Students at Armstrong's Len Wood Middle School getting hand with Math 10

Math program adds up

A math intervention program to help students at risk of not passing Math 10 is getting top marks at a North Okanagan school.

The program by School District 83 at Len Wood Middle School in Armstrong has been in place for three months.

Students taking part in the program are giving it a thumbs up, saying they value the class.

Principal Denise Moore said her staff, working with Pleasant Valley Secondary School staff, identified successful completion of Math 10 as a barrier to graduation.

Len Wood staff decided to provide intervention for struggling math students by increasing the amount of math instruction the students had each week.

Students who would benefit from the program were identified by classroom teachers and grouped by grade.

The intervention groups meet three times a week where they focus on critical math concepts. One difference to other programs is that the students in the intervention groups are pre-learning the critical concepts.

The groups preview the math concepts that will be coming up in their regular math classes, focusing on building conceptual understandings with a hands-on approach.

“This means students already have had a chance to think about, and learn, the first stages of the grade-level content so that when they see it in their regular math class, they feel like they already have a running start,” said Moore.

District Principal Val Edgell said the program, although still in its infancy, is showing promise.

“One thing that is really important to understand is that for some students, math is the subject that is causing them to not graduate with a BC Dogwood. This has huge implications for job and career choices down the road,” Edgell said.

“One of the big parts of success in math is believing the you can be successful. Math is about so much more than just addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. While it is important to learn to calculate, many of us carry pretty powerful calculators around in our pockets (our phones). It is perhaps even more important to understand what concept to apply to a situation, and how to use technology to help solve a problem.”

Added Moore, “It is early in the intervention still, but we are very excited about what we are seeing. We are really excited about working together with Pleasant Valley Secondary School (PVSS) staff to make sure we have a plan and path that takes these students through to a meaningful graduation.”

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