PIQUA — The Piqua Board of Education formerly accepted the resignation of math teacher Greg Hawk during their meeting Tuesday evening. The board and the superindent did not touch on the controversry surrounding the former teacher, who is under investigation for alleged inappropriate behavior with students, with the exception of board member Frank Patrizio commending the handling of the situation.
“I just want to thank Mr. Lyons, the superintendent, the assistant superintendent in how they handled a difficult situation in the last couple weeks,” Patrizio said. “I think it has been handled very professionally by the Piqua Police Department also. A very unfortunate situation, but it was handled well.”
Piqua High School’s freshman Algebra I Block was highlighted during the meeting, applauded for its success for its first time being done at PHS. According to intervention specialist Kim Dyar, the block consists of 16 units of algebra skills, lasts 84 minutes compared to the school’s usual 40 minute periods, and currently has 60 students.
During class, the students have an agenda based upon the skill or lesson they are working. The students have to take a quiz every day on the lesson that they completed. If they do not pass the quiz, the students have to go over the quiz and lesson again.
“It’s an amazing model, and we’ve seen a lot of growth in the program,” PHS Principal Tony Lyons said.
Math teacher Jean Koth expanded on that growth, including “a huge increase” in the amount of attention that their lessons receive. In regular courses, Koth explained that students rely on their notes right before a test and do not worry if they understand the information right away when they receive it.
“But because they have to immediately turn around and take a five minute quiz … they have to pay attention,” Koth said. “If you pay attention the first time … then you get to move on from the lesson the next day.”
Koth mentioned that they have also seen a change in their students’ mentality toward learning in that the students are becoming more focused on the learning process itself rather than just having the right answer at the right time.
The Algebra I Block also allows students to learn at their own pace. Students who have a particularly difficult time learning one unit of the lessons are able to spend more time to understand it, while students who have figured it out are able to move on to a new lesson.
“We have a lot of flexibility in our class schedule,” Koth said. “You can’t understand unit five if you can’t understand unit four.”
Koth stated that their class “allows them to slow down during that time to really make sure that they master those fundamental skills.”
“I like the block better because I get to work at my own pace,” Gabrielle Gilmore, a student in the Algebra I Block, said.
“When they pass a quiz they get a much higher feeling of success,” Koth said.
In regular courses, students move on to new lessons whether they do well on their tests or not. In the Algebra I Block, students do not move on unless they pass their quiz, so the feeling of doing well is stronger, according to Koth.
Later in the meeting, the superintendent and the board recognized board member Lori Webster for being a part of the board for 13 years and her “commitment to excellence.”
“You have been phenomenal,” Hanes said.
“This is not something we do alone, (it’s) as a team,” Webster said.
NOTE: This is part one in a two-part series covering the Tuesday, Dec. 15, Piqua Board of Education meeting. Part two will be in the Thursday edition of the Piqua Daily Call.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall