Thomson native and 2002 Briarwood Academy graduate Laine Bradshaw was recently named winner of the UGA College of Education's Joseph R. Hooten, Jr. Award for Excellence in Mathematics. The award is presented annually to the top senior in the college's Mathematics Education Program. The ceremony took place on April 26 on the university's campus.
Speaking at the award presentation was Miss Bradshaw's mentor teacher from her student teaching semester, Janet Tomlinson. Ms. Tomlinson is the math department head at North Oconee High School and, coincidentally, the 1988 Hooten Award Winner. During their semester together, Miss Bradshaw and Ms. Tomlinson collaborated to help develop an educational training video for principals in high schools around the state. In the video, which was produced by Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Department of Education, the award-winning educators demonstrate the soon-to-be implemented Georgia Performance Standards curriculum. The new curriculum is meant to engage students by presenting them with tasks that can lead them to understand mathematical ideas by investigating and discovering mathematical concepts instead of simply being asked to commit them to memory. The Georgia Performance Standards began implementation with sixth graders in the fall of 2005 and will continue to be rolled out as this class progresses through high school.
Although these students, along with the new curriculum, will not reach high school until the fall of 2008, according to Miss Bradshaw, the duo was excited to get a head start "because it is more exciting to teach with the philosophy behind GPS. You motivate students to enjoy the challenge of the math because the tasks contain realistic scenarios that are relevant and engaging. You are able to see how this motivation leads students to build a somewhat personal understanding of the mathematics."
After her student teaching semester, Miss Bradshaw graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors from UGA with both a bachelor's and a master's degree in math education. She was able to simultaneously complete the two degrees by participating in UGA's Honors Program. Miss Bradshaw attended the University of Georgia on a Watson-Brown Foundation scholarship, as well as the Governor's scholarship.
Both Ms. Tomlinson and Miss Bradshaw have continued to work closely with the new curriculum. Ms. Tomlinson has accepted a position as a teacher on special assignment for the state, and throughout the summer, Miss Bradshaw has been interning with the Georgia Department of Education. Miss Bradshaw works under Mathematics Program Manager Claire Pierce, who is responsible for the development and implementation of the new standards.
"Laine has been more than an intern," Ms. Pierce said. "Her familiarity with the standards and her knowledge of mathematics allowed her to function as an integral part of our team. She will be an outstanding leader in mathematics education. We need many more young people like her, willing to major in math and science."
Throughout the summer Miss Bradshaw participated in high school training sessions for Math 1, task authoring, implementation toolkit development, and board meeting report preparation.
Miss Bradshaw is returning to the University of Georgia this fall to begin a Ph.D. program of Research, Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics within the Educational Psychology Department.
For more information on the new Georgia Performance Standards in mathematics, visit www.georgiastandards.org, where you will find the Standards, Frameworks (which include tasks and commentary), videos of training sessions previously held, and the GPS in action in math classrooms across the state.