Mary H. Matula Elementary School was recently named the top school among more than 6,000 competing schools nationwide in the First in Math Online Program. Additionally, two teams at Matula ranked among the top five teams nationwide for program performance.
Bob Sun, president of Suntex International and creator of the First in Math program, visited the school on Friday, June 1, to recognize the students for their participation and to congratulate participants for their outstanding accomplishments. Schools are ranked for performance by county, state and nationwide levels of performance in the challenge, which requires students to log on to the First in Math website and solve "game challenges" designed to test and reinforce mathematical concepts.
The "Brook" team of fourth-grade students ranked second nationwide for performance. Team members are Luke Beswick, Jackson Cross, Cheyenne Daniels, Bailey Dominicis, Brennan Fletcher, Alyssa Harry, Joseph Heffernan, Brianna High, Dawn Johnson, Ciara Keelan, Joseph Lee, London Lewis, Jordan Lopez, MaKayla McClary, Kristopher Schueller, Megan Schueller, Craig Storm, Rebecca Tillman and Arden Waldow. The team's coach is teacher E. Diane Simmons.
The "Tempo" team of fifth-grade students ranked second nationwide for performance. Team members include Nasia Anderson, Melanie Battle, Jeremy Beason, Jeremiah Beason, Francesca Bruce, Reed Butler, Gabriel Catterton, Ethan Divelbliss, Ricky Duby, Donya Forohar, Michael Gill, Rena Lee, Maria-Abbey Magsakay, Anna Maynard, Griffin Moyer, Ethan Olmsted, Matthew Stockwell, Mitchell Sullivan, Drew Vliet and Joey Walsh. The team's coach is teacher Jodi Gallagher.
The top five participants at Matula – Joseph Heffernan, Bailey Dominicis, Brianna High, Joey Walsh and Joseph Lee – also received medals on June 1 to recognize their top performance.
The challenges focus on skills ranging from addition to algebra and are organized into skill sets. Each skill set includes 24 games constructed of three levels that teach students to build their skills as they progress through each level. An assessment tool is also built into the challenges to measure student performance and define skill areas in need of improvement.
As part of the challenges, students earn electronic award stickers, similar to points, for correctly solving problems of increasing difficulty. The stickers earned by each student are combined for a classroom "team" total and school total.
Students at Matula solved more than 2.5 million math problems on the First in Math website this year, which averages to about 20,000 problems per student. Each student received a user identification number and password to participate online at their own pace.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,700 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 caring community schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX Coordinator and Section 504 Coordinator (students), or Keith Hettel, Section 504 Coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, Maryland 20646; (301) 932-6610/870-3814. For special accommodations call (301) 934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.