Principal Rachael Bradley Explains Saxon Math and How it is Used at Thales Academy-Franklin


Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy was joined on the newsmakers line by all-star panelist and Thales Academy-Franklin’s Principal Rachael Bradley.

Leahy and Bradley discuss upcoming Thales Academy Franklin events and the concept of Saxon math.

Leahy: We have good news today. We want to talk to our good friend and all-star panelist Rachael Bradley. Rachael is the principal of the Thales Academy of Franklin. Good morning Rachael.

Bradley: Hey, good morning Mike. How are you?

Leahy: I’m delighted to have you on here. You are the principal of Thales Academy-Franklin. The new high-quality affordable school opening up in July in Franklin at 3835 Carothers Parkway. How have the past few days been going there? Have people been coming by and talking to you to learn about Thales?

Bradley: Yes. Absolutely. I have been meeting with families one on one which has worked out really nicely. It allows flexibility with everyone on a different schedule these days. I’m happy to do that. It’s been great connecting with people and talking about education and the future of that and how Thales Academy fits into all that here in Franklin.

Leahy: You’ve given me a new job. (Laughter) Once a month you hold a parent information meeting at Thales Academy-Franklin at the former Gate Community Church which is now Thales Academy-Franklin on Carothers Parkway. I call myself the greeter at these events but you call me the bouncer. But I’m a nice bouncer.

Bradley: That’s right. (Chuckles)

Leahy: I make sure everybody is following social distancing which they all are. The next one is what? June 9?

Bradley: June 9! Yes! But if anybody doesn’t want to wait, they can email me at [email protected]. and I will be happy to meet with families individually.

Leahy: One of the things that have really bugged me about modern education and all the public schools have adopted this common core thing. I think they have totally ruined the teaching of mathematics. I asked you to come on today and talk a little bit about how you do this differently at Thales Academy.  It’s not common core bologna that parents can’t understand. It’s more common sense. You use Saxon math? Tell us what that is like.

Bradley: Saxon math is a phenomenal math program. Essentially it’s a teaching method for incremental learning of math. And it involves teaching a new mathematical concept every day while constantly reviewing the old concepts.

So what I love about it is in my experience in public schools we might teach math such that we taught a concept for two weeks. Or maybe we taught fractions for seven to ten days and then we were done with it for the rest of the school year which is hugely problematic when it comes to retention.

Children need to continually be practicing these skills in order for them to be fully retained. So with Saxon, it’s cumulative and cyclical. Essentially, you might see a concept on lesson 12 and then again on lesson 24 and then again on lesson 36 and so on and so forth.

The other thing I love about it is is that it is straight forward math the way we all learned math. We do carry the one. We do memorize our basic facts so that we have that automaticity when it comes to higher-level problem-solving instead of just drawing hundreds of dots and circles and craziness apparently common core is.

Leahy: Yes. That’s really interesting that you say that because I know a lot of parents will come and tell me, hey, I can’t help my second grader with math because I don’t understand how they get to the answer. It seems to me that this common core approach tries to make it as obscure and hard to understand as possible.

Bradley: I completely agree. I will have to say that I have never had to teach common core in my teaching experience and I’m thankful for that because everything I hear about it sounds really confusing. And like it doesn’t make a lot of sense for students or families.

Listen to the full second hour:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Rachael Bradley” and Background Photo “Thales Academy School” by Thales Academy.







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One Thought to “Principal Rachael Bradley Explains Saxon Math and How it is Used at Thales Academy-Franklin”

  1. 83ragtop50

    I have a BS in mathematics and statistics. My tow children always came to me for help with math homework. I have no idea who the idiots were dreamed up the current way of teaching math but they obviously made learning math much more difficult than necessary. My children would show me a problem and the contortions that they were supposed to follow to get the correct answer. I would ell them that I would work the problem the way I was taught then use the answer to reverse engineer to figure out the gyrations that they had to go through to get the same answers. Their comments were almost always: “Dad, your way is much easier. Why can’t I do it that way?” Of course my reply was that you have to please the teacher. The best math teacher I ever had was a Rhodes Scholar in math. He told his students that he did not care how we got the answer even if we had to take off our shoes to count on our toes. That is the kind of teaching that is needed.