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District Teacher of the Year

Each year, teachers from across Rhode Island represent their individual LEAs as District Teachers of the Year.

Each District Teacher of the Year (DTOY) has the opportunity to take part in WaterFire: A Salute to Rhode Island Educators, to participate in leadership professional development, to collaborate with DTOYs from across the state, and to apply to represent all Rhode Island educators as the 2016 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year. 


Deadline Thursday, May 31, 2018

2018-19 District Teacher of the Year Profile Sheet [PDF, 245 KB]

If you have any questions regarding the District Teacher of the Year program, please contact Mary Keenan, at mary.keenan@ride.ri.gov or 401-222-8497.

History of the Award

The Teacher of the Year Award Program was initiated in 1952 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to bring recognition to the importance of teachers as nurturers of the "American Dream." His intention to honor all teachers by the selection of a representative teacher from each state would find completion in the yearly choice of a National Teacher of the Year. Through an organized and varied selection process involving classroom teachers, school administrators, state officials, students, parents, and business representatives, each state and U. S. Protectorate nominates its own Teacher of the Year.

District Teachers of the Year Blog

Stay tuned for regular posts from our District Teachers of the Year.

Posted by: Kamlyn Keith on 5/9/2016 | [PRC_COMMENTCOUNT] Comments

Leveraging Technology to Personalize Instruction and Improve Assessments

Wayne Lima, 2016 Bristol-Warren Teacher of the Year
STEM Department Chair
Mt. Hope High School

After 20 years of teaching with little to no technology at my disposal, my school agreed to an iPad Pilot Program, so I now find myself immersed in the wonderful world of educational technology. If you have been around for a while and you are somewhat fearful of integrating technology in your classroom, please take this as my encouragement to take the plunge; it’s worth it.

In order to prepare myself for this year, I spent much of my summer reading varies books related to integrating technology. I freely admit that I was nervous about this new venture, but I came to the realization that it was the best thing for my students. A focus of mine was to improve student engagement, and I feel technology has absolutely helped me to accomplish this goal. I do not consider myself an expert by any means, but I would like to suggest a few apps that you can quickly add to your classes that are designed to help guide your instruction and improve student assessment scores.

How do I integrate technology to guide instruction? I have two “go to” apps; Formative and ShowMe. Formative is a great app I use to gauge student understanding during class. As students complete assignments, I am able to see their work in real time on my device. I also have the ability to provide feedback to students in real time which allows them to view my comments on their devices as well. Another great feature of this app allows me to project each student’s work on my Eno Board while hiding student names so we can discuss the differences in student work as a class. If multiple students are struggling with the standard, then I can work with them in small groups to help clear up any misunderstandings while other students move on to the next activity. This process truly allows me to personalize instruction based on individual students’ needs.

I like to pair Formative with ShowMe to help students who are going to be absent for an extended period of time in addition to those students who are in need of help. I’ve created ShowMe videos about a standard we are covering in class for students to view, so they can work through sample problems. As they answer questions on that standard, I’m able to see their work and provide feedback to students who may not have been in class.

How do I integrate technology to improve assessments? ShowMe, once again, is a big part of my classroom along with Google Forms. I like to pair these two in order to prepare students for assessments and to debrief assessments. When preparing students for assessments, I assign students sample problems, they watch videos for each problem to identify their mistakes, they complete a Google Form where they explain what they did incorrectly and how to fix their problems and finally they rate their overall confidence on the upcoming assessment. I do not administer the assessment unless the class rates their confidence level as 6 out of 10 or higher.

When debriefing the assessment, I use a similar method where students watch only the videos associated with questions they answered incorrectly on the assessment. They again complete a Google Form explaining their mistakes and how to correct them. Once a student has submitted the form, they are able to move on to the next activity.

As an educator who was able to learn “new tricks”, I would like to leave you with these parting words. If you are apprehensive about integrating technology in your classroom, I encourage you to dive on in; the water is great.

Want to see some of my work?

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An Educated Citizenry - Teaching Students to Navigate Media Bias

Kim Rawson, 2016 North Smithfield District Teacher of the Year,
2016 Finalist for Rhode Island Teacher of the Year,
North Smithfield High School

An educator’s greatest responsibility is to prepare students to be critical thinkers and productive members of society who can investigate, interpret, and identify bias.

As a ninth-grade American government teacher, every day offers an opportunity to truly show the students real world connections. Election years offer even more excitement, as students engage in the electoral process. Last year’s polarizing election posed many teachable moments that transcended the classroom. Students researched the presidential candidate of their choice, created a campaign and engaged in debates about the qualifications and policies of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Throughout the process, we constantly discussed the importance of being an active, engaged and informed citizen. The informed part always proves difficult and last year, in particular, students struggled to truly assess the candidates. They were constantly confronting the impact of social media and the 24-hour news cycle that looks to entertain rather than inform. The election itself proved easier to navigate than the actual ascension of President Donald Trump. ...

November 22, 2017

Finding Common Ground in a Divided Society

Kristin Hayes-Leite, 2018 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year,
Social Studies Teacher,
Narragansett High School

The fact that the nation is divided is no secret to anyone, but what we don’t yet know is the full impact on our students. With all of the heated rhetoric and political bullying taking place at the national level, the youngest members of our society might be tempted to tune it all out, become cynical, disengage, or worse, lose faith in our democracy. As a social studies teacher, I feel a real urgency to ensure that students can exercise their freedom of speech in my classroom. Students need to be able to respectfully voice their opinions and discuss current issues in the classroom without feeling fear or reluctance. ...

October 27, 2017

Increasing Engagement through Student Choice

October 19, 2016