RESA reviews MCMS math programs
By Greg Sullivan
In the midst of one of the busiest weeks of their school calendar, Morgan County Middle School received a visit from the Regional Education Service Agencies (RESA) Wednesday, January 30.
The organization, largely funded by school boards in the region, was on hand to observe the school's math instruction.
"This is a big honor for our math teachers," said Morgan County Middle School principal Joe Hutcheson.
"It validates the hard work that [the math teachers] are really doing."
"The group today is going into every math class," Hutcheson said Wednesday.
"Everyone in our math department is doing a great job."
The RESA Collaborative offers math and science support statewide and assists math departments in meeting Georgia Performance Standards.
This year is the first year that the Standards apply to all grades at the middle school level.
Chandra Orrill, Associate Research Scientist at the University of Georgia's College of Education's Learning and Performance Support Lab, one of 13 visitors to the school associated with RESA, said the school was the only school at any level that the organization would be doing such an observation.
"It is doing what it's supposed to be doing across the board," Orrill said of the middle school.
"In that way they're definitely a model school."
Orrill said the organization was observing all grade levels of math instruction at the school, and they were teaching classes at Morgan County in the seventh and eighth grade levels during their visit.
Seventh graders were working on integer multiplication and eighth graders were working on translating word problems into symbols and numbers, Orrill said.
She said that RESA was teaching and observing at the school from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., they debriefed within their organization from 2 p.m. to3 p.m., and they were to meet with teachers at the school from 3:45 p.m. to 5 p.m.
"Teachers are working hard to ask good questions to gauge student progress and to push them forward," Orrill said of the performance of Morgan County Middle School teachers. "That is the hard work here."
Orrill said teachers at the school have worked hard to get better with technology, but said they excel most at fostering their students' imaginations.
"They're really good at supporting students thinking meaningfully about math," she said.
Emily Bernier, a seventh grade math teacher at MCMS said she thought the experience was a positive one for the middle school.
"RESA coming to MCMS was such a unique opportunity for the math teachers to reflect on their practice with professionals from all over the state," Bernier said. "[It] allowed the math teachers at MCMS to see others teach the same or similar material that we'd been teaching. I learned several strategies to help with classroom discussion, as well as some things that I am doing well."
"I was able to see my students in a new light as well," Bernier said of her time observing a RESA representative teach. "I was proud for RESA to see what great thinkers all of my students are."
RESA's observation came on the heals of Tuesday, January 29's countywide GAPS visit.