A local teacher won a national award honoring her work in the classroom.
Erica Mariola is one of four teachers nationwide to win the 2015 Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice.
The award recognizes the most effective educators working in high-poverty public schools.
Mariola teaches kindergarten at KIPP East Community Primary in Gentilly and parents say they've seen their children make huge gains in her classroom.
"David was struggling at the beginning of the year and Ms. Mariola did everything in her power to keep in contact with me, keep me on top of everything with David," says Regina Hardy whose grandson was in Mariola's class. "They have a color code that they go by and David started as being on blue and at the end of the year, we turned out to be a green machine is what Ms. Mariola would call him."
"I'm really proud of the work that my students did this year," says Mariola. "They achieved a lot, they're so smart. This is school is the best school I've ever worked in. I'm glad I came to Louisiana, I'm glad I work for KIPP and I'm glad we just had a fantastic founding year for KIPP East."
Mariola wins $25,000 and a fellowship with TNTP, the organization that offers the award.