District implements new “ASPIRE” summer math program

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By Omkar Katkade, Staff Reporter The ASPIRE Math Tutoring Program, a summer math program meant to help students who were struggling in math classes get through online lessons, was launched on Monday, July 20 of this year. It ran for four weeks and ended on Wednesday, Aug. 12. The program taught 120 students in grades...

By Omkar Katkade, Staff Reporter

The ASPIRE Math Tutoring Program, a summer math program meant to help students who were struggling in math classes get through online lessons, was launched on Monday, July 20 of this year. It ran for four weeks and ended on Wednesday, Aug. 12. The program taught 120 students in grades 3–6 on Microsoft Teams for four weeks from July to August.

The program was introduced by Wendy Towle, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Staff Development and Planning and Nancy Adams, T/E’s former Supervisor of Math, Science and Business Tech. Adams retired this year, but she was able to finish the program before she left. This was ASPIRE’s pilot year, so depending on how well it did, Towle and Adams would make the decision about whether or not it should be continued.

 “The program was something that Dr. Adams and I had talked about for several years. We have had a summer reading camp for many, many years, and we felt that we could offer something similar to support students with math,” Towle said.

This summer, Students were given the option to join ASPIRE after being recommended by a math teacher. Feedback from the participants and their parents as well as pre- and post-assessment data helped Towle and Adams conclude that ASPIRE successfully helped students gain a better understanding of their math curriculum. The program gave students a head start on the fall curriculum to keep them on track with the rest of the class.

    “The purpose of ASPIRE T/E Summer Math Tutoring is to build confidence and knowledge of skills and concepts to allow for a strong start to the school year by previewing concepts taught in students’ next math course while simultaneously strengthening fundamental math skills, “  Towle said.

 Learning how to use new software was especially stressful for elementary school students as the district transitioned into distance learning. Since ASPIRE used Microsoft Teams, the same app that the district uses during the school year, it helped prepare students for the new distance learning environment. The program’s use of teams was very simple.

“All the students that were in the program were able to go onto their teacher’s schoology page, click their teacher’s teams link and join the meeting,” said Mrs. Theresa Bowser, a teacher in the program, who is currently the reading specialist of all five elementary schools for kindergarten to second grade.

The program had a low student-to-teacher ratio of 3-5 students per teacher, which allowed teachers to pay more attention to each student individually. It also focused on building students’ confidence, helping them to engage in academic risk-taking and allowing them to learn more from the curriculum.

“It was really nice because we were able to use some specific things on teams to allow kids to just, you know, show their own (white) boards, or be more individual, or do work that was really important to them, or specific skills and strategies that worked for that student,” said Bowser.

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