At Rye’s three City elementary schools, software like Spatial-Temporal (ST) Math is playing an ever-increasing role in helping students catch up on their math skills.
By Sarah Varney
At Rye’s three City elementary schools, software like Spatial-Temporal (ST) Math is playing an ever-increasing role in helping students catch up on their math skills. In the future, such software may play a bigger role in providing Academic Intervention Services.
Academic Intervention Services (AIS) are mandated for students in grades 2-8 who scored below proficiency, either 1 or 2, on the yearly Math and English Language Arts exams. Most districts figure in other factors as well. Currently, approximately 150 Rye students are receiving these services. Betty Ann Wyks, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, acknowledges that the number of AIS students is likely to increase over the next few years. “AIS kids have probably increased as we’ve tightened the requirements,” she said.
In grades 2-5, AIS and ELL (English Language Learners) use ST Math as part of a blended learning approach that couples technology with other learning materials. At the beginning of the school year, representatives from Mind Research Institute came into the schools to train teachers and parents to use the software. Students use it from home and in class for brief periods.
The software allows teachers to assign specific problem areas for students and it also allows Wyks to monitor individual progress. She then confers with classroom teachers to give feedback on what a student is or isn’t learning.
Students have responded well to ST Math, Wyks reported. “We’ve found that these students are much more likely to practice their math skills and even spend more time on their schoolwork.” Parents are commenting positively as well, she noted.
Software like ST Math is seen to be better than “pull-outs”, where students are taken out of class for a brief period to concentrate on a subject in small groups. That method has always been criticized for disrupting the learning process as well as the classroom.
Instead, the goal for teachers is to teach at different levels within the classroom.
Wyks reports that technology is being used in other ways throughout the District. Teachers use video clips, Skype sessions with experts in a certain field, and more specialized software with younger students that records and measures their reading fluency progress. In grades 2-5, students use programs that include RAZkids, IXL for math, and Spelling City.