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Parents to learn about math changes at academy

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Clayton County parents will see, this weekend, what middle and high school-aged children are learning in math classes when the school system hosts its "Saturday Math Academy for Parents."

Across the state, math classrooms are in a transitional period as schools shift from following the Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) to using the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). At the same time, classes are shifting from a teacher-centered model, to a student-centered one.

"The parents will receive more information about the changes going on in math, and what their children are experiencing every day in the classroom," said Tarcia Troup, secondary math coordinator for Clayton County Schools.

This weekend's math academy is designed to teach parents about the changes. They will learn tips they can use to help their children with homework, and prepare for standardized tests, such as the SAT and the ACT, End of Course Tests (EOCT) and the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT).

As its name suggests, the academy will be held on Saturday, from 9 a.m., to noon, at the Eula Wilborn Ponds Perry Learning Center, 137 Spring St., Jonesboro. District officials expect that about 200 parents will attend.

With the shift from the QCC curriculum to the GPS curriculum, teachers and students are having to adjust to a new class structure.

In the past, teachers stood in front of a class and told the students about math concepts, ranging from First-Outer-Inner-Last (FOIL) in algebra, to theorems in geometry. Students now receive some instruction from teachers, but they mainly "discover" these concepts in small groups, with the teacher acting as a guide, explained math coordinator Troup.

The pupils are put in cooperative learning groups, where they perform tasks. The teacher walks around the classroom and offers assistance in the form of "probing questions" designed to help students understand in which direction they should be headed.

Troup also said parents will learn about techniques and web sites which will enable them to help children with their math homework. Some of the keys to helping students are to be informed about the math curriculum, and make the children do the problems, and then show parents how they reached the answer, Troup added.

The Georgia Performance Standards are listed on the Georgia Department of Education's web site, as well as the school system's web site. Parents also can go to www.classzone.com, and find out the correct answers for the math problems, as well as the correct methods for reaching those answers.

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On the net:

Georgia Department of Education: http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/

Clayton County Public Schools: http://www.clayton.k12.ga.us/

ClassZone: http://www.classzone.com/