La Jolla High teacher selected for math fellowship


La Jolla High School mathematics department chair and teacher Trang Vu has been selected as a 2011 Math for America San Diego Noyce Master Teaching Fellow, according to Barbara Edwards, executive director of Math for America San Diego (MfA SD).

The nonprofit is dedicated to improving mathematics education in San Diego County public secondary schools. Vu is one of seven fellows entering the new program this year.

According to a press release, Trang was honored “because of her excellent teaching abilities and dedication to improving mathematics understanding and achievement in her students,” Edwards said.

Vu been teaching in San Diego secondary schools for more than 20 years. Before coming to La Jolla High in 2000, she taught middle and high school mathematics at Gompers Secondary School and served as a master teacher for teacher candidates from various teacher education programs.

She has also taught at Mesa College and was program coordinator for the Before Calculus Program for UCSD. Vu graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s in applied mathematics and a master’s in Teaching and Learning: Curriculum Design from UCSD.

“I have a lot of impact on how my students view and study mathematics,” Vu said. “Teachers have the responsibility to ensure students gain math knowledge, but also to acquire the study skills and habits of mind that are necessary to think abstractly and solve problems effectively. As chair of the La Jolla High School mathematics department, I look forward to developing and sharing new perspectives and teaching strategies with my colleagues.”

The five-year MfA SD Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship is supported through a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The program the offers comprehensive leadership training and professional development to experienced middle and high school mathematics teachers who currently teach in high-need school districts.

Fellows receive an annual $10,000 stipend and rigorous professional development, including participation in a three-week summer institute and yearlong training sessions. Five additional Master Teaching Fellows will be selected for the 2012 program.

Under the direction of Guershon Harel, professor of mathematics UCSD and principal investigator of the NSF grant, fellows review existing teaching approaches and curricula, and explore alternative, research-based teaching practices, including DNR (Duality, Necessity and Repeated Reasoning), a teaching methodology developed by Harel.

The DNR approach works by simultaneously concentrating on a teacher’s knowledge of mathematics, of how students learn and on specific teaching methods.

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