Archbishop Ryan teacher educates students, peers

Summer is here and school is out.  The sights and sounds of summer are everywhere.  Not so for award-winning Archbishop Ryan High School math teacher Sister Alice Hess, I.H.M. and 53 eighth grade Archdiocesan mathematics teachers.

During the first two weeks of summer vacation, Hess instructed the teachers in the implementation of the Common Core Standards in Mathematics for the upcoming 2011- 2012 school year.  Teachers voluntarily signed up for the course to help them meet the challenge of teaching Algebra I to eighth grade students in the fall.

The workshop was presented twice during the month of June at Ryan.  The first session was June 20-22, and the second session was June 27-29.

During the workshop, Hess focused on content: “the big ideas of Algebra I”.  She highlighted basic principles and modeled how she approaches the concepts with her own students.  In fact, two of her students, seniors William Leitner and Angelina DiTommaso, were on hand to demonstrate the way Hess conducts her class.  Her gentile but firm manner was apparent throughout the entire interaction.

“The class is fast moving and full of great ideas,” Holy Innocents eighth grade teacher Maureen Reis said.  “Sister Alice provides us with content, as well as how to get it across to our own students.”

Pam Klass from St. Elizabeth Parish School agreed: “Sister Alice gave us a lot of great strategies and tips on how to get the students to understand the algebraic process, to keep them motivated and on task.”

Hess has been chosen by USA Today as one of the top 20 educators in the nation, honored by the National Catholic Educational Association for years of Distinguished Service to Catholic Education, awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree in Humane Letters by Holy Family University, and received the National Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics.

Perhaps the student volunteers express it best.  Leitner said, “Sister Alice taught me to love math and now I want to become a math teacher.”

DiTommaso added, “Sister Alice made me believe in myself.”

-Submitted by Archbishop Ryan High School


Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal