Saturday, February 6, 2021
Congratulations to Lois Womack of Marvin Pratt Elementary School! Womack is one of five Wisconsin educators named by State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor for the 2020 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The award is considered the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government for math and science teachers.
Womack is a Milwaukee Public Schools alumna who attended Hopkins and Maple Tree Elementary schools, and her parents were both MPS educators. She started with the district in 1994 and has served at several schools and in the Office of Academics as a math teaching specialist. She has taught a 4th- and 5th-grade split class for five years and is especially passionate about math, which has always been her focus.
“My goal each day is to make the math concepts and skills explicit, to enhance students’ understanding. Building relationships with students allows me to focus on their strengths and weaknesses in mathematics to improve achievement,” she shared. “Because of the split class, I am fortunate to continue working with 4th-grade students the next year in 5th grade. Watching students develop and mature, both socially and academically, is motivational.”
Womack was nominated for the award by Dr. Angela Ford, currently the manager of advanced academics in MPS. Dr. Ford shared that Womack’s contributions to mathematics are highly regarded across the district. She also served as a mentor to Womack throughout the application process. Womack revealed, “Completing the application for this award was one of the most challenging tasks I have faced in my professional career.”
The award is based on five dimensions of outstanding teaching: mastery of content, use of effective instructional methods and strategies, effective use of assessments, reflective practice and lifelong learning, and leadership inside and outside the classroom. The application required a recorded mathematics lesson and reflection, plus an extensive written narrative for each of the five dimensions.
At the state level, coordinators convene selection committees which include prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics/science education researchers, district level personnel, and classroom teachers. A maximum of six awards are allowed per state each year.
Congratulations, Ms. Womack! You make us #MPSProud!