AmeriCorps in Action

Ariana Wright

Legislative Testimony from Ariana Wright, Principal at Kasson-Mantorville

Editor’s Note: In the 2019 Minnesota Legislative Session, principal Ariana Wright testified on behalf of Minnesota Math Corps in order to help secure funding for the future. Read how Math Corps has impacted her students at Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School
Madame Chairperson, members of the committee. My name is Ariana Wright and I am the principal at Kasson-Mantorville Elementary school.  We are a K-4 building with 840 students. We are located near Rochester in a rural setting with a growing population of newcomers and English learners – some that have not been in schools for years.
Districts are continuously searching for high quality math intervention resources that aren’t just rote practice – but offer a true understanding of numbers and number concepts.
Math Corps is the key –the intensity of the interventions and the partnership between students lead to tremendous gains in student growth. We know early intervention makes all the difference.
Because we are one of the lowest districts in the funding formula and we don’t have additional funding – we do a great deal of instruction with very little resources. Programs like this are so critical to us.
When we look at our lowest 10% of students and how they are growing compared to the highest 10%, our students who need more intervention are not growing as quickly – so our gap isn’t closing. Math Corps is an excellent strategy to support that group.
We’ve also seen an uptick in our special education population, and know that programs like Math Corps and Reading Corps will help reduce the number of referrals to those programs.
Individuals who choose to serve in AmeriCorps programs such as Math Corps and Reading Corps are a gift to our schools – they are our heroes.  In particular – I’m thinking of one member named Shirley who came to us in her retirement, knowing that she wanted to give back. Her AmeriCorps service provides the opportunity for deep relationships with our staff, families and our communities, which in turn provides a rich learning experience for our students. Relationships matter to students now more than ever – and providing that through an AmeriCorps member like Shirley has been tremendous to our student success.
Math Corps is a critical component to be sure we are serving all our students. Students need immediate feedback to check their thinking and that extra dose of adult support will help them bust the myth that math is something they can’t do. When we do that, we’ll have a community filled with confident learners, who will one day become our workforce, our taxpayers and our voters.

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