Ready to do the math

The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell Alisha McBride The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell
Alisha McBride

By Pat Caldwell
Malheur Enterprise

VALE – When Vale Elementary School Principal Alisha McBride saw an opportunity to help her students through a potential grant, she jumped at the chance.

McBride crafted a proposal for the Adaptive Math Learning Pilot Project and waited to see if Vale and Willowcreek Elementary Schools would qualify.

She didn’t have to wait long.

“I wrote the grant and submitted it the first week of May,” McBride said.

At the end of May, McBride learned the two schools were selected to receive an Adaptive Math Pilot Grant for $70,465.

The grant is part of an experimental program spearheaded by the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon STEM Council, focusing on math learning technologies.

The grant funding will set the foundation for the installation of math adaptive learning software that personalizes education for students.

McBride was thrilled with the grant news.

“I think it is fantastic. This is quite a large grant for a school district our size,” McBride said. “The grant helps purchase technology, licenses and provide practical development to our teachers to implement the program.”

The aim of the experimental curriculum is to discover and review successful interactive, computer-based programs to support what is dubbed a blended learning environment. A blended learning environment combines Internet or digital media content with already existing classroom instruction.

The blended learning paradigm enables students to learn at their own pace while teachers gain feedback and can modify the learning practices.

McBride emphasized the grant is not intended to replace existing methods of teaching math but to enhance them.

“The more tools we can provide, the more successful we are going to be,” she said.

The grant is for one year but it will provide the two schools with key instruments of technology, including new Chrome books.

“It purchased almost 100 Chrome books. We get to keep the books,” she said. “And, as a district, we have the opportunity to pilot two programs.”

McBride said the grant is an example of collaboration between the Oregon Department of Education and the Vale School District.

“It’s a great partnership. ODE wants to gather information to disseminate to districts across the state,” McBride said.