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Brighton Academy Students Master Math and Promote Positivity

This is a photo of a male student wearing a hoodie, standing next to a posterboard with his project displayed. At Brighton Academy, students work each day to demonstrate PRIDE.
Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Dedication, and Excellence – character targets that the school refers to as their Habits of Work and Learning (HOWLs) – are part of every grade, every class, and every student’s daily experience.
And this winter, in Ms. Rocio and Ms. Harnett’s math classes, 7th grade Brighton Academy students had an opportunity to show what these traits look like to them. Thanks to a creative math project, students were tasked with creating a t-shirt design to demonstrate the traits. Ultimately, the winning t-shirt design would be printed as the 7th grade’s pride shirt for this school year!
After Ms. Harnett launched this project as a ‘Shark Tank’ idea during our hybrid learning year, last year was the first students got to engage with it in person. This year, with a new group of students on board, the project was expanded further.
To begin, school Office Assistant Mary Demperio spoke with students about the budget and ordering process, including distributor quotes and the series of steps required for approval, both prior to and after ordering. Students also enjoyed a visit from SCSD graduate Azi Goodrich, who spoke about his apparel business and the process he follows in designing his brand, The FAM. Then, students had to master various math concepts as they calculated the costs associated with ordering their designs, including the cost based on the amount of ink used, the area to be printed, the cost per shirt, the cost for tax, and the total cost of ordering shirts for the school’s entire seventh grade student body and staff.
“I learned how important it is to add every little detail, because you need every little thing to help find the answers,” Mark Beach explained. “From the guest speakers, we learned about how much the details matter. One mess up can cost you a lot! This project was fun because people were working together and not acting immaturely in class – because they wanted to win! We all chose to put all our focus on this. I learned that in life, you have to work. You’re not going to get what you want until you put in the effort. I had to work hard to get my grade up because I wanted to be one of the people whose design got chosen!”
“I loved this project because it made me be more creative,” Narie-onna Lucas said. “It made me get out of my shell! In math class, we don't usually get to do this kind of stuff... we didn't have to stay in our seats, and it was cool to have guest speakers. I learned that none of this is easy! Coming up with the creations was hard.”
After their designs and math work were complete, students were asked to create a polished poster to convince their peers and school staff of why their shirt is the best choice. Students who earned a grade of 80% or above qualified to have their shirt entered as a finalist, with staff ultimately voting for the winning design to be printed!
“Interdisciplinary projects that strive for high quality work and prioritize real life, relevant applications are part of the EL learning model,” Ms. Rocio explained. “Each year, student enthusiasm and interest grows – as well as their understanding of the Brighton HOWLS character targets – making proportional relationships and percentages more enjoyable and tangible concepts for all involved! This year, the addition of guest speakers opened the project beyond the classroom. It is exciting to see student interest grow, as they see examples and hear about the challenge. They have a voice on the school attire that the 7th grade will exclusively receive, and they can begin to foster a greater sense of membership in the Brighton community and how it relates to them.”
After a staff vote, Dey'Vion Coger’s t-shirt design was selected – featuring a variety of motivational quotes. Great work, Brighton scholars!
Anthony Q. Davis, Superintendent
725 Harrison Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
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