Baylor summer program helps improve elementary students’ math skills

Baylor summer program helps improve elementary students’ math skills
Published: Jul. 12, 2023 at 6:25 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Some elementary students are spending their summer improving their math skills. It’s all through the Baylor School of Education’s Mathematics for Early Learners Academy (MELA).

”When you think about math for early grades a lot of times people just think of counting,” MELA director Dr. Sandi Cooper said. “It really is more than that, and that’s the kind of thing that we do.”

Math really is fun and games at MELA as students learn number sense through dice and domino games. The program is based out of the Mayborn Museum and in between lessons the students get to explore the exhibits.

The four-week-long summer program is for incoming kindergarten and 1st grade students from La Vega, Waco and Midway ISD.

”They work with us to really identify who can use this summer intervention and experience to really engage more in math learning,” Dr. Cooper said.

Dr. Cooper said parents can sometimes overlook teaching these kinds of skills.

”Many times families feel like they need to teach literacy, but sometimes there’s not as much emphasis on math learning,” she said.

The classes are taught by a combination of teachers, paraprofessionals and Baylor School of  Education students like senior Domonique Rendon.

”One of my boys I had today, he has trouble with counting above the number five,” Rendon said.

She said in just one week she’s already noticed improvements with her students.

”When we played our game in the morning he was able to pick up six very quickly,” she said.

The four-week program is all about small improvements day-by-day that can lead to big results later in life.

”We hope that it makes a difference for them when they go into middle school and then in high school so that they can enter those more advanced math courses,” Dr. Cooper said.

The Baylor School of Education has developed its own curriculum for MELA. Dr. Cooper said she’s always observing the classrooms to figure out the best way to improve it for next summer.