Many students find math to be a difficult subject to tackle.
On Saturday, 24 Smith-Cotton students, members of State Fair Community College’s Upward Bound Program, solved one part of their math equation for future success.
The students attended SFCC’s “2 Infinity and Beyond: The Math You’ll Need for Today, Tomorrow and the Future,” where they attended three sessions covering the topics of college and career readiness, ACT test preparation and the role of math in high-demand fields.
“We hosted an event like this several years ago but we reformulated and updated it for this year,” Upward Bound Program Director Jeromy Layman said. “It is designed to get students mentally prepared for math in college.”
According to Layman, the standards for math are changing for high school students throughout Missouri.
“Math hasn’t changed in the last 50 years at the high school level,” Layman said. “Students need to realize that they are going to have to take math in college no matter what career field they enter.
“The focus now statewide is on what students need for their career choices,” he added. “We expect the entire process for the math revision to be completed by 2018.”
Presently, high school students are required to take three years of math for their graduation requirements. Layman recommends four years of math in high school for all students.
“Math was never very easy for me,” Layman said. “I discovered that if I knew the formula though I just had to plug in the numbers and I could get through any math.
“That is part of what we are trying to do today,” he added. “We can’t say it enough, math is so very important to their future success.”
For many, the fear of math is a major obstacle to their success.
“Students need to realize not to put math off,” Kimberley Miller, division chair for math, science and agriculture at SFCC, said. “They really need to focus on what classes they need and make sure they get those classes in the right rotation.
“We want the students to know that we are here to help them with any questions they may have about what classes they need,” she added. “The Navigators are also a tremendous resource for the students who attend SFCC.”
Part of the reason Saturday’s program focused on the importance for math in college and beyond is that the Upward Bound program targets first-generation high school students.
The program is a federally-funded partnership between SFCC and the Sedalia School District 200 that works with the students to develop the skills needed to complete high school and college.
Participants in the program must be first-generation college students, be at risk for academic failure or meet federally regulated income guidelines set annually by the federal government.
Lilibeth Lozada, a senior at S-C, attended Saturday’s sessions and said the classes helped her realize what her focus for math in the upcoming semesters in both high school and college should be.
“There are so many things I want to do in the future,” Lozada said. “I have always struggled with math but the sessions today helped me realize some of the opportunities that are available to me.
“I’m so grateful to the staff for giving me the opportunity to attend and succeed,” she added.
Her classmate, Austin Wood, agreed with Lozada.
“Math is a weakness of mine, in fact I am not taking a math class this semester,” Wood said. “I’m taking college algebra next semester and the ACT Test Prep seminar was really good.”
One of the reasons students may benefit from the program is that Layman was in their same shoes and knows firsthand what the students are facing.
“I always knew I wanted to go to college but neither of my parents went and so I really wasn’t sure how to get there, what I needed to do.” Layman said. “I was part of the first Upward Bound class at SFCC and I found that everything I needed to know was all in one program.
“Not only did it provide me with the information that I needed to know, because sometimes it seems getting into college can be almost impossible,” Layman added. “Not only did it help me in that aspect but it exposed me to so many cultural and academic things that I might otherwise have never been exposed to.”
Upward Bound will be recruiting new participants for the program during November. For more information about Upward Bound, call 851-5378.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484