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How do math skills add up in real life? Workshop at JCSU solves the problem

Charlotte, N.C. (Aug. 4, 2014) — Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) and career professionals are partnering this summer to make an impact in real life and problem-based mathematics. From July 28 – Aug. 8, JCSU is hosting high school mathematics teachers from CMS  in a professional development workshop that focuses on careers that incorporate mathematics and its applications. The title of the program is IMPACT: Improving Mathematic Persistence and Achievement through Community partnerships and Transformative teaching.

The IMPACT program is a North Carolina MSP grant-funded project and the brainchild of three Charlotte mathematics educators: Dr. Vanessa Figgers and Dr. Dawn McNair, JCSU math professors, and Joanne Whitley, secondary math specialist with CMS. It is a $1.6 million project over three years.

Workshop participants not only include teachers, but also additional STEM faculty from JCSU and math lead teachers from CMS who serve as facilitators. Additionally, career professionals from the community are sharing how they apply concepts of mathematics in their daily work. They represent traditional STEM areas as well as areas of marketing in banking, civil engineering, and photography. The participants are engaging in and creating problem-based tasks in their career areas, exploring current technological applications and reviewing standards and content knowledge. The goal is to take these experiences back into the classroom.

“This is a win-win situation for all involved,” said Figgers. “For the CMS teachers, the workshop experience broadens their knowledge of math content and real life applications while equipping them with tools to offer rigor in the classroom.”

Similarly, STEM faculty at JCSU are gaining an understanding of the progression of mathematics teaching and standards before students reach the college campus. The participation of  career professionals in the workshop helps to foster community engagement with education on all levels and helps teachers answer the common student-posed question, “When will I ever use this math?”

About Johnson C. Smith University

Founded in 1867, Johnson C. Smith University is an independent, close-knit urban university located in Charlotte, N.C. It has a growing national reputation for integrating the liberal arts with business, the sciences and technology in ways that empower tomorrow’s diverse entrepreneurial citizens and leaders. Offering 22 fields of study to more than 1,300 students from a variety of ethnic, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds, the university’s excellent academic programs focus on servant leadership, civic engagement and global responsibility. For more information about JCSU, visit or follow the university on social media sites Facebook , TwitterYouTubeLinkedIn and Pinterest.


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