A new way to learn

DOLLAR BAY – Teaching methods are constantly changing, and at their regular meeting Monday, members of the Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools Board of Education got a look at a method for teaching math.

Before the demonstration in one of the classrooms of the Thomas R. Davis Elementary School, Superintendent Jan Quarless told board members why the method for teaching math had to be changed.

“Our (testing) scores indicate we need to improve in math, and we will,” he said.

Elementary school math teachers Kristen Kariainen, Marissa Kentala and Emily Viola demonstrated the Everyday Math program they use.

Kentala said the Everyday Math program has been used in the school for several months and it’s working well.

“We couldn’t be happier,” she said.

Kentala said the method requires the previous lesson be reviewed before starting the new lesson, and that helps to reinforce for the students what was taught.

The Everyday Math method involves using charts to teach multiplication and division in a way much different from the standard method, and Viola said it helps even students who have trouble with math.

“I found my lower (ability) level kids are getting it very quick,” she said.

William Rivest, K-12 principal, said the Everyday Math method has been used in the high school previous to taking it to the elementary school with success.

Rivest said the repetition of the method is helpful.

“This concept may be repeated, but it’s also more challenging as they go on,” he said.

Kentala said the Everyday Math method requires critical thinking, which wasn’t part of the previous method, but which is necessary for taking the Michigan Educational Assessment Program tests.

“Our kids just weren’t prepared for it,” she said.

Kariainen said the Everyday Math method allows concepts that used to be taught in the fourth grade to be taught in the second grade.

“It amazes me what they can do,” she said.

Viola said the Everyday Math method is getting students who before resisted math and didn’t do well with it to actually enjoy it.

“Now they excel in it,” she said.

After the demonstration of the Everyday Math method, back in the board room, members heard from Quarless an update on security systems at the school.

Soon, all the entrances in the buildings will be locked at all times, Quarless said. There will be cameras at each entrance and the monitors will be in his office. There will also be an intercom at each door. When it’s certain it’s safe to allow the person seeking entrance into the building, an electronic lock will be released and the door can be opened.

“It’s going to be a much safer system,” he said.

In response to a couple questions about access during after-hours events, Quarless said they are still some issues to be worked out as to how that will work.

“This is not going to be foolproof,” he said.

In other business, board members:

received information from Quarless about the revisions to the district’s budget.

received information about recently passed “Right To Work” legislation.

approved a resolution on the most recent Best Practices procedures required to receive an extra $52 per pupil in state aid.