Saturday, October 21, 2017

New math tutoring program established at UTSA

New math tutoring program established at UTSA

(Aug. 10, 2017) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is branching out into the community to help young students improve their math skills. The College of Education and Human Development’s Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching recently established the UTSA Support and Enrichment Experience in Math (SEE Math) program, which is set to begin this fall.

Under the direction of UTSA professors Emily Bonner and Crystal Kalinec-Craig, SEE Math provides low-cost math support for first through fifth grade elementary students in high-needs schools, and practical experience for UTSA interdisciplinary studies students.

“We pair one pre-service teacher with one elementary school student from a high-needs elementary school, and together they work through rich mathematical tasks that dig into the content in culturally-connected ways,” said Kalinec-Craig, assistant professor and co-director of SEE Math. “This unique program provides much more than homework help or traditional tutoring.”

Starting in October, the UTSA students and elementary students will meet once a week for six weeks at one of three locations, including the UTSA Downtown Campus, and Franklin Elementary and Woodlawn Elementary in the San Antonio Independent School District. At the end of six weeks, the children and UTSA students will participate in a showcase event that will highlight the accomplishments made throughout the program.

“Ultimately, we aim to first provide traditionally underserved students with access to, and engagement in, high level mathematics. We believe that this will enhance their problem solving abilities and confidence to enter STEM fields,” said Bonner, associate professor and co-director of SEE Math. “We also strive to provide UTSA pre-service teachers with an experience that will develop their abilities to understand mathematics content, assess and tailor instruction based on students’ needs, and make connections with students through purposefully-selected math tasks.”

The program is modeled after the college’s Roadrunner Readers program that provides literacy tutoring to struggling readers in the San Antonio area. Through the success of the Roadrunner Readers program, Kalinec-Craig and Bonner saw a need for a similar enrichment program in mathematics and began working with doctoral students Traci Kelley, Martina McGhee and Stephanie Garcia to create SEE Math.

“We hope that SEE Math will enhance the college and department’s connections to the community by responding to a need we’ve been hearing about from parents, families, and communities for quite some time now,” said Bonner. “We aim to ultimately impact the lives of as many students and UTSA student, who are our future teachers, as possible by focusing on our mission of equity and access.”

More than 100 pre-service teachers, children, and their families are expected to participate in the program this fall, which is currently taking applications for elementary students needing extra math support. This number, Kalinec-Craig said, will hopefully increase over time.

“The impact of the program begins in our strong elementary teacher preparation program, and will reach children and families who need support and enrichment in a high-stakes content area,” said Kalinec-Craig. “Mathematics is everywhere, and children need more support to see that the mathematics skills they already know and use at home can also help them to learn mathematics in school. The impact of the SEE Math program has only just begun.”

UTSA is ranked among the top 400 universities in the world and among the top 100 in the nation, according to Times Higher Education.


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