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Skyline math teacher receives recognition from President Obama

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Dec 21 2012 05:51:22 PM CST

Julie Nawrocki

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

A high school math teacher in Idaho Falls got a very important phone call Wednesday from President Barack Obama himself.

Julie Nawrocki, an instructor at Skyline High School, will help develop math curriculum and activities that will be used around the country.

"I was totally shocked," said Nawrocki. "It was a nomination."

Just by spending a couple of minutes in her classroom, it's easy to tell that Nawrocki is passionate about the subject and her students.

"There's nothing better than teaching the kids, especially math because they don't enjoy math,' said Nawrocki. "A lot of times they have a mental block about it, so it's fun to get them excited about it."

And if you were to ask her students, they'd tell you she makes math fun... something most high schoolers would never admit.

"It's an honor to be one of the students of a person who's on a committee for the President of the United States," said Sal Mascarenas, a student.

Most likely it's that level of passion mixed with experience and the connection she has with her students that made her an obvious choice for the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics consortium.

"We have a very large population of scientists and engineers, so it makes sense that our kids have an interest in that as well," said Nawrocki. "So we do try to push that science and math and that is the way our country is going too, so that's very exciting."

These testing and teaching strategies will be used in schools in the 38 states that are in the consortium, including Idaho.

Mrs. Nawrocki will head to Park City, Utah this summer to train and collaborate with other math instructors from around the country.

They will produce the material that will be used in classrooms next fall.

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