Summer math workshops return to Union College

After a one-year hiatus, Union College will once again offer a summer math workshop for math educators at all levels—kindergarten through college. Under the direction of Union College mathematics professor Larry Ray, the one-week course will focus on bringing together teachers from every level to enhance teaching skills. Discussions and learning activities will emphasize implementation of the NAD-USA Elementary Math Standards 2012, which are closely aligned with the new Common Core State Standards.

“At first a college professor or high school teacher may ask themselves what they have to learn from an elementary teacher,” said Ray. “But once they get together and start working on lesson plans, they discover so much about each other.”

In the July 8-12 workshop, teachers will be working as teams that include two elementary teachers, a middle school teacher, a high school math teacher, and a college math professor. By putting together lesson plans collaboratively, the teams learn what teachers at each level face and how students are impacted when they reach high school or college. Teams are expected to attend from many schools around North America.

“Sometimes college teachers blame high school teachers for not teaching students correctly, while high school teachers blame junior high teachers, who in turn blame elementary teachers,” Ray explained. “The elementary teachers, who have no one to blame, blame the parents for not properly sitting down with the children to teach.”

More than 250 Seventh-day Adventist academy and local Lincoln high school teachers have been through Union College summer math workshops over the past eight summers. Various grants have allowed Union College to provide these credit hours for a small fee.

This year, thanks to a grant from Tom and Vi Zapara, the classes—worth two semester credit hours—will be offered for only $100. In addition, each attendee will receive a $250 scholarship to help cover travel costs and a place to stay.

“We want to shrink the gap between each level of education,” said Ray. “If we can get teachers of every level talking, they will do a better job educating our students and our students will have an easier time understanding what is expected of them.”