NEWTON GROVE — When it comes to college basketball and March Madness, Principal Jeff Bradshaw had the same feelings of the Gonzaga Bulldogs when it came to reaching the national championship game. But instead of battling for more points on the court, students from Hobbton Middle School (HMS) competed using an interactive math program.
“We finished number two in the nation,” Bradshaw said with a smile. “I kind of know how Gonzaga feels. You have a great season, you get to the final one and you lose her at the end.”
But excitement is still in the air at the school. Out of more than 13,000 schools, HMS was the National Runner-Up in Imagine Learning’s “Math Madness.” Formerly known as Think Through Math, the Imagine Math program offers an online tutorial with a purpose to motivate students to understand and enjoy the subject.
At HMS, the math learners participated at all grade levels. Instruction is catered to each individual and is based on Common Core math standards. Live assistance from certified educators is provided when students log on.
The competition borrows from NCAA’s tournament concept, through activities such as the average number of lessons passed, completed and the amount of math help received. Quizzes are also completed for each lesson.
In 2016, HMS advanced to the Elite Eight and did better in 2017 by reaching the Final Four and the final two. The school finished as the runner-up.
“That’s incredible and I’m very proud of our students,” he said about the students completing lessons at school and home.
For their work, the students were awarded with incentives such as an ice cream party and pizza. A dance is also in the works in addition to a larger celebration with officials from Imagine Learning.
Wesley Johnson, director of digital learning and accountability for Sampson County Schools, provided middle schools with licenses to use the programs. Bradshaw said students who’ll benefit the most from the program are selected. In the process, End-of-Grade Test scores also improve.
“Each school can select which students they want to enroll in the program,” Bradshaw said. “Students come in and out of the program throughout the year as needed. But we’re thankful that we got those licenses and we use them.”
Natasha Owens Peterson, HMS computer lab facilitator, guided students through the process.
“She’s done an outstanding job doing this,” Bradshaw said.
Like others in the school, Peterson was pleased with the honor. She said it’s important to motivate the participants with the challenging program.
“This program helps them get better and be prepared for high school math,” Peterson said. “It may even help them with college too.”
For Peterson, it was a blessing from God to place second. Next year, HMS’s goal is to be No. 1.
“Next year, we’re looking to win it all,” Bradshaw said.