Retiring principal returns to classroom to solve one last problem


Photo Credit: Devyn Ivers

Principal John Arlotta helps math teacher Amanda Sproviero facilitate a portion of her math class as the students learn about polynomials.

by Michael Taromina and Devyn Ivers

Set to retire at the end of the school year, Principal John Arlotta has been helping math teacher Amanda Sproviero for the past few months in one of her classes. 

Sproviero had experienced some challenges with one of her Algebra 1 classes at the beginning of the school year. She had trouble addressing the varying capabilities of her students. 

“Students were coming into the class at different math levels and I needed to remodel and rethink some of the ways that I taught the lessons,” Sproviero said. 

To maintain her class, she introduced different exercises that her students can work on to fit their needs in math. One of these is IXL.

“IXL is an online program where I can assign specific tasks that they allow them [the students] to practice and they can get a certain score. They basically keep track of what their score is so they know if they are understanding it or not,” Sproviero said. 

Despite her efforts, her students were still comprehending the difficult material at widely different paces, making it hard for Sproviero to pace her lessons to such a disparate group. 

Eventually, Arlotta approached Sproviero with a suggestion: He would teach a group of students in her math class. 

Before becoming principal, Arlotta had held a job as a math teacher at Rutherford High School in New Jersey. He was excited to relive his teaching days in Sproviero’s class. 

Arlotta said, “It just seemed like a win-win, I got to teach math, which I love, and she got to maintain one of her more challenging classes.”

About two times every week, Arlotta and Sproviero split up the class and take them into two different rooms. 

“We’ve done what’s called parallel teaching,” Sproviero said. “We break-up the class seven-and-seven, and we teach the same topic. But it’s more individualized because he’ll be able to focus on his seven students, and I’ll be able to focus on my seven students.” 

For now, the system worked-out between Arlotta, Sproviero, and the students has been beneficial to everyone. Sproviero and Arlotta both noticed significant improvements to the students’ overall academic ability and behavior due to this arrangement.