Souhegan teacher honored for science education

AMHERST – Jenny Deenik, of Hollis, a teacher at Souhe­gan High School, was recently honored in Washington, D.C., as a recipient of the Presi­dential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. These awards are the highest honor bestowed by the government on K-12 math­ematics and science teachers.

Deenik received a three-day trip to Washington, during which she had the opportu­nity to reflect on her role as a teacher, participate in con­versations about the chang­ing landscape of science education and connect with colleagues from across the country.

As a science teacher in New Hampshire, Deenik said, she has "the luxury my colleagues from around the country lack. I do not have the pressure and constraint of high-stakes test­ing."

While New Hampshire stu­dents do take a variety of stan­dardized tests for a variety of purposes – from SATs to Smart­er Balanced to the MAP test – the assessment landscape in New Hampshire, unlike many other states, is changing to reflect a more balanced ap­proach to accountability.

A highlight of the trip was a visit to the White House, where Deenik was congratulated on her award by President Barack Obama. Other high­lights included professional development sessions and a day at the National Science Foundation to learn more about the agency’s science and engineering research and education endeavors.

Awardees heard from No­bel Laureate William Phil­lips from the University of Maryland; OSTP’s chief data scientist, Dhanurjay Patil; and teacher workforce expert Richard Ingersoll.