Chesterfield educator named Virginia Presidential Award for Excellence finalist

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Tracey Curcio, a math specialist at Elizabeth Scott Elementary, has been named one of Virginia’s four finalists for the 2020 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Considered one of the nation’s highest honors for math and science teachers, the award recognizes educators who engage and motivate students to improve their learning through innovative, high-quality instruction.

Curcio is known for transforming the school’s math instruction from memorizing algorithms into a student-centered classroom where students work through problems using methods and strategies that emphasize making sense of numbers and place value. Elizabeth Scott Elementary is a Title I school and is one of Chesterfield’s top performing schools on the mathematics SOL assessments year after year. 

“To see the positive effort, energy and mathematical thinking that our students exhibit daily is nothing short of amazing,” Principal Julie Buntich said. “Mrs. Curcio’s leadership and instructional expertise has most certainly helped lead the way.”

Not only does Curcio meet weekly with grade-level teams to help with planning and making adjustments to lessons based on most current assessment data, she also co-leads grade-level team meetings after quarterly benchmark data becomes available so teams have a healthy understanding of next steps and expectations. With this data, classes are restructured and small fluid groups are formed, so each child receives the level of math instruction they need.

On any given day, you will find her planning with teachers, modeling lessons, co-teaching classes, and assisting with small group remediation in order to best support the hundreds of students she serves. The academic excellence and success of Elizabeth Scott Elementary’s students is in large part due to Curcio’s student-centered individualized instruction. 

About the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

The National Science Foundation administers the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching program on behalf of the White House. The award alternates annually between teachers in grades K-6 and teachers in grades 7-12.

Later this year, a national review committee will review the applications of the finalists from each state, U.S. territory and state-level education system. The White House will announce the winners of the 2020 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2021.

Awardees each receive a $10,000 unrestricted award from the National Science Foundation, a presidential certificate and a trip to the nation’s capital for a series of recognition events and professional development activities.