Teaching To Its Name: Garyville/Mt. Airy introducing math, science accelerator program

Published 12:15 am Saturday, April 8, 2017

RESERVE — The name didn’t match the product at Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School so a radically enhanced admissions-based accelerator program will be added for the start of the 2017-18 academic year.

St. John the Baptist Parish School Board members unanimously approved, with one absent member, new entrance requirements for specialized education in math and science that would be offered on campus within the current structure.

Not all attendees would be in the program, only those who met and maintained admissions requirements.

Open to anyone in St. John Parish, the program is open to kindergarten through eighth grade students and provides advanced credit opportunities in computer literacy, web design, engineering design, oil and gas reduction, geometry and algebra.

Superintendent Kevin George opened discussion on the measure Thursday by saying the school was long called math and science magnet without offering anything different than other locations in the District.

“We brought on (principal Terran) Perry at the beginning of this year to change that,” George said. “That was his core mission. Mr. Perry has done a phenomenal job this year of working with the school, the community, with the Board to put his vision into this school.”

Perry said a magnet school is designed to benefit the school district and have a positive impact on the community it serves.

“We want it to be a program for parents of kids who are able to go above and beyond in math and science,” Perry said. “A parent may have a kid in third grade who is performing math on a fifth grade level. You have to have District programs for that. That is what the math and science school is for.

“We also want to have programs for students and parents who want their kids to excel in math and science. A true magnet school is laced with programs that are designed to cater to both groups of students.”

The program is designed to individualize learning starting in kindergarten with a goal by the end of third grade to have them ready for the accelerator program.

For students in kindergarten through third grade to enter the program, they must have earned at least “mastery” on the District exam or qualify for gifted and talented.

Fourth through eighth grade students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or a 2.5 while scoring “mastery or above” in math on their standardized tests.

A contract element between student, parents and school will also be a part of the math and science program.