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Local Science Teacher Receives Golden Apple Award

Mary of Nazareth Catholic School has announced the one of their teachers, science teacher, Jennifer Massey, has been recognized as a 2017 Golden Apple Award recipient.

The Golden Apple Award is presented annually to 10 teachers from schools in the Archdiocese of Washington, honoring nominees for their excellence in teaching and commitment to Catholic education. Teachers may be nominated by their colleagues, parents, and students. Massey was nominated by Mary of Nazareth parents and Germantown residents, Karen Stohr and Bob Nonnenkamp, along with their children Julia and Kate.

With 14 years of experience, Massey currently teaches science to grades six through eight. Her science curriculum covers earth and space, life science, physics and chemistry, as well as an annual science fair. She not only helps to shape students’ understanding of the world that surrounds them, but also their character. Her number one goal as an educator, she says, “is for students to leave my classroom better people than when they started.” A self-proclaimed lifelong learner, Massey challenges herself to delve into the concepts within her science curriculum so that she may effectively engage students with hands-on-lessons and 21st Century technology. Massey notes that a central part of her instruction in the science lab involves guiding students in process-oriented learning. Within this framework her role, “shifts from instructor to facilitator,” and allows students to see value in their work as content is built into the problem-solving process.

The impact of Massey’s teaching style can be seen by the purpose-driven experiments her students conducted in this year’s science fair. Two winning projects included engineering a hula hoop which lights up using magnets, and the replication of ancient rice terraces to inform modern day irrigation. According to Massey, these projects stood out specifically for their application of science concepts to real-world problems with, “innovation and creative design.” With her leadership, technology has become a top priority at Mary of Nazareth. She hopes to watch the continued growth of technology as the school’s five year plan is implemented and, “would love to see a 1:1 program for students.”

Local to the area, having grown up in Poolesville, Massey feels that she has found a second home at Mary of Nazareth. When asked what role the Mary of Nazareth community has taken in her life, Massey shares, “I am the person I am today because of my interactions with others, my faith, and my experiences at Mary of Nazareth School. People are willing to go the extra mile for each other.” If she weren’t teaching, Massey says that she would choose to spend her time building houses for Habitat for Humanity. When she is not with her students, Massey enjoys spending time with her family, caring for her dogs, and reading.