GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

May 23, 2013

'Slime Day' at Plum Cove

Kids cash in on principal's math challenge

By Allegra Boverman
Staff Writer

---- — “‘It’s Mrs. Morgan gets slimed day!”

Those were the words, according to one parent, that her son first mouthed with excitement Wednesday morning — and he wasn’t alone in his eagerness to get to school.

The entire community at Plum Cove Elementary School had been abuzz for weeks in anticipation of this moment that took place just before the end of the school day.

Back in January, Principal Tammy Morgan, along with the site-based committee, who assist her with school improvement plans, wanted the entire student body’s math skills to increase. Members then came up with some ideas on how to make it more fun, and suggested them to the students, who selected “sliming” the principal in the best Nickelodeon TV tradition as a reward for their improvement.

The challenge was called “Math vs. Mrs. Morgan.” And, since January, students’ math skills in each grade improved dramatically. So, come Wednesday, the big day arrived.

A cart pulled by custodian Paul Russo bearing the pail full of “Nickelodeon Slime” was brought outside in front of the school. The slime was prepared using a special recipe by cafeteria employee Diane Palmisano — made with Jell-O, baby shampoo, water, flour and green food coloring.

Morgan addressed the students, wearing a bright green shirt and green flip-flops, and told them how pleased she was at their math improvement each week since the challenge began. The goal was to have 80 percent of a grade-level master at least 90 percent of their math facts with fluency, and she tested students every week.

She then donned a pair of swim goggles, and 12 students — two from each of the K-5 grades, were selected to take turns pouring slime from sand pails onto Morgan’s head. Students ran up eagerly to participate, raising their hands in glee, leaping over their classmates.

Morgan, proving to be a good sport, was good-natured throughout, joking with the students and reacting in grand fashion to the cold slime as it was dumped first on her back by the kindergarters, then with successively older grades, over her head, and finally, mostly covering her, to the screams of “Slime! Slime! Slime!” from the audience.

Afterwards, wiping her face with a towel, Morgan said, “I feel the love of the kids.”

It was worth it, she said, while being hosed off with water by school secretary Rosanne McHenry, adding “it was for the math.”

Photo chief Allegra Boverman can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3444, or at aboverman@gloucestertimes.com.