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Sarah Janssen | The Journal Gazette
Makayla Yoder, third-grader at Cedarville Elementary School, works on the First In Math program.
education notebook

Cedarville kids go First in Math

Cedarville Elementary third-grade teacher Larry Linson walked around the computer lab Thursday answering questions and offering encouragement to students working diligently on desktop computers.

Isaiah Krieg furiously typed in some numbers then pumped his fist in the air a couple of times after receiving confirmation that he got the right answer. Around his neck was a “Player of the Day” badge, which he earned after achieving 199 stickers the day before in a game called First in Math.

“It’s a fun educational game,” Isaiah said matter-of-factly.

First in Math is an online program that was introduced to elementary schools in East Allen County Schools about a year ago, but usage exploded this year, Cedarville Principal Brad Backle said. The program is based on state and national math standards and is designed to supplement classroom curriculum.

It’s a game, but Linson said First in Math teaches important skills like critical thinking and problem solving along with lessons in fractions, multiplication and division, equations, patterns, measurements and angles. It also meets students where they are and allows them to work at their own pace. Advanced students, like Isaiah, work on problems that are at a junior-high level while in the third grade.

And students work hard to earn stickers and other achievements to compete with the classmates, other students in the school and students across the state and country.

The program provides the rankings, and Linson’s class is ranked first in the state. Many of his students are ranked in the top 10 individually in the state.


•The National Society of High School Scholars has selected Homestead High School senior Alison Mansfield as the recipient of the Robert Sheppard Leadership Award and $2,500 scholarship as well as the National Scholar Award and $1,000 scholarship. Both awards will be presented on Aug. 17 at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.

•Area students were recognized at the 2013 Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) Career Development Conference, the final state competition that challenges participants to demonstrate employability skills that took place on April 19 in Indianapolis: Lucas Clark, a senior from Huntington North High School, placed third in the critical thinking competition and was awarded $250 to use for higher education. Che’Teria Jackson, a senior from New Haven High School, was a finalist for the JAG Indiana’s Outstanding Senior Award. She received $500.


•Grace College Fort Wayne is inviting interested students and families to an open house from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 23 at 1027 W. Rudisill Blvd., Suite 101. Register online at or by calling 469-4070.


•The community is invited to a retirement celebration for Huntington University President G. Blair and Mrs. Chris Dowden at 6:30 p.m. May 21 in the upper level of Habecker Dining Commons. The Dowdens will be retiring after 22 years of service on May 31. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by May 14 by calling or emailing Darlene Fairchild at 359-4005 or

Education Notebook listings appear on Mondays. To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne, IN 46802-0088; fax 461-8893; or email at least two weeks before desired publication.