Jun 12, 2012

Giving High School Students a Head Start in Math

In the photo are Kapaa High School students: Cassiah Linn, Lilia Yamamoto,
Kamalani Brun, Alexa Thompson, Devin Caspilla, Jillian Wilkie, Derek Silva,
Melanie Moala; with KCC student mentors: Roxanne Carvalho and
Jemeyia Shamia; and Gigi Drent, KCC Mathematics Instructor, Frances Dinnan,
Running Start Counselor, and Kathryn Bailey, Kapaa High School Instructor
at the head of the table.

Kapa`a High School Math Readiness Camp for high school juniors and seniors.

With the successful and satisfying 2011 – 2012 academic year just completed, faculty began making their summer plans a reality. For one faculty, Gigi Drent, in Mathematics, this meant leading high school students toward a college education.

In late May and early June, Drent, along with Kathryn Bailey, Kapa`a High School Mathematics instructor, conducted a Math Readiness Camp for under-prepared high school juniors and seniors in preparation for their entrance to college-level Mathematics courses. The students, applicants to the College’s Running Start Program, brushed up on their skills in preparation for a COMPASS re-test. Classes were held at Kapa`a High School and KCC. Two KCC students, Roxanne Carvalho and Jameyia Shamia served as mentors throughout this service-learning project.

The project was funded by a grant received by the College from Hawaii Pacific Islands Campus Compact (HIPICC). The UH system is the largest body of this 18-campus membership of colleges in the Pacific Region. KCC also received a generous donation from the International Test & Evaluation Association Mid-Pacific Center on Kaua`i.

“The goal of this program was to give students a head start at college so they will have an easy transition into college and consider majoring in STEM-related fields of study,” said Drent. KCC joins the UH system and the nation in its push to increase the number of students in STEM fields. In the March 19, 2012 edition of U.S. News and World Report, the importance of STEM to the nation was reiterated. With support from government, business and education, the collective goal has been to “bring STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) to the forefront as a necessary focus for a successful and competitive workforce and economic development . . . to encourage growth in STEM programmatic initiatives.” KCC’s Math Camp is one clear demonstration of commitment, and confident about what its students can achieve.

In Math Camp, students were pre and post tested daily to determine individual study needs. Drent found that students all pre-tested in the 20 – 40% range and post-tested in the 60 – 85% range. Some even reached 100% perfect scores. “Students are really excited about their opportunity to take a college courses next semester and most of all they are very happy to have actually learned some math this past week! “ said Drent. One student even said, “It’s so much fun to really understand,” and that in itself, makes all the difference in the world.

Posted for C.Matsumoto.