Paw Paw School requests math teacher
Paw Paw Schools Principal Michelle Fleming and math teacher Kimberly Hamrick asked that the halftime high school math teaching position become full-time.
They made their request at the January 17 Morgan County School Board meeting during the Paw Paw Schools local school improvement council (LSIC) presentation at the school.
Fleming said that fifth and sixth grades made a huge improvement in their math scores on the 2011 WESTEST exam. Five out of eight grades did not make improvements in math.
She outlined a strategic plan they’ve implemented to address deficiencies in students’ math skills, which included intervention sessions twice a week each for seventh and eighth grade math, after-school tutoring for all levels five days a week, homework help sessions five days a week and math coaching.
Fleming also asked for funding for staff development workshops and training in math, graphing calculators and substitute teachers so teachers can observe lessons for a new math series.
Hamrick teaches math at Paw Paw High School full-time and Joshua Wilson teaches high school math halftime.
Hamrick said that they can’t cover all of the math courses that are needed for the 2012-2013 school year with 1.5 math teaching positions.
Classes needed are Math 7, Math 8, Algebra 1 for eighth graders and for transfer students grades 10-12, Algebra 2 and/or Honors Algebra 2, Geometry and/or Honors Geometry, Trigonometry or Honors Pre-Calculus, College Transitional Math for Seniors, ninth Math I, ninth Math I Support and ninth Math II for Accelerated Pathways.
Response to Intervention math sessions are also needed for seventh and eighth grades and also for grades nine-12. Grades nine-12 currently have no intervention support.
Without a second full-time math teacher, the interventions for seven-eight and nine-12 grades, Calculus and eventual AP Calculus, the accelerated track for Honors Geometry students and teacher support for Math 8 won’t be possible, Hamrick said. One student was ready for Calculus and more were coming. The class offering affects engineers.
There are a total of 14 math sections needed. Two full-time teachers are needed so each could cover seven math sections, Hamrick said.
Shorter classes, more preps
The Paw Paw High School math teachers have shorter class time and at least twice the amount of teacher class preparations than math teachers at Warm Springs Middle School and Berkeley Springs High School do as well as Response to Intervention preparations, Hamrick said.
A part-time teacher gets no pay for personal or sick days, snow days or holidays and doesn’t qualify for student loan forgiveness, she said. There has been a new part-time math teacher each year, which involves mentoring every year.
Hamrick requested a budget change for $5,500 difference in pay between full and part time and coverage of the Response to Intervention program for the elementary level.
The community supports education as shown in the special levy continuance vote in 2008. Some 64% of the voters in the Paw Paw district voted for the levy, she said. Their students need two full-time math teachers for success.
A handful of students also appeared before the school board to show their enjoyment of and support for English teacher Peter Schmidt’s film criticism class at Paw Paw High School. The course takes a critical look at film and the story’s protagonist, characters and morals.
One student said the film class was the highlight of his day and hoped that it would be available this year and for students for many years to come. The school board approved the class for one semester in August and said it would be reviewed afterwards.
School board president Laura Smith said that the board originally had some concerns about the class, but they could see that it’s been an excellent course.