Rappin' Mathematician Named State Teacher of the Year

Mission Middle School faculty member to be recognized at White House

An Escondido middle school teacher who uses rap to help teach kids math was named California Teacher of the Year.

Alex Kajitani teaches mathematics at Mission Middle School and has made headlines for his unorthodox approach to teacher.

"It's a way to give them all the important math concepts that they need to learn, in a form that they like," Kajitani told the North County Times, explaining that after years of having students come into class singing rap and hip hop songs from the radio

He was honored by Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell.

"It's such an absolute honor to represent the teachers in California," Kajitani told the North County Times in a brief phone interview between classes Wednesday morning. "But I really see this as a responsibility and an opportunity as well."  

As the state Teacher of the Year representing California, Kajitani will join other teachers representing their state in a White House visit with President Barack Obama, who will be sworn into office in January.

The five "California Teachers of the Year," as well as eight semifinalists, will be honored Feb. 9 at a dinner in Sacramento, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

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