Math Expert Wins National Honor

Dixie Dawson, who recently retired as mathematics curriculum leader for the Long Beach Unified School District, has won the Council of the Great City Schools/Pearson Education Curriculum Leadership Award. The award was presented at the Council’s Curriculum and Research Directors’ Meeting held in Portland last month. The 37-year veteran of the school district earned the award for improving the quality of teaching over several years and helping to improve student achievement districtwide. Math scores in recent years have risen significantly in local schools after reforms that Dawson helped to design and implement. “I feel that we really have kids succeeding because we have a systematic approach,” Dawson said at a recent Board of Education meeting, where she was recognized for her years of dedicated service. “If you give kids more time, if you improve instruction and give teachers the support they need, all students can learn, and that has been my focus for the entire time.” In her 12 years as curriculum leader, Dawson created numerous curriculum materials for teachers and students, designed professional development for math teachers new to the school district, and established math coach positions at the elementary, middle and high school levels. She also was instrumental in bringing technological advances to the district, improving communication and instruction by making materials available to all district teachers on LBUSD’s Intranet. Dawson initiated several reform initiatives before they became commonplace statewide. She oversaw the creation of district math standards in 1995, two years before the state of California adopted its own standards.