About the Author

sedona photoFor most of my life, I taught Mathematics in public schools:  5th grade through college!  My interests, in addition to all things mathematical, are reading, knitting, writing, bicycling and family.

I’m married to Marty, have a son, a daughter and one stepdaughter.  Three grandchildren round out the immediate family.  I look forward to spending more time with them in my retirement.
Oh, and I also have my HAM radio license KA1NLF.  Although I am inactive I am registered with the FCC.

Hope you enjoy my (a)musings and write comments!


  1. Jack Sanders

    Ridgefield Press, Jan. 19, 1989 — Like so much in today’s burgeoning electron-fast information age, Ridgefield High School’s computer literacy course is becoming outdated.
    In a move that developed from a re-evaluation requested during last year’s budget squeeze, the school board has voted to drop the ninth grade computer course, and the graduation requirement which made it mandatory.
    Dropping the course will save the system about $30,000 a year in payroll costs with a teaching position eliminated.
    But the move is not simply a matter of belt-tightening. Things are different than they were when the course was instituted a decade ago.
    “There have been enormous changes in the last 10 years we’ve had computers in our schools,” Acting Superintendent Joseph Leheny told the school board, “both in educational use of computers and in the use of computers in American life.”
    The school system has developed a strong computer program in the middle school, particularly in eighth grade. Students start working with computers in kindergarten, and there is now a computer in every elementary school classroom in the school system.
    By the time they reach high school, younger students know quite a lot about computers. And in the high school computers are now routinely used in courses ranging from industrial arts to foreign languages.
    In a memorandum to the board Mr. Leheny said:
    “We feel that our pre-high-school program now provides a thorough exploration of computer literacy in the modern sense of accustoming students to the computer and enabling them to experience — and control — its many uses and capabilities as a tutor, a research assistant, an information organizer, a controller of other machines, a communication device and the like.
    “In the meantime, the high school has expanded its programming offerings, instituted use of the computer as a tool in business education, science, foreign language, industrial arts and other areas and is planning for its employment as an effective enhancer of writing skills in the English program.”
    For high school students with an interest in computers, Mr. Leheny said, the mathematics department plans to start a new elective in “advanced general uses of the computer.” This would be in addition to its current series of courses on computer programming.
    The move was not been universally applauded. Arlene Yolles, who has taught the course for two years now, is disappointed in the decision.
    “I think they’re taking a step backwards,” she said. “I don’t think ninth grade computer literacy should be eliminated, 1 think it should be evolved into something that includes updated technology.”
    Ms. Yolles, who taught math in the Ridgefield schools for five years before taking over the computer literacy classes, wanted it understood that she was not speaking bitterly about the change, and isn’t worried that it will leave her unemployed.
    ”I’m looking forward to working in another capacity in the Ridgefield school system,” she said.
    But, she explained, she has been studying at Fairfield University to get her second master’s degree in “computers in education.” Her research has included a detailed study of computer studios in various Fairfield County school systems.
    “There are a lot of things going on in high schools and middle schools in Fairfield County that I was very impressed with, that I was looking forward to instituting in Ridgefield in updating our curriculum in Ridgefield,” she said. “To eliminate our computer literacy program is, I think, a disservice to the kids.”
    She was also disappointed that she hadn’t been consulted about the elimination of the course. “I would have liked to have had some input in the decision,” she said.
    Mr. Leheny said, “She’s unhappy about this, and I can’t blame her.”
    On the matter of not consulting Ms. Yolles, Mr. Leheny added that he had planned to discuss the recommendation with her before taking it to the board, but had it been squeezed out of his schedule. “That was bad professional manners on my part,” he said.
    The computers now used in the computer literacy course will be put to use by the English department, which for a couple of years now has been requesting a number of computers for use in teaching writing.
    The change will open up two periods a week in most freshmen’s schedules, for one semester. This time will be devoted to a new “proactive” guidance activities, that are part of curriculum changes recommended by an outside report on the guidance department. The activities will touch on such wide-ranging topics as drug education, social problems, and course selection planning.—by MACKLIN REID
    (Via Jack Sanders, K1IFJ)

  2. Nicholas Carey

    Mrs. Yolles!
    I have been trying to find a way to contact you for several years, and that search has led me to this site. I wanted to personally thank you for your 8th grade math class. Beforehand, as you may remember, I could not stand the field, as I considered myself lacking the ability to excel. However, your class changed that completely. To this day, I still contribute your class, and the way you taught math, to instilling my interest in advanced mathematical topics (starting with the Fractal video you showed my class) to topics like calculus, and quantum theory. Last year I doubled up in mathematics, and now advanced into Pre-Calculus where I am currently. I am also taking independent classes online via MIT on Integral Calculus.
    Your class also led my interest into math applied into science. Currently, I am really focused on cosmology and astrophysics, which as you may know are extremely math oriented. Your class single-handedly changed my opinion of math from boring numbers, to a abstract and fascinating field.
    Again, I want to thank you for opening my world to just how fun and captivating mathematics is. After all, it is the language of the universe!
    Thank you for all you did,
    Nicholas Carey
    Team 1

    • So happy to hear from you. A longer reply is coming via email!

  3. David Starobin

    I went to Boiberik for 4 summers, ’60-’63. (My dad was President of the camp in ’39, and in the Golden Book- my aunt says he only got a line because Leibush Lehrer didn’t like his lefty sympathies). Your post brought back so many long lost memories. Thanks for that!

    • Thanks, David. I’m surprised at your aunt’s comment because I thought the whole camp was very leftish politically! I, too, got a line and saw it when I went to YIVO Institute where the Golden Books reside.

  4. There is a math blog I really like (Good Math), and I stumbled across a funny one that made me think of you! I thought you’d be both horrified and amused!


  5. madeline

    Your blog is now on my must read list. I love what you write about and how you write it. M

    • Thanks! I’ll even take suggestions of topics. But my favorites are words, spelling, punctuation and math, of course!

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