Local math teacher named to Arkansas' Math Frameworks committee

Wednesday, June 9, 2004
Karalee Gibson, BIC West math teacher, has been named to the Arkansas' Math Frameworks committee. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Karalee Gibson, a 27 year veteran teacher at Buffalo Island Central West Elementary, has been named to the Arkansas' Math Frameworks Committee. In addition to her new appointment, Gibson served this year on the Arkansas' Benchmark math committee

Gibson has experience in most elementary grades and has taught fourth through sixth grade math at BIC West for the last 15 years. She taught first grade for nine years of her career and has taught fifth and sixth grade reading, science and social studies.

Gibson was raised in Monette and graduated from Monette High School. She and her husband, Larry, live at Needham.

Kima Stewart, BIC West Principal, said when BIC Counselor Phyllis McFarland attended meetings concerning the plans for updating the Benchmark tests she reported that a committee was being formed.

"Phyllis suggested that we look into getting a representative on the committee. I started calling the state department to see what qualifications were needed to serve," Stewart said. "Karalee had the background, the CMP training, and had attended the math crusaders training. Through the years Karalee has tried to attend everything that involves math. We were excited when she was selected to serve on the Benchmark math committee. Again, we are pleased that she has been appointed to the frameworks committee. She not only stays on tops of the upcoming changes, she shares the information throughout our district. We want to be prepared at every level for the changes. If we don't keep up, we will behind. Karalee has kept us updated and ahead of the game."

Gibson said math has gone from concrete to application math.

"The math part of the Benchmark is challenging. There is a lot of writing involved. Students may have to show three ways to solve a problem," Gibson said. "It is important for us to know what is in the planning. The main reason I accepted the appointment to serve on the committee is for the students. We need to stay on top of the changes."

Gibson said math has changed tremendously through the years.

"Years ago, e had computation, time, money, fractions, and measurements in the elementary. Algebra and Geometry are more in play today. There are five strands that include numbers properties and operation, Geometry, measurements, data statistics, probability and patterns, Algebra and functions. The "old-time math" had about one fifth of today's math," Gibson said.

Stewart said the junior high teachers are very complimentary of how prepared our students are for the junior high math curriculum.

"Even in high school some of the students recall what they have learned in the sixth grade," Stewart said.

Gibson said the state department is trying to get more teacher input through the committees.

"They are listening to the practitioners from the classrooms. The first framework was so broad that it was hard to interrupt," Gibson said.

The goal is to have the math framework in place by this fall and ready for adoption into the 2004-06 school year.

Gibson will spent two weeks in Little Rock this summer working with the Framework committee.

"I enjoyed working on the Benchmark committee. It helped me understand and realize the makings of what goes into it. I am looking forward to working with the Math Frameworks committee," she said.

"Karalee has taken a leadership role for the whole District," Stewart said. "She has met with our math professionals on the east, west and junior high campuses. She has communicated with kindergarten through ninth grade. It is important for the right hand to know what the left hand is doing. It prevents repetition."

"West Elementary has a commitment to academic excellence," Stewart said. "The new curriculum is more challenging but we will rise to the challenge. We will do whatever it takes. We are about business and our business is educating our young people. The teachers here are dedicated. As the framework changes, our teachers will make sure the lessons are meeting the changes. By working together I see our curriculum coming together across the grade levels."

Gibson has been nominated for the PAEMST Award. This award is given to outstanding teachers for excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Gibson said she felt honored to be nominated for this award. Gibson will attend an awards banquet on July 23 at UCA in Conway with other Arkansas nominees. This is a national award. The winner form Arkansas will go to Washington, D.C.

"It is a vigorous process to be nominated for this award," Stewart said. "Video tapes of her teaching, lesson plans, and copies of student's work had to be submitted. "We are very proud that she has received this honor."

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