NCSS approves proposal to work with math consultants

COVINGTON — The Newton County School System is putting a high priority on raising math scores.

The Newton County School Board unanimously approved on Tuesday hiring a consulting firm to work with teachers to bring up high school math scores.

Insight Education Group submitted a proposal to the school system where evaluators would work specifically with 10 teachers in the Newton County School System for a period of six months between October and April and offer a hybrid approach of in-person and online coaching. The goal is to help Newton County students “learn algebra and demonstrate their learning through increased proficiency rates on the coordinate algebra End of Course Tests (EOCT),” according to the recommendation of Newton County School Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey.

The estimated cost for the professional development is $95,950.

School Board Member Jeff Meadors made the motion to approve the proposal during the school board’s regular meeting Tuesday, pointing out that federal Title IIA carryover funds would be used to pay for the program and that those funds would be forfeited if not used by Sept. 30.

The need to work with teachers to boost math scores came to light when NCSS reported this summer that most math scores on the 2012-13 EOCT had fallen. Coordinate algebra, which is taught to ninth-grade students, had a pass rate of 19.4 percent, below the statewide pass rate of 37 percent.

Shannon Buff, coordinator for Title IIA funds for NCSS, explained that scores began to suffer when Newton County introduced in 2012 the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards in math.

“The Common Core results were not what we expected,” she told the board members during their work session earlier in September.

During that work session, Richard Nyankori, executive vice president of Insight Education Group, presented his company’s proposal to the school board.

He said that his company’s area of expertise is to work with minority and low-income students to help them achieve at the same levels as their peers. Some of the school districts Insight has worked with include Baltimore City Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools and the Tennessee Department of Education.