The Presidential Award validates my teaching and the critical role teachers play in making rigorous mathematics accessible and success attainable to all students. Always, I have sought to create opportunities for students to reason and communicate in ways that develop sound mathematical ideas and sophisticated mathematical practices. I am grateful for the generosity and collaboration of my colleagues and mentors. This recognition reaffirms my commitment to my work. I am honored.
Catherine Ditto is a Chicago Public Schools teacher of 22 years. She currently teaches sixth grade mathematics, science, and writing at Burley Elementary School.
Throughout her career, Catherine has pursued and conducted professional development in elementary school mathematics with a focus on teaching that fosters mathematical thinking. At the University of Illinois Teaching Integrated Math and Science Project, Catherine conducted research for revisions of Math Trailblazers, a national kindergarten through fifth grade curriculum. She helped develop an analytic protocol to identify learning opportunities that teachers created in lessons — specifically, for students to reason and communicate in ways that develop mathematical ideas. In July 2009, the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education published her team’s research; it continues to inform development of widely used mathematics curricula to support teachers.
As a facilitator for Deborah Ball’s Elementary Mathematics Lab in Ann Arbor, MI, Catherine helped teachers unpack and build schema for the learning opportunities inherent in and intended by the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice and the teaching moves that embody them.
Catherine holds a B.S. in therapeutic recreation from the University of Illinois and a M.A. in curriculum and instruction from Concordia University. She is twice National Board Certified.