In the summer of 2011, Davis Intermediate School in San Jose partnered with the Silicon Valley Education Foundation to prepare 70 incoming eighth graders for success in algebra. This is the fourth year that the Oak Grove School District offered Stepping Up to Algebra (SUTA), a 75-hour program designed to help students master critical math skills and complete Algebra I in eighth grade. SUTA overall served 1,200 students in 15 Santa Clara County school districts this summer.
Brief interviews with students in teacher Holly Brown’s class described how the SUTA program changed their attitudes and confidence about math.
Esmeralda Castellanos tells us, “When I first found out about the Stepping up to Algebra program I said ‘Oh Math, I don’t want to go,’ but [my teacher] Miss Brown challenges me and I figure the problems out.”
Technology plays a significant role as part of the curriculum. According to Katalina Huerta, “I enjoy the hands-on work, the puzzles that we are required to do and also the program on the laptop helps quite a bit. It’s a good opportunity because you take your time and understand the problems.”
Dominic Galdamez, was adamant about the fact that he wasn’t good at math until he attended the program, he said, “I sucked at math, and I didn’t like it but now I have a different perspective about math. I had trouble with fractions, but ... now I know them.”
Stepping Up to Algebra incorporates a unique combination of standards-based math curricula, as well as interactive technology tools and educational games. Students experience a strong college-bound focus through field trips to area universities and college information sessions with their parents, as well as exposure to their teaching assistants, who are college students.
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