FLEMINGTON, NJ - Flemington-Raritan schools are answering the call for additional math instruction with a program called Project Impact: Math.
Through the program, 15 teachers will provide a total of 610 hours of additional online math instruction to 20 students each in grades five through eight.
Superintendent Dr. Kari McGann introduced the program Thursday, along with three others: Project Impact: STEM, Project Impact: Engage and Project Impact: ESL.
Project Impact: STEM will offer students take-home science, technology, engineering and mathematics kits. Project Impact: Engage will engage students in additional in-person instruction.
And Project Impact: ESL will assist English as a second language students with additional academic support.
“We are continuing with steady, determined progress,” said McGann.
“It has been very challenging this week managing the number of students, faculty and staff that have had to quarantine,” she added. “This big challenge right now requires big work on our part.”
Over the last week, McGann has sent out a number of emails to the school community with information about more cases of COVID noted at the schools. Although a number of the people testing positive were in the building prior to winter vacation, some did test positive at the beginning of January, leading to a number of quarantines throughout the district.
Hunterdon County is still considered an orange-high risk for COVID-19, based on the number of cases throughout the municipalities. The district is working to keep the doors open for in-person instruction, but, in letters to parents, have noted that it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage the number of staff, faculty and students who are required by the department of health to quarantine and be excluded from school.
McGann acknowledged many parents’ desire to have fully in-person instruction.
“Right now, I cannot have all students back every day,” she said.
Due to social distancing requirements, McGann said, it is not currently possible to bring all students back into the classroom for in-person instruction.
“I’m very proud of the step we’re taking,” she said. “I do recognize that it is one step in a very long journey.”
“It requires such great resiliency from my team here in Flemington-Raritan,” she added. “The commitment they have is second to none. I continue to be honored to serve with such a dedicated team.”
Board member Valarie Bart expressed the desire to expand the programs to include more students. Initially, the program will be offered to 300 students.
“The reason why these programs are targeting grades five through eight is because grades kindergarten through four are still having math every day,” said board vice president Jessica Abbott.
Board member Marianne Kenny praised the initiatives, and suggested the possibilities for tutors as needed.
“I know at the high school some of the National Honors students, they tutor for free,” she said. “I love these ideas. I applaud Dr. McGann for these initiatives, but knowing where to find a tutor might be beneficial as well.”
Kristen Boyce, of Flemington, expressed displeasure with the program plans and the limited scope of students it would affect.
“I realize we’re in a global pandemic, nothing is normal right now,” she said. "But it’s not an equitable program.”
Boyce noted the program will only help 22 percent of fifth through eighth graders initially.
“In my opinion, this is a band-aid,” she said. “Students should not have to ask for extra help to get taught their math. This is a far cry from acceptable. Our children are the ones who are suffering.”