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May 17, 2006
CONTACT: Pam Young

White House honors EMU alumna Cindy Hasselbring as one of the nation's top educators

YPSILANTI - Cindy Hasselbring, a math teacher at Milan High School and an Eastern Michigan University alumnus, has won the 2005 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the nation's highest honor for teaching in this field.

Cindy Hasselbring
Cindy Hasselbring
She was awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) which administers the program on behalf of the White House, and an all expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where she was honored May 4.

Hasselbring, who earned a master's degree in curriculum from EMU in 2001, has taught Milan students in grades 9-12 since 1995. "It's quite an honor. I was one of only 100 teachers in math and science nationwide to receive this prestigious award," said Hasselbring, who was nominated by her principal, Ronald Reed.

Hasselbring, 32, was recognized for her innovative use of technology to teach math, such as incorporating interactive white boards with pixels to allow her students to make up classes they missed. She also uses a remote system she calls the clicker game, which allows students to click a response during class.

To apply, she had to submit an hour-long videotape of her teaching, which showed how she interacted with the class during an activity, and had to write a 10-page paper that reflected on her teaching.

"Excellent teachers help students learn challenging mathematics and science content every day and the Presidential Awards give us, as a nation, a way to show how much we value and appreciate their contributions," said Celeste Pea, Ph.D., program director of elementary, secondary and information education programs at the NSF.

The presidential award is one of several national awards recently won by Hasselbring. She was one of only 60 teachers nationwide, to be selected last year for the Toyota International Teacher Program. "We learned about Japanese culture and history and how to use it in class," said Hasselbring. "I was able to use origami to teach geometry and my classes are making 1,000 origami cranes to send to Hiroshima." That experience encouraged her to apply for Toyota's traveling alumni program. She recently learned that she is one of only two teachers nationwide to be chosen for that program, which is affiliated with the International Teacher Program.

Hasselbring will fly to Los Angeles for a weeklong orientation in June and then travels to Tokyo to study architecture. She'll also visit Kyoto where she'll take a traditional arts course, participate in a tea ceremony and see a traditional Noh Theatre production.

She also is active in the Network of Educator Astronaut Teachers (NEAT), which helps teachers incorporate NASA information into the curriculum, and is the assistant cross country and track coach at Milan High School. She is a resident of Milan.

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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