Title for Teacher Feature

Back to school means new sneakers, binders, pencils, and books! It’s an exciting time for students and teachers. One teacher, in particular, personifies this EXCITEMENT in every moment of her teaching. Christina Dionne teaches math at Mt. Blue Middle School.  Christina works very hard to individualize instruction and build relationships with students.  

Christina grew up in Van Buren, Maine. It is a small community so she spent most of her time in school with the same 40 students. In high school, Christina always found math to be rewarding and was in advanced classes. She also enjoyed taking courses in welding and machine shop. Originally, Christina went to school at the University of Maine in Farmington to study art. After her freshman year, she decided that she wanted to pursue math. She said she would even do math at home just for fun! Taking methods courses in math really unleashed the passion that Christina has for teaching.

After graduating from college, Christina took a job as a camp counselor. After two years, she became the arts and crafts specialist. On her fourth year, Christina became a unit leader and managed the four groups within her unit, communicated with parents, and organized activities and field trips for the young campers. This eventually led to a job in early childhood where Christina was able to understand more clearly what even 18-month-old children know and are able to do. The experience also helped Christina to understand how to better implement a curriculum with a holistic approach. Once a position became available at Mt. Blue Middle School, Christina was interviewed, and when offered the position, accepted.

Christina earned the respect of administration early on because of her huge commitment to proficiency-based education. She puts in long hours—and in her own words, basically, lives at school. Being far away from her family allows her time to immerse herself in her new career. In addition to teaching, Christina volunteers at After School Study every Tuesday and Thursday night (which will now be on Monday and Wednesday night). Christina has seen many of her students make great leaps in their education.  

Christina’s goal is to better develop proficiency-based education in math and show her students how to track their progress with the standards. Her goal is to incorporate a more hands-on approach where kids solve real-life problems and apply their learning inside and outside of the classroom. Christina loves to give the students math questions that challenge their critical thinking skills.

Another goal that Christina works on in her classroom is creating a student community. Students are encouraged to work together to share their learning with one another. Along with giving the students greater understanding of the content and increasing their self-esteem, this community allows Christina to give more individualized instruction while the students work together to help each other. This approach also encourages students to be responsible for their own learning.

When asked what challenges Christina faces, she said one of the things can be student frustration and accompanying behavior. She knows there has to be a reason for this, so she tries to get to the bottom of what the student is really struggling with. Once they can articulate it then they are on their way to finding a solution to the problem. Christina values building healthy relationships with her students.

Another challenge is to get students involved with learning math. She tries to offer them a number of different ways to better understand the material and to think about math in other ways. She uses games and activities based on that night’s homework to motivate students to complete it in order to play along.

Christina is off and running with the new school year, and the students she has are very lucky to have a teacher with such a commitment to their success. Thank you, Christina, for all you do!

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The 21st Century FREE After-School Program has openings. Click HERE for the application.

This program is for children who are entering Kindergarten through 5th grade in Cascade Brook School, Academy Hill School, G.D. Cushing School, and W.G. Mallett School.

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Mt. Blue Regional District Vision Statement

Our learning community creates structures that support students’ achievement by:

  • Expanding student-centered learning opportunities in a variety of settings.
  • Increasing student engagement, motivation, and voice.
  • Providing flexible time frames based on students’ needs.
  • Collaborating with students to develop and monitor learning plans.
  • Implementing a challenging, meaningful, Proficiency Based Education System that transcends from the classroom into the community and the world.