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Principal: Math curriculum at North Star helping out

It’s been three years since North Star Central Elementary introduced the Spring Math curriculum, and school officials have seen a positive impact, Principal Renee Lepley said.

“We’ve really seen an increase in math fluency,” Lepley said.

Administrators began the search for a new curriculum in mathematics roughly six years ago after reviewing PSSA scores and not being pleased.

When Lepley was introduced to Spring Math during a conference about multitiered systems of support, she thought it would help.

Since implementation of Spring Math, which is designed to improve basic computation skills and fact fluency, Lepley said the school has seen an increase in state assessment scores.

She’s looking forward to the results of this year’s test since the fourth- and fifth-graders are the students who began their education with the format.

“We have learned a lot about the program ... and have grown and learned how the program works best for our students and teachers,” fourth-grade teacher Nicole Gustin and third-grade teacher Eva McDannell said in a joint statement.

Thus far, their students have taken to the new way of learning and because they see success, they are “motivated and excited,” the two added.

Gustin and McDannell also agree that students who learn the skills featured in the curriculum can be more successful in solving word problems because it allows them to focus on determining the operation and a successful strategy.

“It improves fact fluency, retention of current grade-level skills and also promotes beyond grade-level skills to help prepare students for the next grade level,” the educators said.

“For example, third-graders practice and are successful with long division before even entering fourth grade.”

Lepley said the teachers at the elementary have been more than willing to adopt Spring Math.

Another feature of the model she appreciates is the fact that it’s data driven.

That helps the staff at North Star elementary know exactly what their students need and how to help them succeed.

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

Since implementation of Spring Math, which is designed to improve basic computation skills and fact fluency, Lepley said the school has seen an increase in state assessment scores.