Skip to content
ascd logo

Log in to Witsby: ASCD’s Next-Generation Professional Learning and Credentialing Platform
April 1, 2003
Vol. 60
No. 7

Meet ASCD's Outstanding Young Educator for 2002

    Innovative teaching strategies and a strong commitment to student achievement won Patrick Bathras the first OYEA award.

    Meet ASCD's Outstanding Young Educator for 2002 - thumbnail
    Credit: Copyright(C)2000-2006 Adobe Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
      As a teacher facing the challenge of motivating disadvantaged students to care about learning math, Patrick Bathras was always on the lookout for ways to hook his students' interest. One day, while taking a tour of Camden Yards Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, Bathras realized that he was surrounded by mathematical connections that would intrigue his students. Inspired by this realization, he and a colleague created a Mathematical Walking Tour of Camden Yards, a field trip that used various characteristics of the stadium and its architecture to help students appreciate real-life applications of math. The Walking Tour was so popular—and the students who participated became so excited about learning math—that it has become a standard outing that continues to benefit elementary and middle school students in the county.


      The kind of innovative thinking involved in the creation of this unusual learning activity is just one of many qualities that won Patrick Bathras ASCD's first Outstanding Young Educator Award (OYEA). Bathras, who has worked for Anne Arundel County Schools in Maryland since 1993, is currently assistant principal at Brooklyn Park Middle School in Baltimore.
      In his former role as a teacher and now as an administrator, Bathras actively promotes a learner-centered focus, noting that an important part of his job is “trying to motivate the teachers, the community members, the stakeholders—trying to get everybody involved to do what's right and best for our students.”
      Bathras also places high priority on improving student achievement. “My whole focus and philosophy is trying to make a difference for children and promoting student achievement,” he told the OYEA selection committee. He believes that striving to increase student achievement is “very motivating because it keeps you thinking and creating new ways to engage the students in learning.”
      Because he works with many disadvantaged students, Bathras believes it's important to inspire in students positive attitudes and a can-do spirit. “I try to instill pride in them—pride in themselves, in their school, and in their community,” he said.
      Bathras is adamant about rejecting excuses for low achievement, particularly those based on students' disadvantaged backgrounds. Instead, he works always “to take the vision [of high achievement for all] that we've established at the school and let everybody believe in that and become part of that,” he said. “We need to continually move forward, no matter what obstacles we face.” As a 5th grade teacher, he raised his students' math scores by 30 percentage points in one year, and last year he contributed to a schoolwide increase of 10 percentage points on the Maryland Functional Reading Test.
      Besides his unwavering commitment to improving student achievement, Bathras is being recognized for the variety and impact of his contributions to his school and district. For example, he has given staff development presentations on such topics as differentiated instruction, study groups, peer coaching, and flexible block scheduling. He has served as a mentor to teachers new to the county. He has written several grant proposals, developed business partnerships, and recruited students in grades 5 and 6 for a summer enrichment course designed to prepare at-risk students to learn high-level math. He serves as a liaison to numerous student clubs and participates in a peer coaching program.
      In addition, Bathras has created a “Decision-Making Room”—a constructive alternative to suspension that serves as both a consequence and a learning experience for students who cause classroom disruptions.
      As always with Bathras, learning comes first. As the colleague who nominated him for this award stated,His instructional leadership and management responsibilities focus on student achievement. He makes sure that the daily operation of the school is tied to student learning goals. He is constantly asking himself and others, “How does this improve student achievement?”
      In both his attitudes and his accomplishments, Bathras is a role model to other educators. Congratulations to Patrick Bathras on being selected ASCD's 2002 Outstanding Young Educator.

      Scott Willis is a former contributor to ASCD.

      Learn More

      ASCD is a community dedicated to educators' professional growth and well-being.

      Let us help you put your vision into action.
      From our issue
      Product cover image 103033.jpg
      The First Years of School
      Go To Publication