Record three District Five schools win DreamBox math challenge

By: 
Kaelyn Cashman

Spartanburg District Five recently produced a record three winners of the national DreamBox Learning Spring Math Challenge, which took place from March 13-31.
DreamBox is an adaptive learning school program seeking to help students learn math as well as identify problem areas for teachers to address.
Kara Bradigan’s second grade class at Duncan Elementary won the national grand prize for the small classroom category while Sarah Cann’s fourth graders at Duncan and Paula Richards’ sixth graders at Beech Springs Intermediate were also selected as winners.
“My class worked so hard to achieve this goal, and I am beyond proud of them,” Bradigan said. “They took this challenge very seriously and did all they could to help each other with different lessons.”
“The math challenge is a program that DreamBox learning runs biannually,” said Kate Hodgins with DreamBox, “and the goal is to really encourage students and teachers to spend more time focused on math learning.
“During this time, students are encouraged to complete as many lessons as they can using DreamBox learning adaptive platform,” she said. “By doing so, it’s helping the students build confidence in their understanding of math while they build and demonstrate fluency in the subject.”
The winners of the math challenge are based on the total number of lessons completed in their category. More than 5,500 classrooms participated, and the three D5 classes completed a total of 6,570 math lessons.
“Every time one of my students finished a lesson, they would scream out ‘I finished a lesson!’ and as a class we would stop what we were doing and cheer for them,” said Bradigan. “The class came together and worked together unlike anything I had ever seen, they celebrated each others accomplishments; it was heartwarming to see.”
“Some of the lessons were very hard for them to complete,” she continued, “but they would come up to my table and we would work through them together.”
As a grand prize winner, Bradigan will receive five Chromebooks for use in the school. Bradigan, along with Cann and Richards, will receive a $100 gift card to celebrate, and the students will receive DreamBox backpacks with goodies.
“We’re really excited for this district and these students,” Hodgins said. “We’re just thrilled at the dedication and the commitment that the teachers, the administration and the district as a whole has to promoting math learning and really encouraging students to stretch.”
“Math, for many students, is a frightening subject,” she continued. “It can be hard and challenging. The students in DreamBox, they’re finding extra time to complete their lessons at home.”
“I heard District 5 was the place to be, and I was lucky enough to get a job and work with some of the most amazing people and students,” Bradigan said. “The best part about teaching is that every day is a fresh start.  Also, those kids will say or do something, and you can't help but smile.”
“I have had the privilege of having most of these students for two years (first and now second grade),” she continued. “This has been the most amazing year, and I will miss these kids terribly next year.”
Bradigan, Richards and Cann all competed in the DreamBox math challenge for the first time this year. DreamBox started the challenges in the spring of 2015.
“After sharing with my students and pumping them up about the prizes, we began completing lessons,” Richards said. “They would work to complete lessons during their Morning Work, Computer Lab time, and after we had our Math lesson each day. Some students even worked on completing lessons at home.”
Her favorite memory came from “the excitement in the student’s faces when they found out they won,” she said. “This is my second year at BSIS, and I’m so honored to have a teaching position I love, kids that are awesome, and I’m super close to home and my family.”
District five is a DreamBox district and a part of the DreamBox community, Cann said. The district receives newsletters from DreamBox and updates from the technology coaches, highlighting different DreamBox events and challenges.
“We registered right away to be sure we were in the competition,” Cann said. “From there, I set class and student goals that I knew they could all accomplish.”
“The competition would send us an updated leaderboard every week, and the first week I got it, we were in third place,” she continued. “We couldn't believe it. That got the ball rolling for us, and the students were super motivated.”
The last day of the competition was the day before spring break, Cann said.
“All my students wanted to do was play DreamBox during their free time,” Cann said. “It was so awesome.”
“When the results came out, I couldn't wait to get back to school to tell my kids,” she continued.
Both Cann’s morning and afternoon classes competed in the competition, Cann said. “My morning class was the class that won, but my afternoon class got second place. I am just as proud of them too.”

kaelyn@greercitizen.com | 877-2076

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