Some local second- and third-graders are part of a math-intervention program that is getting results.

Some local second- and third-graders are part of a math-intervention program that is getting results.

"We've seen a great deal of growth in our students," said Robin Ryan, 2-3 principal.

Ryan told the New Albany-Plain Local school board March 21 that her school identified students who needed extra help in math and started a new intervention program to help them learn some of the basic skills they are missing.

"We're finding a lot of them are lacking in the underlying core skills, such as writing the numbers and saying the numbers," said Jenny Wielinski, math support and literacy specialist for grades 2-5. "Without that foundation, they struggle."

An academic achievement report made in October by director of teaching learning Madeline Partlow recommended monitoring the success of math education in the elementary school. Trends in achievement scores indicated, among other things, that the district needed to improve math scores for multiple subgroups of the student population, including students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students.

The information was included in the state report card released by Ohio Department of Education, on which the district scored the highest possible grade: "excellent with distinction."

Ryan said the district has been using an "everyday math" style of teaching for the last four to five years.

Wielinski said content can move fast and if students are lacking some basic math skills, they may not be able to fully understand the concepts being explained. She said she tells the students in intervention that it's like a "math vitamin" that will help them with their math homework.

The students chosen for intervention work in small groups with one of the building's three math specialists two times a week. Wielinski said the specialists reinforce basic math skills and encourage the students to ask questions as they work through problems. Teachers try to stop the students as they do a step wrong so they do not repeat the same mistake. As students gain understanding and work to complete a problem, they are allowed to finish.

"We provide support only when needed," Wielinski said.

Ryan said people working in the intervention program are: Wielinski, Marlene Gundlach, the math and literacy aide for grades 2-3, and Kim Miller, the math and literacy aide for grades 4-5. She asked the board to consider more professional development in math for all teachers to help with this project.

Wielinski said the specialists could do more if they had more time to spend with the students, perhaps working with them four days a week, instead of just two.

Board member Michael Klein asked if the district needed more people to help with intervention.

Superintendent April Domine said the district first must determine that the program is working effectively. That means assessing the results before approving additional resources.

"I think we have a great opportunity to design something using the latest research," she said.

Wielinski said there is much research in the area right now and new data is being released all the time.

"We're on the cutting edge of research," she said.

Board member Cheri Lehmann asked about the progress of other students.

"It's important for all of our students to show improvement," she said.

In response, Domine asked for the data on the rest of the students to presented to the board at a future meeting.