By Rebecca LaFlure
Killeen Daily Herald
Central Texas College teamed up with local school districts this month to provide two summer bridge programs aimed at enhancing students' math and science skills.
It's just one of many initiatives the Killeen and Copperas Cove school districts have taken in recent years to improve student achievement in these historically low-performance areas.
"We are encouraging a love for math and science," said Angela Reese, director of recruitment communications and outreach at CTC.
"A lot of the kids hate it because they don't understand it and have a hard time grasping the concepts. This reinforces what they've learned throughout the year and helps better prepare them for the upcoming semester."
The 15-day camps, which began on Monday, include many hands-on activities that relate math and science concepts to everyday life. About 250 kids have signed up to participate.
The programs also create a college-going culture, Reese said. Both programs are held on the CTC campus.
"The students can see what it's like to be on a college campus and be around other college students," she said. "It's just a way to enforce once again how important education truly is."
One camp, called the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Summer Math Adventure, is a pilot program offered for the first time this year. It is funded by a Michael and Susan Dell Foundation grant.
AVID prepares students in the academic middle for entrance into a four-year college. The camp is offered to KISD eighth-graders this year, but will expand to other grades next summer.
During the summer bridge program, students participate in intensive math content and support activities including physics lessons with toys, liquids and solids studies and experiments with sand.
"We try to give math and science concepts some relevance to what they see in everyday life," said Pamela Kirschner, KISD AVID director.
Also as a part of the pilot program, KISD and other selected districts will participate in the development of a new AVID math and science curriculum. This curriculum is going to be used in other school districts and AVID programs across the nation.
The other math and science program, offered to both Killeen and Cove school district students, is for seventh- to 10th-graders going into algebra 1, algebra 2 and geometry next school year.
During the next few weeks, the algebra students will use their math and science knowledge to create model houses. They will look at all aspects of the construction process including the building's environmental impact and soil preparation for plant life.
Geometry students will design and build a model bridge based on various math concepts. The students will discuss the bridge's size and how it will support the amount of traffic expected to use it.
Contact Rebecca LaFlure at 501-7548 or firstname.lastname@example.org.