ETHS math teacher Rich Kaplan, 2015 recipient of the Excellence in Math Teaching Award, helps prepare students for final exams in his classroom. Submitted photo

Richard Kaplan, a math teacher at Evanston Township High School, has been selected by the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics for the 2015 T.E. Rine Award for Excellence in Secondary Mathematics Teaching. The annual award recognizes highly motivated math teachers in the state who have prolonged effective service in the classroom, have contributed to the advancement of mathematics education, and have influenced others toward improved math education, among other attributes.

“Rich has globally transformed mathematics equity, access and success for all students at two different high schools, and has been a pioneer for change at ETHS,” said ETHS Math Department Chair Dale Leibforth.

Prior to his 17 years of teaching at ETHS, Mr. Kaplan spearheaded an effort at Lake View High School to increase enrollment of Black and Latino students in Advanced Placement Calculus by combining extra support during the school year with summer enrichment opportunities. Mr. Kaplan brought this model to Evanston and was instrumental in leading the transformation of AB Calculus Advanced Placement classes to be more representative of the student body at ETHS. The work of Mr. Kaplan and his colleagues resulted in a 12-time increase in students of color taking AB Calculus since he began working at ETHS.

Highly regarded among colleagues, current students and former students alike, Mr. Kaplan is committed to lifelong learning and has helped strengthen the teaching profession for nearly 30 years. He will be recognized at the ICTM annual meeting and conference in October 2015.

“A teacher who makes a positive difference, Rich connects with students of all races and learning styles,” stated ETHS District 202 Superintendent Eric Witherspoon. “Rich equips his students not only with the skills they will need in math classes, but also in their other classes and in college, teaching them life skills and how to be skillful learners and thoughtful problem solvers in many different settings.”