When the new school year begins math is going to be taught to students by their traditional classroom teacher, and, according to Matt Yost, Reede Gray Elementary School principal, that move is being made for a variety of very important reasons.
The basic foundation of math education teaches students that one plus one equals two.
Starting with the 2016-17 school year, the Redwood Area School District and the Redwood Area Board of Education are hoping that one teacher involved with students in one classroom is going to equal something much greater.
For the past few years, the students at Reede Gray Elem-entary School have been learning this subject from math specialists who work solely with students in that area.
When the new school year begins math is going to be taught to those students by their traditional classroom teacher, and, according to Matt Yost, Reede Gray Elementary School principal, that move is being made for a variety of very important reasons.
“What we want, first and foremost, is to do what is best for the students,” said Yost.
School administration brought up the idea early in the school year, and the board held a lengthy initial discussion, which was followed by a work session prior to the decision that was made to cut out the math specialists program at its Dec-ember meeting.
The data over the years since the math specialists program has demonstrated that the school has not seen a significant difference in test scores compared to other schools that have the traditional math classroom teaching.
According to Rick Ellingworth, Redwood Area School District superintendent, meetings were held with the staff at each grade level, and the majority of those staff members felt it was important to integrate math back into the traditional classroom.
Yost said the decision is going to help create a greater level of connectedness between one teacher and the students, which is important for the overall development of the student and the community culture at the school.
The change will require some training to help the teachers proceed with the school’s math program for the upcoming year.
With the subtraction of the math specialists positions, there are some things that will open up for the school, added Yost.
One of the potential benefits of the program is the creation of different specialist areas for students.
According to Ellingworth, that could include anything from art to a newly developed program based on the STEM program that focuses on science and technology. There is also a possibility of including another physical education teacher.
Those specialists help free up time for teachers to do prep work during the school day.
While the program is being eliminated, Ellingworth said there is no plan to cut the teachers who are currently in the system.
Through attrition, spots may open up, and there is the potential of creating a math coach position similar to the one that is provided at the school for reading.
Another reason for the change is the increased attention being placed statewide on early learning.
If the state would begin mandating an increased emphasis on preschool programming that would include the addition of a four-year-old program, there would be a need for additional space to house those students, and right now at Reede Gray all of the space is being utilized.
Despite the change to have math taught in the traditional classroom again, Ellingworth said the time set aside for math would not be any different. All students receive a minimum of 5o minutes of math under the current program, and students at the third- and fourth-grade level receive additional time for math.
Work continues at the administrative level to develop the final plan for math at Reede Gray for the 2016-17 year, with additional information coming before the board at an upcoming meeting.