Back To School

FREWSBURG – A handful of Frewsburg Central School parents had the opportunity to attend school on behalf of their children for the purpose of helping them with homework.

On Thursday, Frewsburg hosted the first of its evening math academy sessions at Robert H. Jackson Elementary School for parents wishing to learn more about the curriculum and assignments that their children are undertaking.

According to Danielle Patti, elementary principal, the school’s math academy was developed in response to community members voicing their desire to have a better understanding of the concepts and processes being presented in the new Common Core Learning Standards. The math academy format allows for parents to assume the role of students, and sit in on lessons given by the teachers who present the information to their children.

“We are thrilled that parents are actively partnering with the school to help their children at home,” Patti said. “Continuing to maintain open lines of communication and talk about the changes that we face as a school district in response to state requirements is the best way to tackle any education reform.”

The session given on Thursday was presented by third-grade teachers Stacy Anderson, Dee Nelson and Kolene O’Brien. The teachers discussed the use of new instructional features, such as tape diagrams and number bonds, as methods of having students show their work while solving multiplication, division and time measurement problems.

“It’s our job to teach (students), and show them different ways of showing their work,” said O’Brien, who is also chairperson of the third grade. “We are seeing more complex problem-solving abilities from the children. In third grade, we are focusing on the many ways there are to solve multiplication and division problems. Students are modeling multiple ways to reach the correct answer.”

Anderson said the math academies are intended to correlate what the students are learning at school with how they complete their homework assignments at home.

“We want to make sure that we’re using the same language, and that we’re able to help our children with the way that they’re doing it here,” she said.

O’Brien said this will hopefully alleviate some of the stress that is commonly felt by parents and students alike as they try to decipher the new curriculum at home.

“Homework should not become tears,” O’Brien said, telling parents to make notes to the teachers on the assignments if the student is truly struggling.

Anderson added that students in third grade should not be spending more than 30 minutes on an assignment.

“If they are spending more than 30 minutes on (homework), please send it in with them and we will make time to work with them in here,” Anderson said.

Aside from Thursday, all previously scheduled math academy sessions from this week were canceled due to school closings, and they have been rescheduled for next week. On Monday, a kindergarten session will be held from 6-7 p.m., and a fourth-grade session will be held from 7-8 p.m. On Tuesday, a first-grade session will be held from 6-7 p.m., and a sixth-grade session will be held from 7-8 p.m. On Wednesday, a second-grade session will be held from 6-7 p.m., and a fifth-grade session will be held from 7-8 p.m.