Escambia County Middle School’s fourth-grade students were the guests of honor at a February 2 assembly during which their accomplishments in the study of mathematics were recognized and praised.
The 170 or so fourth-graders, who became ECMS students when A.C. Moore Elementary was consolidated the end of last term, posted statistical progress that was called “unbelievable” by the representative of the company that sponsors the statewide competition.
Debbie Bolden, in her second year as principal of the local school, said her faculty and students take the computerized math system, which is used throughout the school, “very, very seriously,” and pointed out that the results prove that.
“We have real good math instruction throughout the whole school,” Bolden said before gesturing toward the group of students being honored. “Our students took the January test, and 87 percent of this group demonstrated progress on the state test. They scored 30 percent higher than any other grade level at our school.”
Lynne Schneider, customer success manager for Imagine Learning, presented a certificate honoring the school for its impressive showing among 55 schools, 228 classrooms and 750 students who participated in the competition.
She praised the principal’s support of the program and said the number of times ECMS students sought help through the company’s written help line and its group of certified math teachers was more than impressive.
“We should hire your principal; she’s such an advocate of this program,” said Schneider, who is responsible for participating schools in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. “I was looking at some stats before I came up here, and this school — this year — has accessed our written help 15,205 times.
“That is amazing; I’ve not seen another school do that. Not only that, but they have also accessed live teachers 1,422 times. Those are great stats, really unbelievable.”
There was another beneficiary of the ECMS students’ math skills. The students learned “think points” as they progressed through the program, points that were converted into a charitable donation. The local students and faculty chose Alabama Food Bank Association as recipient of its $500 donation.
AFBA’s Kim Lawkis, who accepted a large facsimile check for that amount as part of the assembly, said the money would be used to provide 1,000 snacks for the association’s summer meals program.
Four fourth-graders were recognized as members of the “Think 30” club, indicating that each had passed at least 30 Imagine Learning lessons during the current school year. Those earning such designation are Amarions Lemons (70), his twin sister Amari Lemon (57), Sara Embley (49), and Labarryon Jones (30).
“Students who pass 30 lessons a year will show the most growth,” said Schneider, who called the quartet to the front of the school gym to present the check to the food bank association.
Among the special guests at the formal recognition ceremony were Beth Drew, the county’s Assistant Superintendent of Education; Sandra Reid, Elementary Curriculum Supervisor for county schools, District 6 BOE member David Nolin and Dale Ash of Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. of Atmore.
Schneider, in her closing remarks, encouraged the entire student body to continue its impressive showing.
“I’m so proud of each of you,” she said. “The competition was held in November, and you were the school with the highest percentage of passed lessons, so you represent the entire state of Alabama. Keep up the hard work and you will continue to get these kinds of results.”