## ACT help focus of teacher’s fundraiser

Published 3:23 pm Thursday, February 3, 2022

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

A math teacher at Verbena High School is hoping to give students tools for success by providing graphing calculators for her students.

Molly Cameron has been working to collect funds for TI-84 CE calculators for her juniors in high school for advanced math classes and the ACT.

“To begin with I entered a high school grant competition in 2020, in the middle of the COVID crisis, for CBS 42 and won $1,000,” Cameron said. “That bought eight graphing calculators. So, I started asking around about other ways to raise money. Miss Beth Ann Pope and Mrs. Taylor Hardee, two of our middle school teachers, told me I should try DonorsChoose. After contemplating for a month, I decided to try it out. Within two months, I had another $1,000 for calculators! Before Christmas, I was awarded another grant through AdoptAClassroom for more calculators.”

However, as the funding has come in, the need has grown.

“Next year, I have a much larger class that will be juniors,” Cameron said. “Right now, I am needing at least 20 more calculators to complete my supply for that class. I have estimated the cost to be around $3,000 and am actively applying for grants.

She is also asking the community for help through a DonorsChoose funding page at donorschoose.org/project/weapons-of-math-instruction/5889323/ . She has until Feb. 5 to meet her funding goal.

The calculators will do more than help students with homework, they could also help students improve ACT scores, which opens more scholarship opportunities.

Cameron felt her students should be scoring higher on the ACT, and discovered many of her students were taking the ACT with just a basic calculator or none at all.

“My students need the same advantages on college entrance exams as other students,” Cameron said. “Before they got the calculators, their main question to me was how did students taking the ACT with them finish the math section so early. Many of my students would only finish 50% of the math portion before their time was up. They believed that the students from other schools were smarter than they were because they finished quicker. The difference was not in their intellectual ability, but in the tools they had available.”

Cameron has attended specific training for teaching how to use the TI-84 calculator to prepare for the math portions of the ACT.

“This class was invaluable and encouraged me to have my students work ACT questions every day,” Cameron said. “I have slowly been implementing the suggestions I learned and am already seeing some results.”

Calculators are usually something schools encourage students or their parents to buy, but Cameron said many at Verbena cannot afford the about $140 price tag of a graphing calculator.