Romeville fourth-graders are ‘Making the Connection’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 7, 2000

DANIEL TYLER GOODEN / L’Observateur / October 7, 2000

CONVENT – Romeville Elementary fourth-graders nearly fell out of their chairs recently as they struggled to get their hands high enough to answer a question posed by Theresa Roy, human resources manager for American Iron Reduction.

The students traveled to AIR on a “Making the Connection” field trip, learning where the skills they are being taught today are used in the real world.

“The Making the Connection program emphasizes the benefits to learning now for the future. We show that what they’re learning in the classroom,we’re using here on a daily basis,” said Roy.

By bringing LEAP test education into the work place and using real life examples to explain concepts, everything should be easier to absorb and retain, added Roy.

The students don’t just attend a lecture out of school to forget it later.

“The day of the old field trips are gone,” said Elvis Cavalier, St. James Parishdirector of student programs. The new field trips are designed in conjunctionwith both a pre and post-test to help the student get the maximum amount of learning out of every trip. “Every question is analyzed. Everything thingsaid or done is for a purpose,” added Cavalier.

Dr. James Barr of Nicholls State University evaluates and helps design thetests, carefully watching even the wording of every sentence.

The students studied maps, graphs, estimation, patterns and other subjects before taking the pretest. Roy explained the processes involved in thecompany and showed how those subjects are used daily. The students thentook a post-test, which also helps to evaluate the design of Making the Connection program.

Gary Miller, external affairs manager at Motiva Enterprises, Convent, has been involved from the business side of the program since Making a Connection started.

“The reason you learn something in school is to use it out here,” said Miller.

The field trips just give a direct example of that.

“We tie everything back into occupations. Additionally, we no longer takeemployees with just a high school degree. The need to continue on ineducation is shown also,” said Miller.

The program is good in Miller’s opinion, not only because it is designed to improve LEAP test scores but it also “de-mystifies what we do out here,” he said. Most students have relatives or friends who work in a local plant, and atrip to the companies help make that connection as well.

“It all comes at a small cost, soda and my time, but it affects every fourth- and eighth-grader,” said Miller.

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