Jessica Dierking has spent all six years of her career as a public educator at Grain Valley South Middle School. Meeting the daily challenge of building positive relationships with pubescent adolescents along with making sure they understand ratios and proportional relationships is something Dierking excels at as a seventh grade math teacher. Her talent as an instructor and caring adult in the lives of young people has not gone unnoticed.
Dierking has been awarded the Jedel Family Foundation for Math Excellence Exponential Educator Award. The ceremony took place virtually, via Google Meet on Friday, April 3rd during a Grain Valley South faculty meeting led by Principal Jim Myers. Congratulatory comment boxes filled computer screens as faculty learned of Dierking winning the award.
The Jedel Excellence in Mathematics Education Awards are bestowed to recognize exemplary K-12 math teaching. Established by the Jedel Family Foundation in 2018, the awards recognize outstanding mathematics teachers in the Greater Kansas City area.
The awards recognize those that implement innovative instructional practices and strategies to strengthen student understanding in mathematics. Award recipients serve as leaders for their schools and ambassadors of mathematics for their community, per the University of Kansas website.
Awards are given to classroom mathematics teachers who teach in charter, private, and public schools within eight counties: Platte, Clay, Jackson, and Cass counties in Missouri and Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Johnson and Douglas counites in Kansas.
Jedel Family Foundation board member Don Hobbs was present on the call along with his peers to congratulate Dierking and share excerpts from their classroom observation visit along with the nomination submission. Dierking was all smiles during the presentation as her husband Tyler, and other family members (parents and in-laws) were present for the ceremony by getting to be part of the call.
Myers was as proud as anyone in sharing his thoughts of Dierking as an educator in his building.
“Jessica Dierking makes South Middle School a better place for everyone. John F. Kennedy once said, ‘…a rising tide lifts all boats,’ and Jessica is the living embodiment of that idea at South Middle School,” Myers said.
“Her presence benefits not only her students, but teachers and administrators as well. In addition to being an exceptionally talented math teacher, Jessica is passionate about serving other people and helping them reach their full potential.”
Myers concluded, “This begins with her students and extends to her colleagues as well at South Middle School. The example she provides gives us all something to aspire to.”
Thought Coordination Company released a story written by Melissa Kelly in October of 2018 about the Ten Things That Worry Math Teachers the Most.
Top items on the list included students arriving in their current grade with the needed prerequisite math knowledge to be successful, demonstrating to students connections of math to real life that they will need as consumers, varying math instruction in a way that meets the diverse needs of students, dealing with student absences, and finding time to provide timely feedback in grading.
All these challenges make teaching today extremely tricky as well as potentially very rewarding. 21st century learners need a mentor, role model, instructor, and someone who’s technologically competent. The ingredients of this recipe help to foster successful learning.
Dierking will receive $5,000 as part of the Jedel Excellence in Mathematics Education Award and will become part of a fellowship of mathematics educators from Kindergarten through 12th grade next year.
This will afford Dierking the opportunity to spend time and collaborate with other exceptional math educators in the Kansas City area. Furthermore, Grain Valley South Middle School will also receive a banner to be placed outside the building.
Grain Valley South Middle School has received a string of good news recently. Counselor Cara Long was also recently honored as the Greater Kansas City School Counselor Association Middle School Counselor of the Year.
Grain Valley South Middle School Math Teacher Jessica Dierking was awarded the Jedel Family Foundation for Math Excellence Exponential Educator Award during a virtual staff meeting on Friday, April 3rd.
Photo credit: Grain Valley Schools