Menlo Park, CA: Mindi Wimett, a math teacher at White River Valley Middle School (VT), has been named the Open Up Resources Teacher of the Month for December 2021. Wimett is being recognized for her outstanding work in her classroom and ongoing support of teachers across the country as a member of the Open Up Resources National Professional Learning Community.
Wimett’s work with Open Up Resources 6–8 Math makes her one of the most innovative teachers in the country. The Open Up Resources 6–8 Math curriculum inspires a new way of teaching math by transforming classrooms into hives of activity focusing on discussion, questioning, debate, and the deeper conceptual learning of mathematics that follows.
Cass Bath, a colleague at White River Valley Middle School, nominated Wimett for her leadership, passion, and innovative teaching style. Bath shared, “Mindi’s techniques in the classroom are unparalleled, not just because of the depth of her content knowledge, but the structure and passion she brings to her lessons. She is always at the cutting edge of understanding the tools she has at her disposal, and how and when to use them best. This has never been more apparent than teaching during the current COVID era.”
In her nomination, Bath described Wimett’s compassion for her students and colleagues. She explained, “Mindi also taught my daughter 7th and 8th grade math. She was her advisor, and a trusted adult in the building. She had an influence on my daughter through some tough middle school years that I will forever be grateful for. She encouraged her to be a strong young woman, to trust her voice, and to never apologize for taking up space. She feels like if her students enter high school with positive math experiences and to “not hate math”, she has succeeded. Behind her approach, is her intention to build students up and make connections. And she does it successfully every time. Mindi passes on that intention to those of us who try to learn from her as well – to build students up and make deep connections.”
About teaching the OUR 6–8 Math curriculum, Wimett explained, “I love how the lessons cycle back to revisit skills and concepts. I find teaching students how to perform rotations in 8th grade is a challenge, annually." But her students have let her know that this year, they get it! "I have never heard a student shout this about rotations before this year. OUR's focus on the concept of rotating figures, while encouraging the use of tracing paper, has helped more students understand the properties of a rotation better than any other group I have taught. I appreciate that the focus is not on memorizing rules about coordinates."
For teachers new to the curriculum and / or seeking support, she offered some advice: "Join the Facebook Community Groups! There is such a strong community support amongst so many professionals! It's unlike anything else I have ever experienced!"
Open Up Resources is a non-profit on a mission to increase equity in education by making excellent, top-rated curricula freely available to districts. You can learn more at www.openupresources.org.