Students at St. Aloysius Elementary Academy in Jersey City have risen to the challenge of keeping the school’s First in Math® winning streak alive! For the third year in a row, 8th grade students have added the title of “#1 First in Math® Team in the Nation” to their list of accomplishments.
First in Math® is an online program that enables students to build their math skills by playing math games. As students complete games and levels, they are awarded virtual stickers. The First in Math® program tracks and ranks teams, individual players, and schools based upon the number of stickers awarded. Ranking is done at the grade and school levels.
On Friday, June 10, representatives from the company visited St. Aloysius, 721 West Side Avenue, for an awards ceremony.
“My class and I are ecstatic,” said 8th grade teacher Ms. Maribelle Ordonez. “This class isn’t always easy to motivate, but when challenged, they did not want to stop playing! I could not be prouder.”
The class theme is “We rise by lifting others.” Ms. Ordonez used this to get the students to work together as a team. That strategy worked. Ms. Ordonez added that she believes all of the time spent solving problems for the competition led to the increase in their standardized test scores. Principal Helen O’Connell added, “Students at St. Al’s have always liked to face a challenge, so I gave this class a big one … to win the # 1 Team title, for the third year in a row and to do it better than the last two classes. I am so proud of them and all that they have accomplished. They really reached for it and went far above their potential.”
Students were asked how they felt about the competition. One student summed up their experience by saying, “In the beginning of the year I honestly didn’t think we would make it, but my class surprised me and I surprised myself.” Another said, “If Ms. Ordonez hadn’t motivated us to play, I don’t think we could have accomplished what we achieved today.” When asked if they noticed an improvement in their math skills by playing First in Math®, one student replied, “First in Math® helped me to gain self-confidence in my math work and enabled me to do mental math. Most of all it taught me how to achieve goals, without giving up, and to work together as a team.”
In addition to earning the #1 Team title, St. Aloysius Elementary Academy finished the competition with 8 students ranked in the “Top 100 Players in the Nation.” At the school level of the competition, St. Al’s was ranked as the “#1 School in the New Jersey” and the “# 3 School in the Nation.”
Students from the Kindergarten through the eighth grade use this math program. Throughout the school year, student participation is encouraged and recognized by announcing the names of the players and teams that earn high scores. Students and teams were motivated to become “Player of the Day,” “Team/Player of the Week,” and “Team/Player of the Month.”
For more information about the competition or St. Aloysius Elementary Academy, visit www.stalselem.org.