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Cronin Wins BP Teacher of the Year

Tanis Lorring, Staff Editor

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The Alaska BP Teacher of Excellence recognizes educators from all across the state. These teachers have, for years, inspired and challenged students. Since the beginning of the program in 1995, hundreds of teachers have been rewarded for their hard work and dedication. This year, representing Seward High School, and one of five teachers chosen from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Stephanie Cronin won Alaska BP Teacher of the Year.

For the past 20 years, Cronin has taught mathematics including algebra, pre-calculus, calculus, and geometry. Cronin’s passion for her students and her subject shines everyday. A few years ago, she integrated the mantra “Positive Math Attitude” (PMA) into her classroom, encouraging students to not lose hope
when they cannot figure out a math problem. “I’ve had the mantra PMA in my classroom for a long time. I believe there is a whole movement in education, called the growth mindset that is this idea of PMA; it’s just not given that exact title. The growth mindset is one where students can work hard to learn the lesson, you don’t give up, and it doesn’t just come naturally. Once a student understands, they have earned it and the feeling can be really rewarding.”

Upon receiving the award, Cronin admits it was a great honor and “incredibly humbling” to be recognized. “There’s so many outstanding teachers across our district and across our state. I am really proud to represent all of those amazing teachers.” While Cronin is only one of many amazing teachers, students throughout the school recognize her influence and are proud of everything she has accomplished. “Math after Geometry was a huge struggle for me,” said junior Elena Hamner. “At that point, I couldn’t do math anymore because I felt so tired and my brain felt scrambled. I didn’t try very hard in Algebra 2 … nothing seemed to help. Mrs. Cronin helped me take a deep breath and work through everything, one-on-one, and today, thanks to her, I am acing math.”

Thanks to Cronin, hundreds of kids throughout Seward have understood math and been able to apply it to their own lives. But more than that, she has helped students develop an enthusiasm and determination. Students at Seward High School are incredibly thankful for Cronin’s passion and inspiration.

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