Arthina Blanchard: Teaming up with parents to deliver math success

Parents might not expect to hear from their child’s teacher unless the student has stirred up trouble in class. But parents with children in Arthina Blanchard’s classes at East Cary Middle School are used to seeing emails from her in their inboxes. Every Friday, Blanchard sends emails to parents explaining what students are working on and flagging key dates of quizzes and exams.

“I love that,” said parent Vickie Almond. “We feel like we know what’s going on, and I can help my son prepare on our end for what’s coming up.” Blanchard gives personal attention to her students, and knows their potential. Earlier this year when Almond’s son Hayes earned a lower-than-normal test score, Blanchard immediately emailed his parents to check in.

“I got an email within an hour saying it was out of character,” Almond said. “She really wants her students to do well. … I think parents need to work together with teachers.”

Blanchard has been teaching for eight years and currently teaches pre-algebra and algebra. She focuses on building students’ confidence, especially students who label themselves as being bad at math because they have not been successful in a past math course.

“Middle school is a quirky age. You’re not confident,” Blanchard said. “I just want them to feel confident in their ability to learn. I want them to feel like they can achieve if they work hard. Anything is attainable.”

Principal Kerry Chisnall nominated Blanchard for recognition. “She does not accept failure for her students,” he said. Last year, all but two of Blanchard’s 110 algebra students passed the end-of-course exam. “She was even visiting the homes and families of some students leading up to the exam,” Chisnall said.

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