New Addition

On Ramps gives students new choice


Geometry, algebra, pre-calculus, statistics and calculus. While consisting of varied options, Decatur’s math offerings have remained largely unchanged over the years, but 2022 brought a new class to the math department.

On Ramps, a dual enrollment algebra course, was introduced as a new addition this year. Taught by Jenna Barthold, the class is unique in a few ways.

Students, most days, are not sitting and getting the traditional notes as a whole class and the teacher working them all out with them,” Barthold said. “Instead students have pre-readings they read on each section and with their group they use the knowledge they read about and apply it to the exercises for that section.”

The class differs from other DHS courses due to its roots with the University of Texas. Rather than a traditional dual credit class run through Weatherford College, On Ramps is a program through the University of Texas, which means the class has its own standards and guidelines for both students and teachers to follow.

UT has set high expectations for the students as well as myself as a teacher,” Barthold said. “UT is really big on group work and teachers responding to students questions with questions, to help students become independent learners and not to depend on answers from teachers.”

Along with the self-led approach to learning, On Ramps has classes that include freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. With On Ramps being Algebra 2 focused before ramping up to college level material, Barthold uses the knowledge of the older students to assist those learning Algebra 2 for the first time.

The groups within each class consist of both levels at a table so the students who have at least seen the basic material before can help the younger students while working on the exercises,” Barthold said.

Sophomore Aaron Williamson, who is taking an Algebra 2 based course for the first time, finds the class challenging, but uses UT’s system of student-led learning to better understand the material.

“It has a lot to do with practice and learning things on your own,” Williamson said. “You still learn stuff in class, but you might have to rely on yourself to figure some things out.”

Since this is Decatur’s first year to offer On Ramps, there’s been an adjustment period as students learned the course layout, but Barthold holds high hopes for the second semester.

“We are not fully to that setting yet, but hopefully second semester will look differently,” Barthold said. “This is a time of growth for me and the students and I am still trying to help as much as I can under UT standards.”