April 2014 Winner - Travis Dixon:(Neshoba Central High School)


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Meridian Star Article

Terri Ferguson Smith

He's not a professional rapper — he describes himself as a country boy from Holmes County — but Travis Dixon, the Golden Apple teacher of the month for April, has rapped his way into the hearts and minds of his math students at Neshoba Central High School in Philadelphia.

In front of an assembly of students recently, Dixon was surprised to learn he was the Golden Apple teacher of the month winner, but he acknowledged his rap that helps students understand the quadratic equation had something to do with his numerous nominations for the award.

"I'm just so happy that my students thought enough of me to nominate me for the Golden Apple. It makes me feel happy in the sense that although as I'm teaching them the lessons, they are learning and also appreciate me for teaching the way that I teach, being involved with them," Dixon said.

Dixon teaches college algebra, trigonometry, AP calculus and algebra II and this is his first year teaching in public school. He taught at MSU and MVSU during his graduate studies, he said.

In presenting the award, Barbara Jones vice president of operations of MCC, the presenting sponsor, listed some of the qualities students named in describing their teacher: "respectable, creative, considerate, positive role model, friend, kind, caring, helpful, amazing, outstanding and supportive."

"One nominating student wrote, 'I look forward to attending his class and he makes me want to strive for excellence. His teaching methods, whether it be from rapping a song for us about math or making us do the same type of problem over and over until we fully understand it, have furthered my knowledge and improved my work ethic.'"

John Bowen, principal, said it's not just one thing that makes Dixon an effective and respected teacher.