHS Teacher Wins Prestigious Math Award

Lakewood High School math teacher Peter Petto has been selected as the winner of the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation’s George B. Champman, Jr. Teacher Award for Excellence in Mathematics Education. It is one of the highest awards the foundation bestows on an educator.

As part of the award, Petto will receive a grant of $7,500 to implement a project of his choosing. He will be using the money to develop an Essential Questions Activities project, primarily for use in math classrooms, but also useful in science and other classrooms at Lakewood High School.

An Essential Question Activity is a team project event in which groups of students collaborate and compete to research and solve important questions about the world we live in. These are questions that they have refined and researched. The focus of their activity is the construction of mathematical models that they will both defend and critique.

Examples of modeling problems that might be developed include:

    • ​Living on you own: should you rent or buy a place to live?
    • What is the best arrangement for a classroom?
    • Is there a better voting scheme than the one we use now?

Petto plans to devote his grant money to receiving training in modeling, problem-posing, and techniques for encouraging these discussions. He will share what he learns with other teachers during professional development days, as well as with colleagues in teacher-based teams and during departmental meetings. Also, funds will be used for the acquisition of tools to aid problem visualization (various manipulatives). And finally, funds will allow the acquisition of reference books and project materials that will enable all interested teachers to adjust, customize, and augment the activities that we will construct and pilot.

Said Petto of receiving this honor: “I felt very honored when Lakewood nominated me for the Chapman Teacher Award and completely delighted to learn I had received it. I feel very lucky to be teaching at Lakewood High School because of the collaboration between the many teachers, administrators, and staff who love helping students learn and grow.”

Superintendent Jeff Patterson said of Petto in his nomination letter to the Jennings Foundation: “Peter brings a kindness, energy, enthusiasm and professionalism to his work that I have not seen replicated…he is the type of teacher every principal and superintendent is thrilled to have as a member of their district team.”

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Volume 13, Issue 12, Posted 2:48 PM, 06.20.2017