Florida Mesa Elementary students explore new math and ethics programs – The Durango Herald


Boys and Girls Club offers skills in school intervention and leadership development

Math Corps is a math intervention program that facilitates focused math studies in small groups of two to three students per instructor. At Florida Mesa Elementary School, students have engaging 90-minute math sessions per week with Matt George. (Durango Herald file)

Florida Mesa Elementary School has partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County on two new programs focused on math intervention and character building.

A program, called Math Corps under the AmeriCorps umbrella, has been approved for Florida Mesa Elementary, the first school in the area to adopt the program, principal Shannon Morris said.

The school’s fourth and fifth graders participate in the research-based math intervention program. Each student in the program spends 90 minutes a week in groups of two to three children with Matt George of the Boys and Girls Club. Students are grouped based on their math abilities which are assessed by STAR Math and placement tests given at the start of the program, Morris said.

The program can accommodate up to 24 students at a time. Morris said math is a lacking achievement area of ​​study nationally, and Math Corps is one more tool to help students catch up on their math skills.

“We’re excited to try this program, to really help our kids with math,” she said. “Our workers generally focus on reading intervention. We do what we can for math, but this (Math Corps) is going to be a dedicated program.

Florida Mesa Elementary also recently partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County through its “Be Somebody: Cowboy Ethics” program.

It’s a leadership development program that focuses on honing qualities like kindness, courage and perseverance, Morris said.

The program originated in Wyoming and was recently adopted by the local Boys and Girls Club. Jared Bussell of the Boys and Girls Club visits Florida Mesa Elementary School once a week during lunchtime to meet with students about leadership qualities such as respect, responsibility and safety. Boys and Girls Club staff members will also organize games during recess that aim to develop sportsmanship.

Other times, the weekly Cowboy Ethics meeting will focus on a problem-solving activity related to the ideas put forward by the program – respect, responsibility and perseverance. Activities always include time to reflect on how these ideas can be applied to the problem the students are working on.

Morris said the program seemed like a natural fit for Florida Mesa Elementary, home of the school’s mascot Mustangs.

“It kind of fits the old school cowboy type theme,” she said. “When you think about the characteristics we want our children to have, it just ties into the work we already do and some of the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) work we do on respect, responsibility and safety.

Morris said the partnership with the Boys and Girls Club has been great in getting more kids involved in extracurricular activities.

“These are skills that they can take with them to middle school when they leave us and continue to be beacons of leadership hopefully and be able to work with other kids on how they can show and exhibit those characteristics,” she said.

Cowboy Ethics is a voluntary program and began at Florida Mesa Elementary in October. It has about twenty students who take part in it regularly.

The Boys and Girls Club is also supporting Florida Mesa Elementary’s Children’s Camp, an after-school program, with select club staff serving as camp coordinators this school year.

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