Math gets new look in Rockton schools
The Rockton School Board has approved a state-of-the-art, interactive program that the district believes will help children succeed in math.
Its price: Nearly $129,000 with annual costs of more than $17,000 to provide textbooks to its 1,010 students, from kindergarten through fifth grade. A $38,000 state grant will reduce the initial cost to around $90,000, the board said.
The program, called enVisionMATH, is being tested in classrooms at each grade level. Educators, administrators and parents agree they like what they have seen.
It will be unveiled at Rockton Grade and Whitman Post Elementary schools in the fall.
“It does a good job of building problem-solving skills at an early age,” said Ann Bennett, whose daughter, Kjerstin, is a first-grader at Rockton Grade School. “It gets them excited about math at an early age.”
That is just one of the goals of enVision, which uses computer software featuring animated animals and insects students can count in a variety of problem-solving arenas. In one scene, seven colorful crabs are pictured. A narrator asks children viewing the screen to count the crabs inside and outside a cave, giving the child viewer a chance to add, subtract and perform problem solving in a matter of seconds.
Then there’s the large, colorful textbooks, tearsheets and extravagant resource folders for teachers that can be use to reinforce concepts and promote success in and out of the classroom. Daily assignments and homework using specific terms help build confidence and long term academic success, officials said.
“We seriously looked at five programs and narrowed it down to three,” said Kindyl Etnyre, district curriculum coordinator who led a committee of teachers. “We looked at how it compared pricewise and in other ways. This program specifically spoke to one of our major goals and that is family friendliness.”
Superintendent Jean Harezlak said she has no concerns about the newness of the program with her staff and students are genuinely “excited about it.”
First-grade teacher Erin Young gave one example of the early success of the program. She said her students are now able to explain the thought process they use to solve a math problem.
“Every teacher that has used it has experienced success,” Young said. “Whether it is the visual learning cartoons or the hands-on activities, the way it keeps children intrigued has just amazed me.”
Staff writer Rob Baxter can be reached at 815-987-1369 or email@example.com.