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Friday, March 06, 2009

Embed clip "GEMS at Claremont Colleges"

The United States is ninth in the world—behind Latvia—in math performance. (See chart). For researchers here in America, it’s a startling factoid, and if something doesn’t change, we’ll find ourselves completely outpaced. Claremont Graduate University is working with nearby colleges and K-12 districts to promote gains in math through many novel programs, including:

Math for America, Los Angeles: Raises student mathematics achievement by substantially increasing the number of highly-skilled secondary math teachers in the greater Los Angeles area by recruiting talented individuals with a commitment to mathematics education to the teaching profession, and reduce their barriers to credentialing, wherever possible. (Partnership is being led by Harvey Mudd College, with collaboration with CGU and USC.)

NSF Robert Noyce Collaborative Partnership: Recruits and credentials outstanding math and science teachers for Southern California urban school districts. In partnership with 6 Claremont Colleges and CGU.

Making Algebra Accessible Project: Trains a cadre of teachers in elementary schools with low-income, English-as-a-second language community demographics on ways to improve their student’s early algebraic reasoning to increase their present and future mathematical achievement and to significantly decrease the achievement gap. CGU, Pitzer College, and Pomona Unified School District are working together on this.

GEMS: The Gateway to Exploring Mathematical Sciences program (GEMS) is a once monthly, Saturday morning workshop founded at the Claremont Colleges in fall, 2008. GEMS is designed to reach seventh, eighth and ninth grade students who may have an interest in mathematics or science. The workshops present mathematics and science applications in an exciting way that catches these young students’ interest early. CGU and Harvey Mudd College are the primary leads on this project.

Included in the 2008-2009 GEMS program are the Pomona, Claremont and Upland Unified School Districts as well as selected private schools upon request. The students are selected by principals or teachers with the sole prerequisite that the young student shows enough interest to get up on a Saturday morning and come to the workshops.

“This program is designed to introduce students to the richness and diversity of the mathematical sciences,” said Lisa Loop, GEMS director. “We want to create a context in which middle school and high school students can meet other students interested in the math and provide opportunities for students to ‘go to school’ on a university campus.”

Kids from all kinds of backgrounds are taking part in GEMS. Professors are volunteering kids are getting bussed in. Cost-effective programs like these are essential in our economic downturn.

GEMS is organized and funded by the Claremont Center for the Mathematical Sciences (CCMS), the CGU Teacher Education Program, and Harvey Mudd College.