Principal wants innovative thinkers

Published 12:04 am Saturday, October 29, 2016

MT. AIRY — Visitors recently took a walk through the world of science, technology, engineering and math during Garyville-Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School’s Patron Tour.

Each month, the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District is inviting the community into a different school to see what public education looks like today.

Next month’s tour is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Nov. 11 at Fifth Ward Elementary School in Reserve.

GMMS Principal Terran Perry opened the Oct. 20 tour by speaking about the need for STEM education.

“In today’s world what companies are looking for are innovative thinkers,” he said.

“They are looking for problem solvers. They are looking for young adults who think critically, who can improve solutions, so what we’ve found is we have to start nurturing our kids in math and nurturing our kids as problem-solvers, innovative thinkers and with those kinds of skills we have to start early.”

Perry, who is in his first year as principal, said his goal is to build an environment where students develop a love for math, science and thinking in general.

“We’re working hard here and we’re working to give these kids the best education possible,” he said.

“This is a great place to be and I can tell you this when we go into the classrooms our teachers are teaching our kids to high levels.”

Visitors were able to visit several areas throughout the school, including math classrooms where students used handheld responders to log answers and interact with their teacher and the room where the Teacher Advancement Program takes place.

They also learned about Project Lead the Way, a program that engages students in hands-on activities, projects and problems to empower them to solve real-world challenges.

Students participating in the program this year are learning design, three-dimensional and computer-aided modeling and statistical analysis of their work with the ultimate goal of creating, modeling and then building a prototype of a therapeutic toy for a child with cerebral palsy.

Project Lead the Way has been available in high school and was expanded to the middle school level this year.

Guests also got the opportunity to participate in a mock Math and Science Quiz Bowl.

The school randomly selects grade levels to compete against each other in the quiz bowl each month.

Emma Morris, who has three grandchildren at GMMS, said she is excited about what she sees happening at the school.

“There are great changes — the moral of the children, the moral of the teachers,” she said.

“They have found a way to motivate kids to want to learn and to be happy. It’s a great place to be.”