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January 15, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Guest: Tech professionals are an untapped resource in math education

jimf

Jim Fernandez

Bridging the gap between students of different races and economic classes has been a goal of many public school systems for several years. As educational funding remains tight in our region, schools must get creative and look for other resources to accomplish this goal and raise student performance.

One place to turn: the retired and working professionals in various fields in our communities who are willing to volunteer on a regular, long-term basis to help our next generation succeed. What we’re lacking is an organized system that school districts could use to recruit community volunteers and match them with receptive teachers.

In 2012, I decided to retire early and become involved in public education as an unpaid volunteer. With advanced degrees in mathematics and computer science, and experience both as a college math professor and an IT professional, I am well aware of the mathematical knowledge needed for a successful technical career.

I specifically wanted to work with teachers and students in an environment where resources were limited and needs were high. My search led me to Cleveland High School in Seattle, where the academic program was transformed several years ago to focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) for all students. At Cleveland, nearly every student takes a math class and a science class each year. For the past two years, I’ve spent most school days assisting math teachers and working with students on their math assignments both in class and during tutoring sessions.

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Comments | More in Guest opinion, Math and science, Opinion | Topics: Cleveland High School, math, STEM