Thursday, April 17, 2008

Class Notes: ‘Count on Us’ math show may add award

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Answering students’ math questions paid off for Prince George’s math supervisor Judith Russ, who was nominated as a finalist for a national education award.

Russ is one of 44 finalists competing for the fourth annual Cable Leaders in Learning Award, a program run by Comcast and Cable in the Classroom, a nonprofit education foundation.

Russ, a district administrator at the county school system’s Instructional Support Services Center in Capitol Heights, is one of about a dozen teachers who alternate the hosting spot on ‘‘Count on Us,” a twice-weekly local cable program that invites Prince George’s students to call in math questions and get assistance from the hosts.

‘‘Sometimes our students do their homework, and they either have forgotten what they were taught during the day or their parents may not be readily available to assist them, so this is just another tool in determining an answer or figuring out a problem,” said Russ, 54, a former math teacher at Doswell E. Brooks Elementary School in Capitol Heights and Potomac Landing Elementary in Fort Washington. ‘‘It has been a tremendous success.”

The award-winning program was broadcast for 11 years before going off the air in 2001 because of budget constraints. The twice-weekly show was revived last year.

The school system’s Television Resource Department nominated Russ, a school system employee since 1986, for her work. She could win $3,000.

‘‘Count on Us” airs Mondays and Wednesdays on Comcast channel 96 or Verizon channel 38. The elementary school segment runs from 4 to 5 p.m., and the middle school segment runs from 5 to 6 p.m. Students can call the show at 301-772-0080 or e-mail with math questions.

School year getsone day longer

Prince George’s students got an extra day added to their school year, as officials adjusted the calendar last week to make up for a school cancellation Feb. 22 caused by bad weather.

The final day of the school year for students will be June 9 instead of June 6; the last day for county teachers was moved from June 9 to June 10. The last day for high school seniors will be May 22, giving graduates four more days to consult with teachers and counselors, Prince George’s school officials said.

More time could be added to the calendar if any springtime storms close schools, said school system spokesman John White.