May 19, 2008 By Dr. Peter Salamon
SDSU Math Department Wins Exemplary Partnership Award from San Diego Unified School District. In the Fall of 2007, the San Diego Unified School District honored the partnership between the SDSU Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Pershing Middle School.
The partnership was designated “exemplary”; one of eight so honored out of several hundred partnerships. The citation called the partnership exemplary because all sides truly benefit. The idea of forming this partnership was to help reduce the shortage of mathematics teachers by exposing undergraduates to tutoring middle school mathematics in the expectation that some of these students would find that they enjoyed the work and would consider teaching as a career.
Pershing is a nearby school of 1000 students, with a diverse student body. About half of the students qualify for free or reduced meals. Pershing’s principal explained the power of the partnership as “Education is about belief systems as much as it is about subject area content.
The palpable enthusiasm for the subject matter by the clearly ‘cool’ college student does wonders for enhancing the allure of math content.” Allison Yoder, one of the tutors opined, “This opportunity can really help a student decide if teaching is the right choice for their career path.” In recent years Pershing’s academic scores have risen dramatically, due in part to the SDSU support of their mathematics program.
Several SDSU faculty members contributed to this exemplary and successful partnership.
Susan Nickerson is a main force behind the entire program. She obtained external grants to pay for the math tutors, and she is also the main recruiter of the tutors. Peter Salamon helps recruit the tutors, and also serves as the main contact point between the SDSU Math Department and the Pershing Middle School.