Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and the Maryland Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education have announced that four Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) teachers will receive the Teacher Accomplishment in Gifted and Talented Education Award for their hard work and achievements in gifted education. The four teachers – Jennifer Fenton, Amanda Jones, Joni Rooney, and Amy Tascione-Hoffman – will be honored during a virtual awards ceremony on February 28th.

The staff of the CCPS Office of Gifted Education nominated the teachers. Fenton, Rooney, and Tascione-Hoffman are learning resource teachers (LRTs) who work at Berry Elementary School, Dr. James Craik Elementary School, and Gale-Bailey Elementary School, respectively. LRTs are knowledgeable in gifted education, differentiated instruction, cognitive, social, and emotional characteristics, and the needs of gifted learners. They also serve as the school’s testing coordinator.

Jones, a sixth-grade language arts teacher at Mattawoman Middle School, was nominated by the school’s LRT, Douglas Cunningham. The four CCPS teachers work directly with gifted and talented students while addressing the needs of these students beyond the required expectations. They also pursue ongoing professional learning opportunities and assist peers with gifted and talented education programs.

Fenton, who has been teaching for 14 years, all with CCPS, said that “the best part of working with our elementary students who receive gifted services is getting them to challenge their thinking.” She added that seeing their passion when defending their ideas and helping open their minds to new ideas makes working with these students so much fun.

Rooney, who has been teaching for 26 years with CCPS, enjoys creating opportunities for students to be challenged and seeing them work through those challenges, adding that “seeing light bulbs go off when connections are made” is also a rewarding experience.

Tascione-Hoffman has taught for the past 17 years, starting as a third and fourth-grade teacher, then as an IRT for the past four years. She enjoys adding challenges to her students’ daily instruction and helping them learn to break down complex problems into manageable steps. She also likes seeing the growth students experience during their years in elementary school and forming relationships with them throughout multiple grade levels.

Jones, who has taught for eight years, appreciates that her students are dynamic and always ready for a new challenge. She allows her students to take ownership of their learning and encourages them to share their thoughts while respecting others who might disagree with them. “I include many student-led discussions, which gives students the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas with their peers,” she said. “Moreover, it gives them a chance to hear diverse perspectives from their classmates.”

The award recognizes the teachers’ dedication to supporting gifted and talented students and making a difference in their lives. It also acknowledges its efforts to ensure that gifted students receive a quality education tailored to their unique needs.

CCPS Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Maria Navarro, said, “We are extremely proud of our teachers and the recognition they have received from the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education. These awards demonstrate our teachers’ commitment to providing the highest quality of education to our students and their dedication to the profession.”

The virtual ceremony will take place on February 28th, and the awardees will receive a Teacher Accomplishment in Gifted and Talented Education Award certificate. Congratulations to Jennifer Fenton, Amanda Jones, Joni Rooney, and Amy Tascione-Hoffman on this well-deserved honor.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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