Comments and Recommendations

Principal from West Seattle High School

Ms. Huong Nguyen is a master teacher who improves academic achievement with students by creating relevant activities with clear objectives and standards aligned. Ms. Nguyen is relentless in her encouragement and reinforcement to student effort and achievement. Students believe in themselves in her classes, because she believes in them. Ms. Nguyen focused this year in developing activities with real life applications and real world problems. Ms. Huong Nguyen uses Washington State standards as a corner stone to develop her rigorous and motivating math curriculum that challenges her students daily. She establishes regular routines for students to monitor their own learning and achievement through self and peer assessments. Complex Instruction (CI) model is used in her classroom to promote equitable participation in a heterogeneous learning environment. Ms. Nguyen encourages her students to develop hypothesis, algorithm, and patterns with justification when solving complex math problems. She uses MAP test results to inform instruction and supplement or modify the math curriculum to help her students meet standards. In conclusion, Ms Huong Nguyen continues to help her students to become independent and successful math problem solvers and thinkers. Her students enter class not believing they can like math. They leave her class with a newly discovered joy for the subject.

Ms. Nguyen has established a bell-to-bell teaching and learning environment in her classrooms, with clearly written purpose statements, warm-up activities, and routines/systems in place for students to always know what they need to be doing. She has arranged her classroom to encourage student dialogue and inquiry in small groups, and she checks-in with students consistently, always deepening their thinking by asking more questions, rather than providing the answers. When students really get stuck on a process, she will re-teach steps of a problem-solving process differently, and ask students clarifying questions to informally assess their understanding.

Huong believes in the application of knowledge as a means to an end for reaching mastery in mathematics. Consequently, she develops unique projects that challenge students to apply their understanding, make new meaning, and then present their findings. In addition, Huong will make the student work public by promoting their work in public spaces on the walls in the halls of the school.

Ms. Nguyen provides visual and verbal cues, synonyms, and terms to purposefully reinforce mathematical content vocabulary in the daily use of activities. Ms. Nguyen teaches her students how to work in groups, to listen to one another, and to process ideas to formulate solutions as a team. She uses thoughtful questioning strategies as a means to scaffold the level of support for students.

Huong is always available for her students. She is relentless in her support, and consistently works with students after-school in making them better mathematicians and more confident in their abilities. Lastly, Huong is a team player within her department and a deep thinker, who is always looking for ways to align new curriculum or new assessments to new ways of thinking and doing math.

Ms. Huong Nguyen's future plan is to collaborate with the science department to develop cross-curriculum projects. She hopes to work with the math department to explore the idea of developing and honor math program in order to meet the needs of all students. Last of all, Ms. Nguyen plans to work with other high school math teachers to develop common assessments for the Algebra 1, Geometry, and Advanced Algebra math courses.

B. B.