Math teachers launch sites, foundation to provide tuition, grants and scholarships – School News Network

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Kentwood— Teaching math at the most diverse high school in the state inspired Luke Wilcox and Lindsay Gallas to launch three open-source math curriculum websites and the newly created Math Medic Foundation.

“It was very influenced by my work (and Gallas’s) at East Kentwood High School,” said Wilcox, who teaches AP Statistics there. “It was revealed to us that some students have a lot more advantages than other students. These disadvantaged students need support.

They have joined forces to launch free online math lesson sites to fill achievement gaps and improve access to resources, both nationally and locally, including among their own students. They started Stats Medic seven years ago; Calc Medic three years ago; and in August expanded their efforts to launch Math Medic. The newest site offers free lesson plans – designed and tested with real East Kentwood students – for all 9-12 high school math courses. These include Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus.

Math Medic co-founders Luke Wilcox, left, and Lindsay Gallas, right, present a scholarship to Jacobi Thompson, a graduate of the class of 2021 from East Kentwood (courtesy)

“Math Medic was our big step into the wider world of math teachers, rather than just AP Calc and AP Statistics,” Wilcox said. “We are already starting to build a beautiful community of teachers who use the resources.”

To further strengthen their mission, the teachers officially launched the philanthropic component of their efforts this month. The Math Medic Foundation is a public charitable organization focused on awarding funds to students and educators in the field of K-12 math education.

“My number one goal was just to have the ability to put resources into the hands of students. The Math Medic Foundation will help us do that.

– Lindsay Gallas, co-founder of Math Medic

The foundation is funded entirely by tax-deductible donations, which can be made through the site. Executive Director Pete Grostic, a former Kentwood Public Schools middle and high school teacher, said individual donations will go 100% toward scholarships and grants for teachers and schools.

Students can apply for scholarships; teachers can apply for grants to fund professional development opportunities; and schools as a whole can apply for resource grants.

Reaching the students who need it most

The gaps in math achievement are stark and pervasive. The overarching goal of foundation and course sites is to improve outcomes, Wilcox said.

“In terms of math education, the results are not the same for certain subgroups,” he said. “African-American, Hispanic, low-income (college) and English-speaking learners are not performing at the same level as white and Asian cultures. We know it has nothing to do with biology, but it’s most often the result of a lack of access to resources, and it’s the lack of resources that actually creates the achievement gap. .

“We want to try to have an impact on that side of the equation: the link to resources. We believe that if we can equalize access to resources, we will see changes in outcomes in terms of achievement gaps.

Through the Stats Medic site last spring, the group awarded two scholarships to students going into math-related fields. One was to Jacobi Thompson, a 2021 East Kentwood High School graduate who is pursuing a degree in computer science at Grand Valley State University, and the other was to Isabella Medina-Silva, a student in California. Now, with the launch of the foundation, they will be awarding at least two more $2,000 scholarships this spring.

“In line with our idea of ​​equity in math education, we want students to have access to resources, but we also want teachers to have access to high-quality teaching materials.”

Luke Wilcox, East Kentwood math teacher and co-founder of Math Medic

Gallas, who taught AP Statistics for seven years at East Kentwood, now works full-time for Math Medic. She said the need to support students was evident in her classroom.

“I’ve seen students doing their best, but tuition and university expenses would be a barrier,” she said. “My number one goal was just to have the ability to put resources into the hands of students. The Math Medic Foundation will help us do that.

From left, senior Chloe Fornetti, Tyler Buck, junior Aishwarya Kashaju and senior Macey Emeott look at AP stat issues

Lesson plans by teachers

On Calc Medic, Stats Medic, and Math Medic, lesson plans are offered for each day of the school year for each class. “All of our classes are student-centered and activity-based,” Wilcox said.

Gallas, Wilcox and former East Kentwood calculus teacher Sarah Stecher designed all the lessons. They also blog about teaching tips based on their experiences delivering the lessons.

The sites and the foundation all support improving math education, Wilcox explained.

“Having our lessons free is consistent with this idea of ​​fairness, because no matter what school district you are from or how much money your school district has for the program, any teacher on the Internet can access the lessons and use in their class.

“We want teachers to have access to these high-quality courses, which ultimately benefits their students,” he added. “This is in line with connecting resources with the students who need them the most. »

Lessons on Math Medic come straight from the classrooms of East Kentwood teachers
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