The Center for Math Success is an academic clinic for local students in grades 2-11 who are having difficulty learning mathematics in school. It is staffed by certified teachers who are graduate students in the Teaching Children Mathematics concentration of the M.Ed. in Curriculum and Learning program and operates through the College of Education.
The purpose of the program is to provide students in elementary school with an opportunity to relearn important mathematics concepts that they may have misunderstood in earlier grades. It does this by challenging students and capturing their interest in doing mathematics so that they are better equipped to learn grade level mathematics on their own in school. The program does not provide tutoring in the traditional sense and therefore, homework and test preparation are not the main function of the program.
The Center offers a one-semester program, beginning in late January and ending in early May that meets once a week, after school, for one hour for 10 sessions during the school year. The hour-long sessions are used to help students discover "the mathematicians" that are hidden in all of them. The focus of the sessions is on individual assessments and relearning of mathematics concepts and procedures in new ways.
The Center uses a one-to-one or one-to-two teacher-student relationship. During the hour that the children are at the Center, they meet with one teacher who talks to them, listens to them, and poses challenging problems for them to find out what the children know well and what they need to relearn or clarify. The teachers are all certified in New Jersey and teach mathematics regularly in their school jobs. They are also graduate students in William Paterson University's M.Ed. in Curriculum and Learning program and work in the Center to earn credits toward their degrees.
What does the Center offer students and their parents?
To accomplish its goals, students are recruited through the public schools during the fall months for the following spring semester. Parents are notified through their children's teachers about the program and then apply directly to the Center. It is expected that parents will accompany their children to each session and that they will remain in the clinic area during the full hour. There is a nominal non-refundable fee for clinic participation and scholarships are available.
The Center tries to present mathematics in new and exciting ways. Therefore, the children often engage in problem solving, use manipulative materials, work with technology including computers and calculators, and do active experiments that may involve measurement, movement, and games. Parents are given mathematics learning opportunities too and are provided with support for helping their children use mathematics more effectively at home.
What does the program offer its participating teachers?
As part of the Teaching Children Mathematics concentration of the M.Ed. in Curriculum and Learning program, this clinic experience provides teachers with a new way of looking at teaching and learning mathematics. By using informal assessment procedures and focusing on individual learners, teachers have an opportunity to understand the misconceptions and underlying strengths that all children bring to the mathematics classroom. The experience provides teachers with new tools and techniques for teaching mathematics in their own schools and enables them to better understand their students' capabilities, implement current standards, and assess students' knowledge of mathematics curricula.
For an application to the Center for Math Success or more information about the Teaching Children Mathematics program, please contact:
Dr. Sandra Alon
Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Professional Studies