Math Night highlights new partnership program

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By Tom Wilmoth

    Some 50 students from Moneta Elementary School found out Monday that math is more than a subject in school: It has real life uses!


    They did that by counting stacks of oranges, figuring out how much $20 could buy for a family meal and many other activities set up to encourage them to use math while exploring the Food Lion in Moneta
    The Math Night event was part of a school and business partnership pilot program being implemented this year through Bedford County Public Schools.
    The Food Lion event helped kickoff the partnership program, which is a part of the BCPS strategic plan.
    Moneta Elementary is one of two schools in Bedford County (Big Island Elementary is the other) that is piloting the new program, with plans to expand to all of the county’s schools by 2016. The school recently formed a partnership with its local Food Lion, which has been providing valuable educational experiences to Moneta students.
    Monday’s interactive program for students provided a variety of age-appropriate problems posted throughout the store, each having relevance to food in the aisles in which they’re posted. Students had  work  sheets  provided by Food Lion, and they traveled around the store to solve the problems. Funding for the event came through a cooperative effort with the store and a 21st Century Grant.
    Students and their families were treated to a meal as they registered and then picked up their sheets to begin their tasks.
    Moneta Food Lion Store Manager John Novitsky sought out the school to offer the partnership.
    “Food Lion is here to serve our community and enjoys the opportunity to work so closely with our local school children and their families,” he said.
    Food Lion donated books, prizes and gift cards that were given out during Monday’s event.
    Body Camp Elementary will be holding a Math Night at the Moneta Food Lion next week.
    The new partnership program challenges schools with the task of seeking and forming partnerships with businesses that are a natural fit to the educational and financial needs of the school.
    Moneta Elementary Principal Barbara Rezzonico said the partnership with the store and support Moneta Elementary has realized has given the school the opportunity to provide its students with a variety of unique learning experiences. “We are honored and privileged as a school to have such a supportive partner,” Rezzonico said.
    The school is also working to expand its business partnerships through a recycling program and a gardening program.
    School Superintendent Dr. Douglas Schuch said the goal of the partnership program is to improve the schools’ relationships with area businesses.
     “We are very excited about our new school business partnership program and its potential to improve community support for our schools,” stated Dr. Schuch. “We have so many great businesses in Bedford County, like the Moneta Food Lion, and we are hopeful that we will see the growth of business partnerships, as this pilot program develops over the next several years.”
    The goal, he said, is to look for common ground for the businesses and schools to share. “This is a great way to kick it off,” he said of Monday’s event. “Hopefully this will help make it easier for the next school to get something off the ground.”
    Third-grader Andy Gloudemans was enjoying his assignment, as he counted the stack of oranges in the fruit and vegetables section.  His mom, Kim Gloudemans, who also teaches at Moneta Elementary, agreed.
    “I think it’s great,” she said. “It’s fun for the kids. They can see math (at work) in real life.”