Math for AmericaSan Diego Mara W. Breech Foundation Summer Mathematics Academies
Mara W. Breech Family Foundation’s Annual Gift Supports 107 Students at 2019 Summer Math Academies
UC San Diego Mathematics Professor Guershon Harel (top row, second from left) directed the Summer Institute for teachers at this year’s Summer Math Academies, which helped prepare 107 incoming ninth graders in the Oceanside Unified School District.
Thanks to an annual gift from the Mara W. Breech Family Foundation, the Summer Mathematics Academies were held again this year in the Oceanside Unified School District. Hosted by Math for America San Diego, a teacher professional development program housed at UC San Diego’s CREATE, two Summer Mathematics Academies ran from July 22– August 9, 2019, supporting 12 nine math teachers, one future math teacher and 107 incoming 8th grade students from four Oceanside Unified School District middle schools. The two Summer Academies were held at Oceanside and El Camino high schools.
Continued funding by the Mara W. Breech Family Foundation has supported mathematics camps, summer institutes and summer academies for the past five years.
“We were delighted the Mara W. Breech Family Foundation provided funding for two Summer Mathematics Academies in the Oceanside Unified School District,” said Osvaldo “Ovie” Soto, executive director of Math for America San Diego and the newly launched UC San Diego Mathematics Project, also housed at CREATE. “Summer Mathematics Academies are places where teachers learn pedagogy and curriculum for a week, and then run a three-week academy with students on a topic they learned about the week before. The academies strengthen and prepare students’ math knowledge while at the same time providing a highly effective professional development experience for teachers.
A very special thanks to Teresa Collis, principal at Oceanside High School,” Soto added. “She has been a champion of our work for the past four years. With her vision and energy, we’ve been able to provide teachers with necessary instructional support for increasing math understanding and achievement in their students.”
With additional support from MiraCosta Community College’s GEAR UP grant, the UC San Diego Mathematics Project hosted Dr. Guershon Harel, professor of mathematics for UC San Diego, to lead the one-week teacher professional development summer institute. Sixteen math educators from Oceanside Unified School District (OUSD) and four Math for America San Diego (MfA SD) alumni teaching fellows attended the one-week Summer Institute for teachers before a subset of nine teachers taught at the three-week Summer Academies.
MfA SD Teaching Fellows alumni included San Diego Unified School District’s Brett Patrick, mathematics teacher Pershing Middle School, Trang Vu, mathematics teacher from Marston Middle School and OUSD’s Gregory Guayante, mathematics teachers from El Camino High School.
A key to the Summer Academy success is the collaboration of MfA SD alumni fellows to design a curriculum to meet the mathematical needs of students transitioning from middle to high school.
“Starting in April, fellows worked on lesson plans centered on proportional reasoning, which is the gateway to understanding linear function, which is the gateway to understanding local linearity, which is calculus, which takes you into rate of change ideas,” Soto said. “We've found that proportional reasoning is a kind of a pivot point. So we invested a lot of effort in understanding the pedagogical and cognitive difficulties that students face on specific math concepts, such as proportional reasoning.
The one-week professional development institute, developed by Harel, provided an atmosphere where teachers worked individually and collaboratively on rich mathematical problems, while also learning about research on student thinking and implications for instruction.
“Teachers learn that decisions about pedagogical approaches and ‘teaching moves’ come out of a deep understanding of the mathematics content and the research on students’ thinking,” Soto said. “The Summer Institute educates teachers on how to approach instruction in a student-centered way. Teachers did their best to implement all that Professor Harel taught them, learning day by day from each other -- and from their students.”
Summer Mathematics Academy Participants 2019 (*Also taught at Summer Academies)
OUSD Middle School Teachers: Rasela Mendez (Jefferson Middle School) Jay Miller (Jefferson Middle School) *Jeremy Robydek (Lincoln Middle School) Joey Rota, (Lincoln Middle School) *Sal Sanchez (Lincoln Middle School) *Renee Thomas (Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School) Adrienne Villarreal (Jefferson Middle School)
OUSD High School Teachers: Cameron Clark (Oceanside High School) Darius Pickett (Oceanside High School) David Kalt (Oceanside High School) *Eduardo Mireles (Oceanside High School) William Richman (Oceanside High School) Megan Sheffield, (El Camino High School)
Math for America San Diego Alumni Fellows: *Gregory Guayante (El Camino High School) *Brett Patrick (Pershing Middle School ) *Becky Vega (Morse High School) *Trang Vu (Mann Middle School)
Summer Academy Principals:
Teresa Collis (Oceanside High School) Frank Balanon (Jefferson Middle School) Steve Bessant (Lincoln Middle School) Eileen Frazier (El Camino HS) Jenny Morgan (Cesar Chavez Middle School) Greg Smedley (Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School)
Math for America San Diego and UC San Diego Mathematics Project Housed at UC San Diego’s Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment and Teaching Excellence (CREATE), UC San Diego Mathematics Project is the latest math-centered teacher professional development to join Math for America San Diego and the San Diego Math Network in CREATE. For more information on mathematics teaching and learning support, contact Ovie Soto (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The MfA SD/Mara W. Breech Foundation Summer Math Academies serve students directly by engaging them in deep content knowledge through puzzles and intriguing math problems. Students gain confidence and improved understanding of key mathematical concepts and feel better prepared as they enter school in the fall.
MfA SD Teaching Fellows work with secondary mathematics departments and teachers who benefit from these collaborations. The academies provide the math teachers a safe context to try out innovative teaching strategies, something that is hard to do during the traditional school calendar with the rush to “cover” material and prepare students for standardized tests.
Summer Mathematics Academy students will:
Strengthen their mathematical content knowledge
Learn new ways to solve math problems
Learn to communicate their thinking with others
Receive individual attention from excellent instructors
Develop confidence for next year's math class
If your school or district is interested in hosting a Summer Mathematics Academy, please contact the MfA SD office for more information.