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Who Understands Math in High School??...

“You help with math?!” one client I spoke with at a Food Pantry exclaimed.

I LOVE recruiting students for Literacy For All (LFA)/College Still Achievable (CSA)!

Many people do not know HOW we can help them. Until we tell them.

LFA/CSA is designed to provide literacy services for students to gain competitive and advanced skills. We want to help students who would not consider approaching a literacy organization for tutoring.

When I worked at another literacy organization, I often went to meal programs, food pantries and transitional living facilities to find students. I thought if someone does not know how to read or speak English, he or she would have trouble finding us. Therefore, we needed to find them.

Those were students whose lack of reading or speaking ability permeated through all areas of their lives. If they were at a restaurant, they ordered the same meal as they could not read the menu. They struggled with grocery shopping, reading a map or paying their bills. Their lack of literacy skills forever challenged their everyday living.

LFA will definitely help those students. But our focus is to give students the advanced and competitive literacy skills to achieve their highest potential.

When I recruited at a Food Pantry last week, I had a 30 second conversation with each client to find their occupational, health and academic goals.

All in 30 seconds!

I would not say to a client, “We can help you with your reading skills.” Because more often than not, he or she would say, “I have no problem with reading.”

So getting back to math…

One client, I spoke with, dropped out of cosmetology school because math was too hard. She was never good at math. She said she did not know she would need math for her degree in the future.

I mean, unless you want to be a math teacher or engineer, who really thinks math is necessary for their career in high school?

But now, I work with a lot of students, who cannot pass a math assessment or afraid to take one. What is hard is that most of these students have excellent experiences in different jobs (such as nursing), but are struggling in doing the math.

So they cannot get in or graduate a postsecondary program.

I spoke with six food pantry clients who had the same story. With each client I spoke with, I kept hearing, “You help with math?!”

I pretty much said this in these words:

Having a one-on-one tutor can help explain concepts you did not learn the first time around in math. Doing poorly in math and taking math twenty years ago in high school and in a high school environment does not mean you are bad in math.

This was my experience with high school math:

I was in a classroom of about 30 other students. I always had questions, and there never seemed enough time to get them answered. If I was lucky, I had about twenty seconds at the end of the class to ask a quick question.

Mind you, I was in high school. Where other things seemed more important. I can honestly tell you, however, I did take detailed notes.

Of the blond haired, broad shouldered guy sitting in front of me, my best friend’s biggest crush.

I noted what he said, how he acted, what he said to me and how he did on quizzes. While now a days this may be considered stalking, this was acceptable behavior in the 80s (I think!).

Needless to say, I did not do my best or learn the most in math class. I passed by doing extra credit, showing all the work for partial credit and turning in all my homework (but not always getting it right).

When you take an assessment to get into a postsecondary program, you get credit only for doing the problem right. Period.

Performing poorly in math in high school does not mean one is cursed in math.

It does mean, however, College Still Achievable is here to help anyone be successful with their academic endeavors.

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