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Teachers learn real-world math practices in summer academy

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More than 40 Rio Rancho Public Schools elementary and middle school teachers cut their summer short to participate in the Mathematics with Infinite Technology teacher summer academy in July.

In its second year, the professional development helps teachers pique student interest and energize math instruction by integrating technology and workforce applications into their teaching. It is made possible to teachers through a partnership brought together by Mission: Graduate which includes Sandia National Laboratories, Intel, Air Force Research Laboratories, and Wells Fargo.

"Providing teachers with quality professional development allows our staff to build upon their content knowledge and effectiveness in the classroom instructional strategies," says Sue Cleveland, Rio Rancho Public Schools Superintendent. “We are grateful to our partners for working with RRPS on improving our innovation, technology and mathematical skills within our classrooms.”

Business partners spent an afternoon delivering presentations on such topics as proportional relationships and equations used on a daily basis in their organizations to help teachers help their students understand how math in used in the working world.

“These presentations gave me a lot of hands-on ideas that I can take and use immediately in the classroom,” says Stephanie Clark, fifth grade teacher at Puesta del Sol.

During the remainder of the four-day training, teachers learned about applications such as Khan Academy and Google docs which can be used in the classroom. On one of the days, an additional 60 teachers joined the academy and received SMART Notebook beginner and advanced level training.

“It’s impressive that we had great participation in this academy,” says Eliza Exil, Mission: Graduate K-12 Education manager. “They gave up four days of summer to participate. It’s a testament of the teacher’s commitment to their students.”

Supporting teachers to prepare students for life beyond high school is one of Mission: Graduate’s strategies to reach the goal of 60,000 new college degrees and certificates in central New Mexico by 2020. This project came to life following conversations between business and school leaders at Mission: Graduate Employment Network meetings.

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