Back to School Means Math Counts! District 8 of the Los Angeles Unified School District Partners with ITEP

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"I hated Math in school, but today in the real world we have several math meetings with real mathematicians for equations on the show." said Actor David Krumholtz, star of hit TV series Numb3rs on CBS

When students return back to school they'll soon rediscover the joy in doing math and how critical it is for their future. A new International Trade Education Programs (ITEP) initiative, "Math Matters!" will be implemented in District 8 of Los Angeles Unified School District.

"The highest high school dropout rates occur between the 9th and 10th grade and failing math is one of the top reasons students are unable to graduate," said CEO & Founder Carol Rowen, ITEP. "We want to change those numbers and make math fun again."

District 8 is partnering with ITEP to develop a new program to motivate first-year algebra students. Under the working name "Math Matters," the pilot is based on a semester program that supplements the standards-based Algebra One curriculum. ITEP is working on the initiative to bring industry leaders together with faculty and students. The idea is to show how algebra relates to jobs and gives students opportunities to apply mathematical concepts to real-world situations.

"We are implementing the program in every freshman class including PE, special education and life skills," said ITEP Academy Counselor Natalie Rosemond. "ITEP and the teachers wanted students to understand that math is relevant in every subject. I conducted a needs assessment with every teacher to make sure I found a guest speaker who would discuss the importance of math and the topics needed to fit that subject."

"For example: We arranged for the fire chief to be the guest speaker for the PE class. He discussed the importance of math in physical fitness and in the work place. The students loved hearing about careers in firefighting," she said.

One Hollywood actor has discovered how math is helping him in the real world. 31-year old David Krumholtz plays mathematical genius Charlie Eppes in the popular CBS TV series Numb3rs. His character helps his brother, who is an FBI special agent in Los Angeles, solve crimes. Charlie, a brilliant university professor, analyzes mathematical equations and statistics to provide case clues. (Airs this Fall, Fridays, 10 p.m., CBS)

"In school, I tried to petition the school to make Algebra an optional class like art or gym. If you didn't want to take art you could take algebra. I really hated math and got zeroes on tests. Today on the set, we have several meetings with real math scientists to come up with the math equations for the TV show. I get calls from students and teachers saying I'm 'a math hero,'" said Krumholtz.

"This wonderful opportunity has come our way to assist students in completing graduation requirements and ensuring a better-prepared workforce. Algebra is the key that opens doors to graduation and better jobs," explained Rowen. "Six of ITEP's eight academies are in District 8 of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Proficiency in algebra is a challenge for these high schools. Some students believe the subject is irrelevant, some are unmotivated and fail. To quote one student: 'I don't know why I need to know this stuff'." But, yet another student who wants to be a lawyer said, "This project has taught me that all jobs require math."

The program includes professional development, classroom activities and a math field trip. ITEP will use math-proficient business people to work with top-level administrators in District 8 along with Banning High School faculty and students to develop projects that make algebra relevant and interesting to high school students.        

To participate in the "Math Matters!" Initiative or for more information call Laura Monteros at ITEP to respond, 818-249-6281.For more About ITEP visit: http://www.ITEPinc.org

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