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Gifted and Talented education council, MSDE honor CCPS teachers

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and the Maryland Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education will honor four Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) teachers — Jennifer Fenton, Amanda Jones, Joni Rooney and Amy Tascione-Hoffman — for their efforts and accomplishments in gifted education. The teachers will be honored during a virtual awards ceremony Feb. 28 with a Teacher Accomplishment in Gifted and Talented Education Award.

Fenton, Rooney and Tascione-Hoffman are learning resource teachers (LRT) who were nominated by staff of the CCPS Office of Gifted Education. Fenton works at Berry Elementary School; Rooney is the LRT at Dr. James Craik Elementary School; and Tascione-Hoffman works at Gale-Bailey Elementary School. LRTs are in elementary and middle schools and are knowledgeable on gifted education, differentiated instruction, cognitive, social and emotional characteristics and the needs of gifted learners. They also serve as a school’s testing coordinator.

Jones, a sixth-grade language arts teacher at Mattawoman Middle School, was nominated by the school’s LRT, Douglas Cunningham, for the honor.

The four CCPS teachers work directly with gifted and talented students while addressing the needs of gifted and talented students beyond required expectations. They also pursue ongoing professional learning opportunities and assist peers with gifted and talented education programs. 

Fenton has been teaching for 14 years — all with CCPS. She taught fourth grade at Berry for a decade before becoming the school’s LRT. “For me, the best part of working with our elementary students who receive gifted services is getting them to challenge their own thinking,” Fenton said. She said students may enter a conversation with one idea or preconceived notion but can be challenged by a question or someone else's idea. The process can expand their minds. “Helping those students reconcile their thinking before and after a discussion, seeing their passion when defending their ideas and helping to open their minds to new ideas is what makes working with these students so much fun,” Fenton said.

Rooney has been teaching for 26 years, all with CCPS. She began her career at C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School where she taught second, third, fourth and fifth grades, and was a Title I technology teacher for two years. She is in her fifth year as a learning resource teacher, having spent three years at Indian Head Elementary School and the past two at Dr. James Craik Elementary School. “I enjoy creating opportunities for students to be challenged and seeing them work through those challenges — seeing light bulbs go off when connections are made,” she said.

For the past 17 years, Tasicone-Hoffman has taught with CCPS —  first as a third and fourth grade teacher, then as an LRT. She has been an LRT for the past four years. Tasicone-Hoffman likes seeing how students think through lessons. “I enjoy adding challenges to their daily instruction and helping them learn to break down complex problems into manageable steps,” she said. Tasicone-Hoffman also likes seeing the growth students experience during their years in elementary school. “I also enjoy forming relationships with my students throughout multiple grade levels. It is a great way to see their personal and academic growth throughout elementary school,” she said.

Jones has been teaching for eight years, starting her career as a sixth-grade language arts teacher in Jacksonville Beach in Florida. She has been teaching with CCPS since 2016. Jones appreciates that her students are up for trying new things. “The best part about working with gifted and talented students who are in middle school is the fact that they are so dynamic and always ready for a new challenge,” she said. Jones allows her students to take ownership of their learning and the learning process. She also encourages them to share their thoughts, while respecting others who might not agree with them. “I include many student-led discussions, which gives students the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas with their peers,” she said. “Moreover, it gives them a chance to hear diverse perspectives from their classmates.”

To read more about CCPS students honored by the Maryland Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education, click here. To read more about the accomplishments of CCPS content specialists who will be honored, click here.


About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,598 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).