Year Honored: 2011Essex High School
Essex Junction, VT
At the time of the Award, Maria Ung was:Teacher
Essex High School
Essex Junction, VT
Subject(s) taught: Biology/Life Science
Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12
Maria Ung has been called “a gift to her school and to the education field.” As a science teacher, she leads a student- and technology-centric classroom, pairing her cutting-edge teaching with Essex High’s focus on differentiated instruction and formative assessment. She can jump from an advanced class to a survey class without missing a beat.
Skilled at building effective relationships that encourage students, Ung is a quality role model, especially for young women interested in science. She is an architect of one-on-one alliances with students who are frustrated or intimidated by the math elements of chemistry and science courses, and synthesizes her subject conceptually to make it easier to understand.
Test scores at Essex are impressive, especially relative to the state and other schools. According to colleagues, Ung has made significant contributions to this exemplary achievement. Essex High leads the state in achievement on the science portion of the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP). The 55 percent proficiency rate is double the state average. Although its science requirement is three credits, 68 percent of Essex students graduate with at least four credits.
As science department co-chair, Ung is also a valuable addition to the district’s K–12 Curriculum Team. She serves on two New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) committees. Ung, who completed the Accelerated Credential Program, is now a mentor to new teachers in the program. On campus, she is the Essex cheerleading coach and serves as advisor to the Athletic Leadership Council and chairs the Community Resource Committee.