Teacher nominated for state distinction

August 26, 2007

Edgewood High School biology teacher Christine Roland has been nominated as one of seven teachers for the Maryland State Department of Education's 2007-2008 Maryland Teacher of the Year award.

The distinction comes on the heels of Roland being named Harford County teacher of the year in April.

A native of Switzerland, Roland worked in advertising and taught scuba diving in Egypt and Honduras before coming to the United States and earning her biology degree.

Roland has taught at Edgewood for eight years.

Students and colleagues praised Roland for making science relevant and enjoyable. Students in her class solved a "crime," using their scientific skills in an exercise drawn from the CSI television shows.

An English class at the high school wrote a story line similar to those on CSI, and drama students performed it. Roland's forensics students followed the evidence to track down the perpetrator a few days later.

Roland also created a class in which students sequence their DNA.

"I have a bit of an unorthodox teaching style," Roland said when she received the county award. "I try things differently because I think science has to be fun."

She also produced a DVD called Dancing Nucleotides, in which students wore different colored T-shirts while they zipped across the school's football field to show how DNA works.

Finalists for the statewide award were selected by a panel of judges from key Maryland education organizations representing principals, teachers, school boards, teacher unions, students, parents and higher education.

Criteria included teaching philosophy, community involvement, knowledge of general education issues, and suggestions for professional and instructional improvement.

Interviews with the seven finalists will be conducted Sept. 15 and the winner will be announced Oct. 5 during a reception at Martin's West. The winner will receive cash, technology equipment, national travel opportunities and a car valued at $25,000, donated by Maryland Automobile Dealers Association.

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