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Indian Creek teachers recognized for leadership

RECOGNIZED — Indian Creek Middle School sixth-grade math teachers Angie Penner, left, and Mary Jo DiPietro and Superintendent T.C. Chappelear were part of a virtual award presentation with Diana Rogers, coordinator for the High Schools That Work Northeast Ohio Region during the May 21 school board session. Penner and DiPietro received the 2020 Making Middle Grades Work Middle School Leadership Award for helping students improve upon their learning. -- Contributed

MINGO JUNCTION — Indian Creek Middle School teachers Mary Jo DiPietro and Angie Penner have been recognized for their leadership when it comes to helping students succeed.

DiPietro and Penner were honored during the May 21 Indian Creek Board of Education meeting for earning the 2020 Making Middle Grades Work Middle School Leadership Award: You’ve Achieved Something Great! The sixth-grade math teachers were chosen through the High Schools That Work Northeast Ohio Region, a program of the Ohio Department of Education, and HSTW Ohio Network, a nonprofit organization.

Diana Rogers, regional coordinator for HSTW NE Ohio Region, made a virtual presentation during the school board session and praised the women’s leadership skills.

“It’s my pleasure to recognize Mary Jo DiPietro and Angie Penner for their leadership,” Rogers said.

“We want to build leadership to build student capacity for learning. I’m glad you were not only nominated but selected. You exemplify the type of leadership we need right now.”

Winners were nominated by district and school leaders based on their accomplishments in implementing the Making Middle Grades Work school improvement design. HSTW NE Ohio Region, a program of the Ohio Department of Education, and HSTW Ohio Network, a nonprofit organization, selected winners based upon their leadership in creating HSTW/MMGW high performing school improvement cultures and increasing student achievement.

Rogers also invited DiPietro and Penner to join her and present at the National HSTW Conference in Nashville, Tenn., next July.

ICMS Principal Holly Minch-Hick noted how the duo had an excellent model of daily teacher-based team, or TBT, collaboration and use common assessments to help students hone their learning capabilities.

“They assumed responsibility for all students. They do a quick pre-assessment on Friday after their weekly summative assessment. On Monday, they have the students grouped based on how they did on the pre-assessment. They switch the higher and lower group every week to avoid labeling,” she added.

“They do common formative assessments and lessons throughout the week (and) the model allows kids to move fluidly between the two teachers if something changes.”

Minch-Hick noted the teachers also work in tandem with the intervention specialist and compliment each other greatly. Penner and DiPietro work with the school intervention specialist while Penner serves on the building leadership team and DiPietro teaches gifted students during enrichment time. Minch-Hick said their skills helped sixth-grade students make a greater than 20-point gain from the previous year’s state assessment.

Indian Creek Superintendent T.C. Chappelear praised the teachers for their work and distinction and the recipients were equally touched by the honor.

“I’m very proud of this award,” said DiPietro.

“I’m humble and proud,” added Penner. “We didn’t know we were gong to receive this and (Minch-Hick) felt so highly to nominate us.”

The virtual presentation was made in light of the coronavirus pandemic and recipients earned crystal awards for their achievements. Other regional award winners represented Indian Valley Local Schools, Mahoning County Career and Technical Center, Columbiana County Career and Technical Center and Loudonville-Perrysville Exempted Village Schools.

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