By Sara Shepherd
HERMISTON Students at Sunset Elementary School are perfecting their math skills one minute at a time and are on their way to becoming the Einsteins and wizards of Hermiston.
Sunset is using the Einstein and Wizard Math Fluency Program as a way for students to learn math skills, while having fun doing it, said Linda White, Sunset first-grade teacher.
"We are trying to help kids with basic math," said Lindy Thompson, Sunset staff.
Each day, kindergarten through fifth-grade students have one minute to complete 50 math problems. If they finish the entire worksheet with 100 percent accuracy, they get to move on to the next level.
The program is built around 14 levels. Students must complete the first seven before they are considered Einsteins. The following seven levels have to be completed before they reach the level of Wizard.
After the students pass a level, they are rewarded by receiving a free bag of popcorn.
The students who have become Wizards, completing the highest math levels for the school, get to go on a one-on-one luncheon with Principal Shawn Worstell the restaurant is the choice of the student.
Each grade level can achieve Einstein and Wizard levels the computational skills are broken into skill levels. For example, a second grade student who has completed the Einstein and/or Wizard levels, will begin all over again the following year as a third grader.
The program is a hit with both teachers and students.
"I like writing the numbers," said Zane McDonald, one of the three school-wide Wizards.
McDonald says that because of his accomplishments with the math program, his parents are taking him on a trip to Disneyland in May.
Another Sunset Wizard, Amanda Pollick, says that she practices at home to do well at school.
She already has her restaurant picked out when she reaches wizard level the Panda Inn Restaurant.
White says that the staff and parents are in full support and participation of the program. The teachers are putting a lot of attention toward the program and have noticed an improvement in the students' math abilities.
"The overall enthusiasm of the children is great," said White.
Already, Sunset students have passed a new level 1,300 times. Sunset has a school-wide goal of 1,804 students passing at least one level in the math program. The goal is in conjunction with the school's Lewis and Clark theme 1804 is the year Lewis and Clark began their journey.
In January, the school celebrated the first 1,000 passes by the end of the month by dressing up as Einsteins, including Worstell.
Thompson says that the school has been working to provide a math program that will help raise the overall math benchmarks. She said the Einstein and Wizard Math Fluency Program is helping the school take a big step in that direction.
For more information contact Sunset Elementary School at 667-6700.