St. Mary Catholic Secondary School Teacher Judith Hanta was recognized on June 10 by the René Descartes Foundation for the Advancement of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo for her contribution to mathematics education.
Founded in 1963, the Society of Descartes Medallists pays annual tribute to "mathematics and/or computer science teachers of Ontario who are identified as being worthy of special recognition."
As the Mathematics Department Head at St. Mary, Hanta continuously seeks innovative ways to promote mathematical literacy among colleagues and students.
"Mrs. Hanta's leadership has been instrumental at the school, within the system and at the provincial level," said St. Mary Principal Michael Gravina and Bishop Ryan Principal Emidio Piccioni.
As a member of the Ministry's CLIPS (Critical Learning and Instructional Path Supports) Working Task Force, she's helped develop online learning objectives for students who struggle with mathematics.
In 2004, Hanta was the Special Assignment Teacher for Mathematical Literacy and acted as the lead for the implementation of changes in the mathematics curriculum, which included spearheading the Leading Math Success pillar of the Student Success initiative.
"She's worked with teachers from grade 7 –12, developing numerous professional learning opportunities via workshop and school-based planning, with a focus on the use of existing technologies."
Her "Lunch 'n Learn" training sessions involve a 60-minute workshop where she focuses on an area of interest as suggested by teachers, like using algebra tiles.
She's also initiated the "Speak up Grant" which encourages females to join the Robotics Team and explore the world of coding.
"Her experience in teaching both Mathematics and Computer Studies has allowed her to make use of her strong technology skills, through her use of cutting edge strategies to support student learning and achievement," commended Principals Michael Gravina and Emidio Piccioni.
Hanta has also created a grade 9 Gap Closing Learning Strategies Course which focuses on strengthening foundational mathematical concepts and learning strategies to help students become stronger students.
"The course has not only supported our students in reducing failure rates but has also allowed a higher percentage of students to be successful with EQAO assessment."
"Her willingness to help every student is very evident and witnessed on a daily basis in the way she conducts herself with her students. She is a very outstanding, caring, and committed Catholic teacher," praised both principals.