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Varnett committed to enhancing student math skills at every grade level

Varnett is working with an education consultant to raise student achievement in math in preparation of the new standardized test in 2012.

District project manager Greta Peacock said the district will incorporate data-driven strategies that will pinpoint the status and progress of each student throughout the year. “We don’t want to simply meet standards; we want to exceed standards,” Ms. Peacock said.

Juanita Douglas, education consultant for TargetTeach, is tasked with training teachers to develop a customized action plan that defines and prioritizes instructional goals. She said students will take seven incremental tests and one comprehensive test during the school year before taking the new and crucial State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test in the spring. A key component of the program involves parents helping their children, Ms. Douglas said.

TargetTeach is a product of Evans-Newton Inc. (ENI), a Scottsdale, Ariz. corporation that collaborates with school districts to design the comprehensive staff development needed to ensure successful student outcomes.

Superintendent M. Annette Cluff said the district, with the use of new math books, is aligning its kindergarten-through-5th grade math program with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS),  the state standard for what students should know and be able to do. “This will ensure there is mastery and skill-building at every grade level,” Mrs. Cluff said.

On Thursday, Sept. 29, Ms. Douglas conducted a training session for third- through fifth-grade teachers and Natalie McGee, another ENI coach, conducted a similar session for kindergarten through second-grade teachers.

Ms. Douglas talked about brain research and how important it is for teachers to connect with students. “The kids have to have feedback in every lesson you do,” she said.

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