|Integrated Defense Systems|
Boeing boosts Math Academy
BY LISA HALEY
Ten third graders at Kerr Elementary School in Mesa, Ariz., clutched small baggies, filled with colorful laminated pieces, above their heads.
"Go!" yelled third grade teacher Judy Hamilton. And the race was on.
Speedily, the children dumped the pieces on their small desks and scrambled to arrange them into a square table of ordered numbers from one to 100.
Moments later, Meagan Langston jumped from her chair and squealed "done." She pumped her arms in the air in a cheer and smiled broadly. Other students popped out of their seats after her, also pleased they had completed the table.
Welcome to the Math Academy, a Mesa Public Schools program funded by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. It allows more than 120 third- through fifth-graders at four elementary schools to boost marginal math skills. The program based its choice of students on low Stanford Math Test scores. Sixteen Boeing software engineers and other employees also assisted the teachers with the classes.
"The Mesa schools saw a need to improve math scores at the targeted schools, but funding was not available for such an extensive and unique program," said Don McMahon, special projects coordinator for Educational Technology for the Mesa Public Schools, who developed curriculum for the academy.
The Math Academy kicked off in spring 2002 with a $13,500 grant from Boeing Mesa to cover two schools. A $30,000 grant for 2003 expanded the program to four schools.
On April 1, Boeing Mesa donated $75,000 to the school district to add four more schools, for a total of eight schools and more than 200 students. The grant will allow the district to add sixth-grade students to the program.
"This is a wonderful program, and Boeing is privileged to be able to contribute to it," said Ed Koopman, Boeing Mesa site general manager, who presented the grant to the school district.
The Math Academy is held twice a week for 1 1/2 hours after school for 18 weeks, usually beginning in November. In addition to math puzzles, the students compete in solving fun problems of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They also play math games on computers.
McMahon said the academy has boosted students' Stanford test results from a half percent to 4 percent, and it has made students more confident about their math skills.
"Coming here has helped with my multiplication and subtracting," said third grader Carlos Dominguez. "I used to get behind in my regular class, and now I go a lot faster."
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