Local, incoming eighth-graders who enjoy math from Rancho San Justo, Calaveras, Tres Pinos, Aromas, and San Juan schools were among a total of 130 students from six other other nearby schools for the week-long Bruce W. Woolpert Algebra Academy in Watsonville.
Held at Graniterock’s corporate headquarters Aug. 7-11, the students sharpened their algebra skills 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Students also rotated over to berry grower Driscoll’s Cassin Ranch for classes and took a field trip to California State University, Monterey Bay. Students were taught by professors from U.C. Santa Cruz, CSUMB, school teachers and technical assistants.
Christy Zepeda, the academy coordinator, explained that the academy is designed for those students who already excel in algebra and would benefit from the algebra-intense week. The students stretch their math knowledge, have fun playing math games with their peers from other schools and hear from scientists, engineers and other professionals who use math in their daily work.
The enrichment continues through the school year by students participating in fall and spring field trips and are encouraged to form math clubs and math festivals to sustain student learning and develop a culture of mathematics within their schools.
Kevin Jeffrey, Graniterock’s general counsel, explained to the writer, a school board member from the Hollister School District, that the academy’s existence is for those students that actually enjoy math for the sake of math, not just because it is part of their curriculum. Each table in the company’s cafeteria where the students come together is decorated with a university’s name and logo, emphasizing higher education is the goal for the participants.