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DeWitt:: Board hears JDMS goals, successes

The Jamesville-DeWitt Board of Education got a lesson in the three R's from J-D Middle School students and teachers at Monday night's meeting.

Principal Jeff Craig led the annual review of education and achievements by JDMS by outlining the goals for the remainder of the year and the beginning preparation for next year, a task he compared to changing the tires and driving the car at the same time.

"This is very important," Craig said about the chance for his students and faculty to present to the board. "We have a responsibility to provide information about learning. At the same time, we're pretty proud of the things we do here, so we're glad to talk about learning and the successes we have."

The JDMS Math Team and coach Linda Gangemi, winners of four consecutive Onondaga County Middle School Math League championships, brought sample competition questions for the board members.

"It's fun," eighth-grader Erik Davis said of quizzing the board. "We should have given them harder ones."

Superintendent Dr. Alice Kendrick tried out her math skills on the test.

"It was fantastic to get first-hand experience with their tests," she said. "It's good we didn't have to put our names on it, though."

The team, made up of eighth-graders Davis, Lydia Nevin, Larry Duan and Andrew Lee and seventh-grader Aaron Chen, has one more competition left this year.

On the other end of the spectrum, JDMS English teachers presented their advances in writing education. Using the "6+1 Traits" system to supplement the traditional coursework adds structure to writing improvements in well-defined areas like Ideas, Organization and Voice.

Teachers are also pressing for creativity in writing by using illustrated books to tap into student's imagination. One example, a book with a list of the real reasons for "Grown-Up Rules," tells students why not to blow bubbles in your milk. The "real" reason, reason No. 59, is that it creates a vacuum and sucks your face into the glass. Of course, that doesn't happen, but students can then take that idea and get creative with their own Grown-Up Rule.

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