The student news site of Jones College Prep High School

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The student news site of Jones College Prep High School

Blueprint

The student news site of Jones College Prep High School

Blueprint

Math department minus one

Math teachers make changes after Anthony Cappetta takes position at CTU HQ
Photo+Credit+for+Celia+Pincus
Photo Credit for Celia Pincus

Just before winter break, math teacher Anthony Cappetta left his position to join the Chicago Teachers Union, leaving the math department to shuffle around schedules and search for a new teacher to fill his position. 

“Capetta took a job with the union as the new ‘Green Schools Organizer,’” said math department Co-Chair, Kimberly Bowman. “Green school updates are going to be a priority point for CTU. The goal of the initiative is to find ways schools can have green practices, such as recycling programs and solar energy. His job is to go schools, assess situations, and then start formulating what schools need in terms of sustainable practices.” 

Capetta was teaching both AP Statistics and Math II courses, so the math department needed to find a way to cover his classes. 

“I took over the AP Stats because I am the only other teacher who teaches it, but by doing so, we had to give up most of the financial algebra classes,” said math teacher Russel Kerr. 

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Kerr began covering Capetta’s AP Statistics courses before Winter Break, allowing him 

to get used to Capetta’s former students and class policies. 

“For me to take the other two new Statistics classes was fairly straightforward because I already teach three other sections. I had very similar policies that he [Capetta] did, so it was a seamless transition for the Stats classes,” said Kerr. 

Kerr, who already taught AP Statistics and one period of Financial Algebra, now teaches for six periods out of seven. Along with the classes that Kerr took over, math teacher Sarah Rayski also had to make changes to her schedule.

“Ms. Rayski took the Math II classes and gave up her Financial Algebra classes. Unfortunately, the Financial Algebra students are in a difficult situation with having a day-to-day substitute until we fill that position,” said Bowman.

Math II, a graduation requirement and a core class for students, is a class that the Math Department emphasizes having strong teachers for.   

“Math II is a foundational class. We decided to prioritize Math II and have it covered by an experienced math teacher,” said Bowman.

Financial Algebra, a mainly senior elective course, has a focus on real-world personal financial issues and explores areas of mathematics that help understand the financial world.

“I’m extremely sad to lose my financial algebra classes. That was one of my favorite classes to teach and I feel like it has a lot of really important life lessons in it. I really hope that I can come back once we find another math teacher to potentially take Math II,” said Rayski. 

It is tough to fill a math teacher position mid-school year, but the Math Department is working tirelessly to fill it. 

“We are actively searching for a teacher,” said Kerr. “We’ve interviewed two different teachers, one decided not to leave school, and the other one was at a CPS school who wanted to come here but was not released by that school principal.”

With slow progress in the search for a new teacher, extra support from students can be useful to teachers.

“It has been super helpful to have some Math National Honor Society tutors come to AcLab to help tutor some of the kids who need extra support,” said Rayski. “It’s been great to have some extra helping hands when our AcLabs get busy.”

Students can also be supportive in other ways as the math teachers navigate these changes. 

“Students should remain kind and flexible,” said Bowman. “We hope that someone is going to apply who is qualified and we can fill that position. So a little bit of patience and kindness would be very much appreciated.”

Strong participation in class from students can also be a helpful force for teachers who are teaching new classes. 

“We really feed off of our students’ energy,” said Rayski. “We love to see it when students are engaged, participating, and bringing a good energy to a class.” 

As teachers endure these challenges, it is important that students are flexible and understanding.

“Mr. Kerr and Ms. Rayski both have just gone above and beyond the scope of what they were required to do to ensure that students have what they need,” said Bowman. “Just saying thank you to them is huge, and understanding what they undertook.”

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Celia Pincus '24, Deputy Editor-in-Chief

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