Algebra initiative for middle schools aims to improve STEM foundations
Middle-schoolers can better prepare for high school algebra and earn a little cash for improving their skills through the AdvanceKY Access to Algebra initiative.
NCS was recently approved for the program that will also provide middle school teachers with specialized training and curriculum for teaching algebra to middle-schoolers.
Starting this month, all middle school students will take the PSAT 8/9 test, a precursor for the SAT that measures students’ college readiness. Their scores this year will be used as a basis for measuring their progress and they will take the test every year. Starting next year, eighth-graders who either score the national benchmark of 430 or improve their score by 70 points can earn $50 through AdvanceKY.
“We know that early exposure to mathematical concepts like algebra in middle school can add to a student’s academic success throughout their high school years,” said Courtney Newton, director of Next Gen Learning 6-12.
“This program gives the students a small incentive, but it also provides our teachers with valuable training and curriculum to improve classroom instruction.”
Old Kentucky Home Middle and Bloomfield Middle schools offer algebra classes, and NCS is exploring how to make advanced math courses available to New Haven and Boston next year.
“Our current middle schools have about one ‘classroom’ of students engaged in this level of mathematics. AdvanceKY Access to Algebra is designed to not only expand those opportunities but build foundational skills to address any gaps in existing math/critical thinking skills of students,” Newton said.
The AdvanceKY initiative includes training, curriculum, equipment and collaboration components. It includes meetings involving 6-8 teachers and assistance for incorporating more rigorous lessons into the existing curriculum, and it promotes discussion among teachers for better aligning the curriculum. More details about the program are available on its website.
When middle-schoolers take Algebra I in eighth grade, that effectively “frees up” a slot for advanced or dual-credit math in their later years.
“The hope of this program is we have an increasing number of students each year ready and excited to engage in higher-level mathematics,” Newton said. “This helps to support the growing need for STEM careers in our region with advanced manufacturing, engineering, aerospace, medical and others.”
The Nelson County Area Technology Center unveiled its newest career pathway, heavy equipment, to the community and industry professionals. Program instructor Scott Thompson highlights his future for the early stages of the pathway. Thompson will helm this new pathway designed to give students hands-on experience with heavy machinery such as skid steers and excavators.
In the coming weeks, NCS leaders will begin working closely with community members to develop a larger vision for career programming that would potentially lead to a transition of the Bloomfield Middle School campus. Diesel Technology and Heavy Equipment Operations are two high demand career programs that will be on the table for potential expansion of the UP Center into Bloomfield.
Nelson County Schools has solidified a remarkable partnership with CHI and Flaget Memorial Hospital, heralding a new era of opportunities for students pursuing careers in the Health Science Pathway. The collaborative initiative between NCS and the local hospital aims to provide aspiring healthcare professionals with unparalleled access to real-world experiences and invaluable networking prospects.
As summer break comes to a close, we want to celebrate a truly amazing summer of learning! Through the Summer Leadership Pathway Nelson County Schools has offered several internal opportunities for learning and growth. However - some leaders across NCS just can’t get enough. From FFA conferences to PBL Works in Napa Valley, California and more - our leaders are models for lifelong learning.
The Nelson County Schools Leadership Institute is pioneering an innovative six-week program tailored to career professionals with a passion for teaching. The program, designed to equip participants with teaching certifications, offers an accelerated curriculum that covers essential educational content, providing a substantial savings in time and money compared to traditional teacher education programs.