The University of Minnesota STEM Education Center is a recipient of a College Ready grant from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, which will provide mathematics tutors/mentors to eight and eleventh graders in Minneapolis during the 2013-2014 academic year. The $300,000 award will support the Prepare2Nspire program, which prepares underserved students to succeed on grade-level, high-stakes mathematics exams and to inspire them to continue their study of mathematics.
Dr. Lesa Covington Clarkson, STEM Education Center
Sousada Chidthichack, STEM Education Center
Forster Ntow, STEM Education Center
Elizabeth Crotty, STEM Education Center
Prepare2Nspire is an innovative, cascading, multi-grade mathematics tutoring and mentoring opportunity that will include graphing calculator technology.
Principal Investigator Dr. Lesa Covington Clarkson, associate professor, has a history of working in urban schools with diverse populations in the Twin Cities. “To often, underrepresented students aren;t served in our urban classrooms,” she said, “This program will provide additional time and tools to support students in their mathematics learning.”
As university undergraduates students are tutoring and mentoring eleventh grade algebra 2 students in the program, the elventh grade cohort is tutoring and mentoring eighth grade algebra students. Graphing calculator techonology supports students’ development of algebraic thinking and their preparation for postsecondary study.
Every student profits from this model, according to Clarkson. Tutors are developing mathematics communication and reasoning skills as they explain content in which they are recently engaged and at the same time they are developing roots in mathematics that are fundamental to their current study. Middle school participants are receiving individualized tutoring and mentoring services designed to meet their unique challenges in the mathematics content studied. Simultaneously, grade-level skills will be continually addressed through mini lessons at weekly meetings.