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Our Children at the Crossroads: Path2Math

By Jim Wambach
June 5th,2018

Perspectives article by Jim Wambach, Executive Director

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

– Nelson Mandela, South African political leader

Dear Faith Network Community,

Thank you for all the help, love, understanding, and academic support that you have provided during this academic year! Because of your extraordinary efforts, almost 1,000 children have more hope for a promising future and a better opportunity to realize their God-given potential.

Math Tutor Jeni Williams and her students

From listening to schools and the community, it has become more evident to us that there is a widespread AND extremely urgent need to help children develop math “literacy” in the second grade and math “fluency” in the fifth grade. In 2017, 2,500 second-graders and 2,900 fifth-graders in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) tested below California standards. Right now, hundreds of second-grade children are 2 or more grade levels behind in their math skills!

Unless these children are able to gain a strong foundation of math skills and math awareness, they will struggle mightily in grades 3 and beyond. They will fall further and further behind as they are asked to incorporate new math skills and critical reasoning abilities. Many will rapidly lose self-confidence and self-esteem and become increasingly at risk of choosing the wrong path – and eventually dropping out of school.

There currently are no other providers of free, in-school math tutoring available to OUSD students. This school year, in response to that need, we decided to deepen and expand our existing math tutoring opportunities into a pilot math-tutoring program at two schools this year. This new program, Path2Math, will be more comprehensive and replicate the best practices of our Succeeding by Reading Program. Path2Math will eventually be available to all 19 schools currently served by our Succeeding by Reading program.

End-of-year celebration at the Laurel Math clinic

As in our Succeeding by Reading program, Path2Math tutors will be specifically trained and coached, and provided the tools necessary to successfully help a child learn to understand AND love math. Please consider becoming a Path2Math volunteer math tutor – it will be great fun and you will make a profound difference in a child’s life if you do!

For the children,

Jim

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Growing into the Promise

By faithnetwork
June 5th,2018

Article written by Pam May (Kids Count) and Jessie Palmatier (Admin)

A few of our faithful math tutors. Join the team!

This year has been a time of building up here at Faith Network. Along with adding several new staff members, we are excited to introduce the newest addition to the Faith Network family of programs: Kids Count! This learner-centered math tutoring program seeks to reduce barriers to success and provide a welcoming environment that supports teacher instruction while enriching student learning.

Our tutors take a personalized approach for each student, addressing the “mismatch” between a student’s grade level and the actual skills he or she has developed. Tutors find unique and creative opportunities to engage each student individually, making learning math a comprehensive and meaningful experience.

Math Tutor Steve Nation and his student Divine

Steve Nation, pastor of Oakland Worship Center and one of a handful of math tutors this school year, enjoys his time helping kids with math—and the other victories that come with it. In a recent interview, Steve explained that when he first sees kids come into tutoring, they’re not sure of themselves.

“You can see it in their posture sometimes. Slumping over when they’re doing their math problems, they’re not confident. And by the time you work with them a few weeks, their postures change, they’re sitting up straight now. They’re engaged and they’re excited about doing math now, as opposed to it being a drudge and a dread to them. You see that transformation happen right before your eyes.”

One of the most important things we can do for kids is to simply believe in them. Steve remembers, when raising his own kids, he had no doubt they would be good at math because it always came naturally to him. He brings the same confidence to his tutoring—he just believes the students will be successful. “That’s part of being ‘at promise,’” Steve says. “As Randy used to say, ‘We hold the crown up above their heads and let them grow into the promise that they have already within them.’ ”

 

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