Ocean County Teacher Gets National Attention [AUDIO]
A fourth grade teacher from Ortley Beach, who has spent the last 29 years at the Hugh J. Boyd Elementary School in Seaside Heights, is getting national attention as one of People Magazine's Teacher's of the Year.
Marsha Dionisio was honored by the publication for reinventing her classroom after Superstorm Sandy.
She had to come up with some new teaching methods and had to use tools that are not normally used during lesson plans. To make matters worse, her hope was wiped out by the storm, and she had to live on her daughter's couch in Toms River for nine months.
Students were bused to a high school in nearby Berkeley Township.
"You have your materials, your books, your lesson plans and you could probably teach blindfolded. Throw a hurricane into the mix and everything changes," Dionisio explained. "Challenges come up you never had to deal with before. Our classrooms were submerged in water. All our school materials were covered in mud, flooded by the storm."
She will appear in the October 28th issue of People and will receive $4,000 for her school and a thousand dollars for herself.
She used various books from the library for lesson plans. For math, she enlisted the help of the vice principal, who performed magic tricks dressed as Merlin, and students learned probability, proportion and other math techniques all with a deck of playing cards.
It worked so well, Dionisio tells us she is still using the methods and will continue to do so. The school has since recovered from the storm.
Dionisio will appear today on the Katie Couric talk show at 3 p.m. on ABC.