Debbie Kielwein motivates her students to succeed in algebra at Benjamin Russell High School (BRHS). "I tell them...to get to the point where they see, 'it's just math' and they can do it. It just takes a little work to get there."
People at BRHS say she's willing to take great steps to make turn her kids into mathematicians. 10th grader LaTravious Rutledge says, "I think she wants you to graduate, when you take the graduation exam the first time; and not taking it over and over. She just really wants you to learn it for when you go off to college and make sure you get good grades."
Most of her students are freshmen, colleagues say she has a special skill at getting kids to understand high school academics are more rigorous. Kielwein says, "every single course stands on its own now and it's not an average of everything you've had that determines whether you pass. You've got to earn those credits to graduate; and everything each year builds on the year before. So it's critical at this point."
9th grader Bianca Allen says attending high school has been challenging, "it's been a very big adjustment. I mean going from pre-algebra to algebra one is just bigger and more complicated; but I really get it." She credits Kielwein with helping her make the transition. She says the teachers use of humor in her instruction makes math easier.
BRHS principal Sandra Spivey says, "she (Kielwein) is a very patient and helpful person, she goes out of her way to be available for her students; before school, after school. There's no limit to what she's willing to do to make sure that her students learn."
Kielwein co-sponsors BRHS' national honor society and is also active with the TEAM math program. It's designed to improve math instruction in East Alabama school systems.