Tabitha Vu, a chemistry teacher at Dutchtown High School, is one of five state finalists for the 2017 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
The award is given annually to outstanding teachers in science and mathematics from around the country, a news release said. A panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators chooses winners from among the state finalists. The award alternates each year between teachers for kindergarten through sixth grade and seventh through 12th grade. This year focuses on those teaching grades seven through 12.
Vu’s selection marks the second time in the past three years a teacher from Ascension Parish and Dutchtown High has been chosen as a state finalist.
Vu was chosen as a state finalist for her Module System, which she created in the fall of 2015 “for students who not only want to survive but also thrive in chemistry,” she said. “It creates a comfortable atmosphere for the student who wants to move at their own pace.”
Her chemistry students take daily assessments, or pretests, and are grouped in squads based on the results. Squad members help one another reflect on what they missed and receive a chance to retake the pretest. Vu uses Google Classroom to post notes, practice questions and detailed solutions to the practice questions for each level, a news release said.
Under the Module System, Vu set a class index goal of 120.1 for the first nine weeks of school. Initial results show students exceeded the goal with an index of 123.3.
The chemistry department at Dutchtown High has adopted the system, and teachers from schools such as University High School and East Ascension High School have been enlisted to contribute to a lesson database so the system can expand.
“Ascension is incredibly proud of Mrs. Vu. She is both an accomplished teacher and a product of our school system. Her innovative teaching method is getting much-deserved recognition," Ascension public schools Superintendent David Alexander said.