Henrico’s Top Teachers – Joseph Palen

During Joseph Palen’s time at Deep Run High School, his ability to  transcend subjects and reveal the universal language of mathematics to his students, paired with his genuine enthusiasm for the subject, has turned math into something his students become excited about.
“He has made his students understand mathematics in a way that no common core/standardized teacher could,” wrote one former student in a nomination letter.  “He has impacted every single person I know that has taken his class because he has shown that everything is connected together. He has shown that even though you hate a subject, the subject deserves respect because it delves deeper than anyone will ever understand.
“He uses each student’s mistakes, not in a humiliating way, but to teach others and the student who made the mistake.”
Palen holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Michigan. Although he never intended to be a teacher, when an opportunity to teach arose during undergrad, he took it. Palen soon discovered he enjoyed teaching, and his students seem to enjoy the way he teaches.
“Dr. Palen is the explicit definition of an excellent teacher,” his former student wrote. “His genuine love for teaching, paired with his visible excitement upon seeing his students not only learn and succeed, but excel in mathematics creates an ideal learning environment. He teaches for the sake of real education rather than just a standardized test. In his class, you genuinely want to try unlike some classes in which you just do busy work – not work that will benefit you.”
While at Michigan, Palen was introduced to the school’s version of “reformed calculus,” a curriculum that stressed group work and problem solving, which has helped shape his way of teaching. Most of his instruction today is a blend of the competing styles from that time.
When the College Board modified the AP Calculus exam, it was with beneficial effects, because Palen’s training aligned perfectly with the way the AP questions were asked.
“When I teach, I  see myself as a tour guide, showing students great works of mathematical art,” Palen said. “I hope that students remember class fondly and in college smile at how well prepared they are. One of my favorite quotes is, ‘An education is what’s left after you’ve forgotten everything you learned.’ I hope that even if they forget me and all the formulas and skills they learned, that what stays with them are the methods and approach used in mathematics, and they remember the elegance and the beauty in mathematics.”

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Henrico Master Gardener training program accepting applications through Oct. 27

The Henrico County Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension is accepting applications for its next volunteer Master Gardener training program, which provides instruction in all aspects of horticulture.

Applications for the 2018 training program will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 27. Classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from Jan. 16 through March 22. > Read more.

Henrico Schools to host Oct. 30 job fair

Henrico Schools will host a job fair Oct. 30.

The event, to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fairfield branch library, is designed to attract potential full-time and substitute registered nurses, instructional assistants, bus drivers and school nutrition workers. > Read more.

Henrico Police to participate in ‘Tip a Cop’ Oct. 21

Henrico County Police Division and the Virginia Division of Capitol Police are participating in “Tip-A-Cop” to Support the Special Olympics Saturday, Oct. 21.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. that day at Red Robin, 11784 West Broad Street, members of the two agencies will be working for tips as a donation to the Special Olympics. > Read more.

Participants sought for ‘Walk to End Alzheimer’s’

The Richmond Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held Saturday, Nov. 4, at Markel Plaza in Innsbrook, and the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Richmond is seeking participants.

The event, one of three walks the association will hold in its service area this year (the Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck walk was held Oct. 7 and the Fredericksburg walk Oct. 14) raises money to help the association fight the disease, which affects more than 26,000 people in the metro Richmond region. > Read more.

Fairfield meeting Oct. 25 to focus on cybersecurity

Henrico County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman and Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton will hold a constituent meeting Wednesday, Oct. 25 to discuss cybersecurity.

Thornton also has invited candidates who will be seeking election to local offices on Tuesday, Nov. 7 to introduce themselves. > Read more.

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October 2017

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Henrico County’s annual Harvest Festival will take place from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Meadow Farm, 3400 Mountain Rd. The festival will feature many hands-on activities and demonstrations depicting typical homemaking and farming tasks of the era including candle dipping, apple pressing, scarecrow making, pumpkin decorating and more. There will also be a farmer’s market, live music and concessions available for purchase. Admission is free. For details, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or visit http://www.henrico.us/rec. Full text

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Henrico's Top Teachers

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