On April 14, I had the pleasure of working with Hall school fifth-graders on a fun but highly applicable math project during STEM Day. In addition to volunteering for STEM Day, for the past few years I have been recruiting Colby students to go into the Mitchell school to work on math with the children.

These experiences have given me first-hand understanding of how incredibly under-resourced our schools are and how amazing and resilient the teachers and specialists are. I could double or triple the number of Colby students going to the Hall and Mitchell schools to work on math, but the math specialist and teachers do not have the time to coordinate their visits. We need additional teachers and specialists in our elementary schools. We need to give the teachers we have more resources.

The children I worked with during STEM Day brought a huge range of interest and abilities to the project — some of them exclaimed, “This is so cool!” while others had to be constantly brought back to the task at hand.

I was overwhelmed by the children’s social, literacy, and mathematical needs. I was very impressed at the ability of the teachers to quickly absorb the nature of the project (they hadn’t seen it in advance) and to engage the children in it. The day would not have been successful without the teachers and, especially, without the advance help of the Mitchell and Hall school math specialist.

These are professional and talented, but exhausted, people. Let’s not burn them out; let’s give them the resources they need to help Waterville’s children become adept and thoughtful readers, creative problem solvers, and technologically proficient citizens.

Scott Taylor


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