Math Coach Enlightens the Pocahontas BOE About Accomplishments

During the May 16th Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting, the schools’ Math Coach, Joanna Burt-Kinderman, said the 2022 county students’ math test scores were the best she has seen during her 12 years on the job. The tests, which are given annually to grades 3 through 8, and to the 11th grade, showed that of these seven tested grades, six of them scored above the state average proficiency, and that the 11th grade scores were the second highest among the 55 school districts in the state, and the 11th grade also achieved the seventh highest average grade among all 114 high schools in the state.

Burt-Kinderman said this amazing growth in math proficiency is due to the use of three teaching techniques:

  • More use of models, which she described as “all the stuff that looks weird on kids’ homework.” She explained that models involve the use of drawing pictures to understand how addition, subtraction, division and multiplication work, and is particularly effective in the earlier grades.
  • Fluency, which basically involves teaching the children to do math in their heads, without using their fingers.
  • And “More Math” which involves more fun and more learning.

She said that the modern key to teaching math involves making it fun for students, because when students are happy, serotonin is released in their brains, which makes the learning last. In contrast, the old school approach of pressuring students causes anxiety which release adrenalin in their brains, and that makes kids forget more.

Describing her job as the Math Coach, Bert-Kinderman said she gets around to all of the schools, and responds when teachers request her help. Quite often, she said, teachers ask her what they should change, after she observes their teaching styles. She suggests, but does not force teachers to make changes. The board members appeared to be very impressed with Bert-Kinderman’s presentation.

During Superintendent Terrence Beam’s Report, he offered recognition to two students:

“Just got word today,” said Beam, “there’s a contest that our students participated in, its called ‘Kids Kick Opioids Contest’ and a project can be a poem, it can be some kind of design- it can be about anything, and for the Central and South-Eastern part of West Virginia, there were eight students selected to be winners, and two of those were from Pocahontas County. and those were Autumn Hively from Hillsboro Elementary School and Mitchell Kerber of Marlinton Middle School, and their work will be on display at the State Capital this fall.”

Beam also said the last day of classes will be Friday, May 26th.

In addition to the routine approval of financial matters, the board approved the 2023-2024 budget, including the Food Service Budget and the Step VII budget.

In Miscellaneous matters, the board approved:

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the WV Schools of Diversion and Transition and with the WV Bureau of Juvenile Services which clears up the responsibilities of all parties concerning the delivery of services to county students who have been placed in the Pocahontas County Youth Reporting Center for the coming school year.
  • Approved to have the schools remain in conjunction with the Country Roads Cooperative in a roll-over bid with Gordon Food Services per the terms of their 2021-2022 bid agreement, including the annual membership fee.
  • Approved a three week out-of-season athletic practice from June 12th through June 30th.
  • Approved the list of recommended personnel actions, which you can find by clicking on the following link to the official meeting agenda –5-16-23 Official BOE Agenda PDF

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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