Excellent teachers, excellent studentsApril 15, 2016 6:01pm

April 14--Excellence in Teaching Award

Mary Moossa-Jurek, a teacher at the Professional Center for Child Development (PCCD) day school in Andover, was recently the 2016 Excellence in Teaching award by the Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools (MAAPS).

Moossa-Jurek, an Andover resident, has been a special education teacher at PCCD for more than nine years. A mother to three girls, one with special needs, she taught Early Intervention as a classroom assistant at PCCD, but "felt that there was more she could do for the students, so she went back to school to get her Master's degree and teaching license," according to a press release.

Her colleagues wrote letters of praise to nominate her for the award, which was presented at the MAAPS 38th Annual Conference on Friday, April 1 in Marlborough.

"In addition to her ability to capture her students 'attention, Mary embraces new techniques and creatively adapts technologies to help each child develop new skills while motivating them to learn," says Veryl Anderson, executive director of the Developmental Day School at PCCD.

The award is given to teachers for their skill in teaching students with special needs who have multiple disabilities, moderate to severe developmental delays, complex care needs or medical needs. MAAPS is a non-profit trade association that represents 87 private special education schools across the state.

"We are very proud to honor Mary with the MAAPS Excellence in Teaching award for her inspiring and remarkable work," said James V. Major, MAAPS executive director. "MAAPS member schools' teachers and staff work tirelessly every day to provide high-quality educational experiences to their students. Mary's devotion to teaching, to her students and to PCCD embodies these efforts and serves as a great example to her entire profession."

Knighted flutist

Judy Braude, a flute and woodwind teacher for Andover After School Music Program, had the opportunity to invite three of her students to attend a masterclass with internationally recognized and knighted flutist Sir James Galway.

Braude selected Ariel Lee, a seventh grader at West Middle School, and Shawna Chu and Somin Virmani, both sixth grade students at Doherty Middle School.

Braude and the students met with Galway on Thursday, March 24 at the Rhode Island Philharmoic for the special instruction session, which was open to all music students from the Greater Boston and Providence areas.

The three Andover students got one-on-one attention from Galway as he instructed them on "how to properly play the flute, and how to properly practice," Braude said.

"I was so extremely proud to see such young students of mine participate this event," Braude said. "I was also extremely proud of them as they were among the youngest there."

Galway, who has been on tour in the United States with his wife Lady Jeanne Galway, was knighted by the Queen of England in 2001. Galway has released more than 50 CDs and has won various awards, including being recognized as the Musician of the Year in 1997 by Musical America.

Virmani, 12, has been studying with Braude for five years, while Lee, 13, has been a student of Braude's for more than three years, and Chu, 12, has worked with Braude for four years.

Dyslexia on Chronicle

Various Andover families were featured in an episode of New England Chronicle Tuesday, April 6 that discussed the difficulties students with dyslexia face.

The episode also highlighted the legislation that would require students to be tested for dyslexia in 2nd grade, rather than 4th. Sen. Barbara L'Italien, D-Andover, was also interviewed for the segment and spoke about the necessity of identifying students with dyslexia at earlier ages.

The episode can be found online at www.wcvb.com/chronicle. The Townsman will be covering the topic in an upcoming issue with more in-depth coverage.

To submit education stories contact Gabriella Cruz at gcruz@andovertownsman.com.

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