Before it moved into the agenda of the evening, the Madison-Plains Board of Education (BOE) paused for a moment of silence to remember their beloved teacher, Jeff Spradlin. He had succumbed to a heart attack on Friday, Nov. 8 in the high school. Spradlin had been basketball coach of the Golden Eagles for nearly a decade.
In algebra, one of the basics of the mathematical skill is solving for the unknown. What is well known about some students in the district is the basics of algebra challenge them. Ten to 12 percent of them were failing. So between Chris Clark, high school principal, and Karen Grigsby, curriculum director, created a way for students who are deficient in algebra to become better.
They have to become better because for graduation, students must complete Algebra II. And what’s unknown in Algebra I, creates “holes” in a student’s mathematical education to which they fall into when attempting Algebra II.
“The problem was we pushed kids and they didn’t get a chance to retain what they learned,” Clark said. “There wasn’t retention of some items. Pushing them created holes in their math education.”
Clark told the BOE he and Grigsby were trying to devise a path for students to be successful, the goal of which is to have students achieve. So linear algebra was born.
After factoring the data which had been collected, Clark placed students where they needed to be on their path to better math. They found slower is better than faster, too.
He said students were coming to high school not ready for algebra.
BOE member David Hunter commented about some seventh and eighth grade students from two years ago who had apparently been moved on but were deficient in math. As a result their behind.
Linear algebra is a straighter line to math proficiency and being used to prepare them for Algebra II, that critical fourth unit of math needed to eventually become an alumni.
Public Health Nurse Cindy Neff added one more case of pertussis — total 19 — in her report to the BOE. She said the health department is learning of the cases because people have responded to information which was sent home with students.
“They’re all individual cases, no siblings,” Neff said.
She said once a child is tested for the disease and has been prescribed an antibiotic to combat the bacteria, the student must take it at least five days before returning to school.
“They can’t come back until the sixth day,” Neff said.
Students are generally “inconvenienced” by the cough, which may hang on for a while and make them “uncomfortable.”
She said the outbreak of pertussis has been “a super opportunity to educate people on it.”
She reiterated pertussis is an illness which is “not easy to get.” A person has to inhale infected droplets from the person who has it, over a two to three hour period. She insisted contact with the infected person has to be close.
Parents need to watch their children for symptoms and when they’re in doubt, see a doctor and get them tested.