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Sigrid Espe, an eighth-grade algebra teacher, now teaches the group of children who did not meet math standards last year.
In her class of 12, Espe taught the students about order of operations, demonstrating how to solve a math problem. Then, it was time for the class to solve one on their own.
“Stand up when you have the answer,” she told her students.
In less than 30 seconds, two students stood up, one wearing an “academic achiever” polo shirt. Espe circled the room, checking the progress of each child. In about three minutes, six students stood.
And when two students modeled their work to the class, Espe made sure to recognize them for their effort and success.
They chose from three different cheers, dubbed a roller coaster cheer, a fantastic cheer and an avid cheer. Cheers made up of wooing sounds and hand clapping came from every other student in the classroom.
Both went back to their desks, with bashful smiles as their peers cheered.
Success in co-teaching
Melander said she expects to start seeing tangible gains once a new teaching model is fully implemented this year that adds a second instructor to certain classrooms.
Every kindergarten through fifth-grade classroom teacher now has a specialized math and literacy instructor joining them.
After seeing math proficiency drop to 1.4 percent for fifth-graders in 2011, the district placed a specialized math instructor in each fifth-grade classroom.
Every year since, Lucy Laney students have seen increases in fifth-grade math scores. This year, 16.4 percent of students were proficient, the highest since 2010.
Other grade levels at Lucy Laney saw gains in math, as well. Sixth-grade math went from 2.4 percent to 10.2 percent meeting standards.
Melander is well aware that a majority of students are still lagging badly.
“I don’t shy away from accountability,” Melander said. “Where I use it to my advantage is I turn it right back around. I will not let people forget what I am trying to accomplish in this building. I believe strongly that if you want something different, you have to do something drastic.”
Alejandra Matos • 612-673-4028