Two former math teachers plan to spend a second year helping other teachers find success.
Toni Cliatt and Kemberly Carter are former Grovetown Middle School math teachers turned instructional specialists. They teach other Columbia County math teachers how to do a better job.
"The focus has been on math, because it is such a critical part of the curriculum," Carter said.
The pair accepted the positions, created with stimulus funds, to take some of the burden off busy math teachers and allow them more instructional time in hopes it will lead to more student achievement.
They will assist any math teacher who asks, but Carter and Cliatt focus on the critical transition years of fifth and sixth grades and eight and ninth grades.
"If they don't grasp it in middle school, in high school they'll struggle," Cliatt said.
The math curriculum doesn't necessarily follow the textbooks because standards were recently made more rigorous via the Georgia Performance Standards.
Cliatt and Carter understand the time constraints teachers have and the obstacles they face when creating new or creative ways to teach.
"We come from the trenches, so we know," Cliatt said.
The instructional specialists say they assist by filling in the gaps between textbooks and the required curriculum, doing research that overburdened teachers don't have time to do, and helping create lesson plans.
They will also sit in on classes, suggest changes, devise new teaching strategies and even model those techniques for the teacher, Cliatt said.
"Teaching is a learning profession," she said. "You learn from your students, other teachers."
Their goal is to share information among teachers. With time and financial constraints, teachers don't often attend conferences, symposiums and other special events geared toward further education and networking.
So Cliatt and Carter, who see lots of teachers in action, share their successes, failures and creative ideas with others.
"We can provide a one-on-one staff development for those teachers," Carter said.
The duo gave up their teaching positions to take over as math coaches at the start of the 2009-10 school year. As math teachers, they said they recognized the need for what they now do.
Teachers have been very appreciative of the help, Carter said.
"(We'll do) anything that we can do to give teachers more instructional time so they can make all the difference with the students," Carter said.
"Student success is the goal."
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