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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

New math teacher at alternative school

Friday, January 24, 2003

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Two weeks ago, Matt Renn accepted his first teaching job in Clay County after graduating from Indiana State University two years ago.

He teaches math at the new alternative school and a lot of it. He has seventh and eighth grade math, problem solving, pre-algebra, algebra and geometry to middle, junior and high students and teaches keyboarding, physical education and seventh and eighth grade English. Renn has six middle school students and three high school students in his classes now, but expects numbers to fluctuate during the course of the year.

Students go across campus to North Clay Middle School every day from 2:30 to 3 p.m. for P.E.

"We just started going over to the middle school last week, so I'm still trying to figure out what all equipment is available over there. We played basketball last week because the kids are really into the season. They're all participating," he said.

Renn graduated from Silver Creek High School in Sellersburg, Ind., a small town by New Albany. He had about 130 students in his class with about 550 in the school. With the help of a four-year basketball scholarship, he received his bachelor's degree from ISU in secondary education with a focus on math.

"I visited the old church and this is definitely a step up," he said of the new building.

"We're still working out the bugs and trying to get settled. Computers are ordered but not in. Hardware and the telephone system need to be installed. Lockers were ordered but aren't here yet. And I still need to order some file cabinets and other furniture," Maryann Reed, director of student and community programs, said.

Adult secondary credits allow students to earn up to eight credits toward their high school diploma. Amanda Sebastian teaches the classes in the afternoon and evenings Monday through Thursday. Afternoon classes may have around eight students but as many as 25 students are in her evening classroom.

The four core subjects are taught the first half of the day in classrooms set up for about 10 students. Mark Rambis teaches social studies, Jennie Menser teaches science and Renn teaches math.

The three teachers divide English students. Rambis teaches juniors and seniors, Menser teaches freshmen and sophomores and Renn has middle school students. Reed looks for an English teacher to come on board as student numbers increase. Other classes, such as art, will also be added eventually.

The building's capacity is 60 and 21 students are currently enrolled.

"We can go up to around 30 to 33 students before we stop taking referrals until we have more staff," Reed said.

Elective courses and rotating study halls are available during the second half of the day. Students may choose from a variety of electives or attend an additional class of core subject if they need to make up more credit in that area.

It will be next August before the outside school suspension room is available. Reed said all the details need to be worked out of the program first. Teachers and administrators are considering various options for the program. One option would allow parents to enroll their students in this program while suspended and class credits could be earned instead of loosing them. Space for six to seven students is available and an instructional assistant will need to be hired to supervise those students.

The new building was built with funds provided by the CAPE grant (Community Alliances Promoting Education by Lilly Endowment Inc.).



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