CCR-1 Board Reviews Math Program

CCR-1 Board Reviews Math Program

By Audrey Moon

The Clark County School Board held its monthly meeting on
March 8 in the Middle School Library. Items on the agenda included an annual
report from district math teachers, discussion about next year’s project for
the building trades class, and the approval of next year’s school calendar and
OPAA food services contract.

District Math Review

Math teachers from the district presented updates about the
state of the math department in the schools and talked on how students are
doing with the curriculum.

Teachers in K-8 praised the new technology used in the
classrooms. They said students are more engaged with learning and are having
fun with their lessons.

Although some teachers are having trouble adjusting, they
said it seems students are becoming oriented at a quicker pace and adapting to
the new technology. Laptops, Promethean “smart boards” and online programs are
among the new technologies available in some classrooms.

“If you can make it student driven, and get them to buy in
to it, then that is more powerful for me than any lecture I could give,” David
Melton, a middle school math teacher, said.

Melton went on to say that math doesn’t come easily to all
students, and it is important to see kids get excited and engaged in the
curriculum.

“Math is a scary subject, but seeing kids take ownership and
want to learn is one of the most powerful things I’ve seen,” Melton said.

Among those teachers who have had trouble adapting to the
new technology is Mrs. Susan Turpin. She teaches at the middle school and high
school and has to transition back and forth from a high-tech classroom to a
traditional classroom setting.

“I would rather be a more traditional teacher,” Turpin said.

Despite this, she said the students in middle school are
more engaged and that they are on a chapter right now that is enhanced by the
new technology.

Turpin said she is concerned that the transition from middle
school to high school will be harder for students because the high school
doesn’t offer the newer technology. Instead, students work with graphing
calculators and more conventional learning methods.

“It won’t be fun anymore,” Turpin said.

Other concerns were brought up about vertical alignment,
which is the term used to describe each grade building from the last year’s
curriculum. The schools are transitioning from the old curriculum to a new one,
which is called the Common Core Standards.

According to the Common Core website, the curriculum is
concerned with focus and coherence.

Teachers said students will be asked to go deeper into
different problems, and should be able to tell why they got the answer, and not
just give surface explanations.

This means the new standards are going to get harder and
that they will start teaching different concepts at a younger age.

Teachers are confident that students will adapt, but
stressed that it will take time to compensate for the lag years.

When asked if test scores will suffer, the principal of the
middle school, Jason Church, said there is a chance of that.

“But I don’t subscribe to the theory that you can judge our
kids in three, one hour sessions,” Church said.

Nancy Trump, an elementary school title math teacher, said
teachers are working hard to make sure no student falls behind.

“It just takes time,” Trump said.

Plans for building trades

One of the last things discussed by the Board concerned next
year’s building trades project. The district has several odd jobs that need to
be done but have not found room in the budget in past years to complete them.

One idea the Board had was to have the building trades class
do the work. Jobs include re-roofing different district buildings, pouring
concrete for a sidewalk that would go from the high school to the field house,
installing insulation in the middle school and high school field house, and
possibly building a new facility at the softball fields.

Having building trades do these projects would benefit the
district because it would be cheaper and the jobs, which have long been needed,
would finally get completed.

Darin Little, the building trades instructor, said students
wouldn’t necessarily get the same experience as they would building a house
from scratch. He said the primary point of the program is to offer a full education,
from start to finish, and not to be treated like a business.

Little said he is not opposed to doing the odd jobs, but
wants to look further into all options.

Other items on the agenda

The Board also discussed a walking school bus program that
would come to Kahoka through a Missouri Foundation for Health grant awarded to
the Clark. Co. Health Department. The grant allocates funding for new sidewalks
near Black Hawk.

A requirement of the grant, however, is to implement some
kind of fitness activity. The walking school bus program, which is a before
school program that would “pick up” students within a mile from the school and
walk them the rest of the way, would comply with the grant. A bike brigade for
middle school students would also be implemented. The program would initially
be operated by the Health Department.

After a public hearing was held on the proposed calendar for
next year, the Board approved it along with the 2012-2013 OPAA food services
contract.

The Board has also set dates for the 2012 summer school.
Summer school will run 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. starting May 23-June 20. Teachers
will be paid $22 per hour. The session is contingent on funding approval.

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