If mathematics is like a foreign language, then those who teach the subject ought to be fluent.
That is the goal of an intensive pilot program by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Intel that aims to improve the math skills of students in underperforming Bay Area elementary and middle schools.
Helping students means helping their teachers first – and that includes some veteran educators.
Take Marivic Walch of Bishop Elementary School in Sunnyvale, who has been teaching for seven years and describes herself as a “math queen.”
“I had many aha moments,” she said.
Modeled after a successful program in Vermont, the 80-hour pilot course taught 38 Bay Area teachers in the past four months how to improve their skills from basic math all the way to algebra. The program is set to expand in 2008, more than doubling its scope, training 100 teachers in 20 schools in San Jose, Gilroy, Redwood City, Foster City, Newark and San Francisco.
“The idea is to turn this into a fluency training in the language of math,” said Mark Pettinger, external affairs manager for Intel. “This is meant for teachers who are good teachers.”