After five years of planning, officials from Spokane area universities, community colleges and school districts finalized a project that will expand students’ math and science education in better preparation for college and a more technologically-advanced workforce.
The institutions involved in the Math-Science Initiative Partnership Council are Eastern Washington University, Washington State University Spokane, Community Colleges of Spokane, Spokane Public Schools, Mead School District, Central Valley School District and Educational Service District 101. They met on Monday, Feb. 5 to officially sign the agreement that will enable these different stages of education to help students of all ages maximize their potential in both math and science by bringing ideas together and aligning them into one solution.
“We’re formalizing what we’ve been working on for the last five years. And starting this initiative will give our work more exposure,” said Dr. Ron Dalla, interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs here at EWU in a news release on Feb. 5.
Their plan is to meet as often as possible, where an official, an appointed academic officer, and one math and science instructor will represent each school district or institution. They will work together to meet set goals, like hiring more qualified science and math teachers for elementary, middle and high schools. This will be the largest partnership effort for math and science and could attract grants or state funding.
The Math-Science Initiative Partnership Council is slowly but surely working toward a better educational future so that students can be better prepared for college and a more technologically-advanced work environment. “As early as the sixth grade, I think we need to start intervening with students, trying to impress upon them the importance of science and math.” Dalla said in a different Spokesman-Review article concerning the initiative. “If you wait until high school, you’re already sometimes too late.”
Of course, it won’t be as easy as it sounds. A group like this has never been seen before in the Spokane area and the group will be facing obstacles. Gonzaga University, WSU and Eastern hold different requirements for admission. The school districts utilize different math curricula and have been teaching this way for years. This will make an agreement of tactics that much more difficult.
According to the Spokesman Review, Spokane School District Superintendent Brian Benzel said, “Everybody does what they do. With the two community college campuses, Eastern, WSU, Whitworth, and Gonzaga there’s no coordination of what college-readiness means for mathematics.” Regardless of challenges, The Partnership Council will be concentrating on achieving their goals, like including the best techniques in science and math education and developing a certification program for math and science teachers.
More objectives from the news release include “engaging the Spokane community in the development of a shared understanding of high-quality math and science education for students and aligning district math and science coursework, community college coursework and university coursework.”