JHS Math Support Class Helps Students Pass Regents

Raquel Ruch helps her students with math activities during her English as a New Language math support class. The class currently meets every other day to work on math and vocabulary skills. P-J photos by Katrina Fuller

A class at Jamestown High School in its second year is gearing up to help students pass the Regents exam.

Thanks to Raquel Ruch, JHS math teacher, and Travis Moore, BOCES resource specialist, several English as a New Language students have been meeting every other day to work on math and vocabulary skills. Last year, every student who participated in the class passed their Regents exam, and the hope is the second round of students will do the same.

Using different math activities, groupings and other learning tools, Ruch and Moore are helping the students aim high when it comes to algebra. Ruch said for the group activities, students are put in certain groupings due to their language and math abilities. She uses data from the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test, school data and assessment data from the classroom to learn more about the students, and put them into adequate groupings. Ruch said she also communicates with the students’ algebra teachers as well.

While this semester, the class meets every other day, next semester the group will meet every day, she said.

“We work on their language skills, especially their math language skills,” Ruch said. “And, we work on math skills they may not have received because they came from out-of-state or Puerto Rico. It’s a mixture of language and math foundational skills.”

The class give students a sense of comfort, she said. It allows the students to open up and try new things.

“It’s OK to make mistakes and to practice your English,” Ruch said. “This is more of an AIS that focuses on math and language – it’s not just one or the other.”

Moore said the class works because the students are learning at their own pace where they are academically.

“It’s differentiated so the kids are getting instruction at their level,” he said. “It allows them to interact over math. It hits every gap they’re missing.”

He said it is also successful because Ruch builds a healthy rapport with the students.

“They’re a good group of kids who want to learn and are doing their best to pass a really hard test,” Ruch said.

In February, Moore and Ruch will give a presentation on the class at Niagara University at a conference to 200 or 300 teachers.

Joseph Rodriguez, a tenth-grader at Jamestown High School, said he went through the class last year and found it helped him with his Regents exam. While there often wasn’t time in to go over certain things he was confused about in his regular math class, Rodriguez said the support class gave him a chance to go over them with the teacher and his pees.

“Sometimes we did stations which help with your English skills, and sometimes we went to the computer lab,” he said.

As for his Regents exam, Rodriguez said he did better than he thought he would. Overall, he said he would recommend the class.

“In high school, they let you choose your classes a little bit, and if anyone needs help, I would recommend her (Mrs. Ruch),” he said.