New education partnership puts the focus on math proficiency

New high school course for seniors will bridge the math gap

WINOOSKI (June 25, 2018) –  Vermont Student Assistance Corp., the Vermont State Colleges System and the Vermont Agency of Education have teamed up to create a new high school math course that will ensure that students leave high school with the math skills to begin college and career training programs.

VSAC research has shown that students with higher-level math skills are more likely to enroll – and successfully complete – college and career training.

Without those requisite math skills, students are far less likely to continue their education and if they do, they are often required to take remedial courses, incurring an extra cost while not earning credit.

Over the summer, a team of high school teachers and college professors will design a 12th grade course curriculum to be used at three high schools beginning in fall 2019, with plans to make the course available statewide in 2020.

The course will provide rigorous academic content as well as essential learning and social skills necessary to succeed in postsecondary education after high school graduation. This course will be taught in the high school by high school teachers and passing it will qualify students to take math within the Vermont State Colleges System without the need for remediation.

“Having high school teachers and college professors design this course together is smart and innovative,” said Yasmine Ziesler, chief academic officer at the Vermont State Colleges System. “The conversations we are starting in this group will lead to stronger transitions for all students.”

The course design team includes Todd MacKenzie from Center for Technology at Essex; Kaaren Meyer from Stowe High School; Julie Parah from Green Mountain Union High School; Gillian Gale from Castleton University; Daisy McCoy from Northern Vermont University-Lyndon and Rachel Repstad from Vermont Technical College.

This partnership with the Vermont State Colleges System and Agency of Education begins to address some of the issues VSAC has identified and that challenge students in their college and career transitions after high school,” said Scott Giles, president and CEO of VSAC. “As state education leaders, we all want to see our students be successful as they take the next step in their education future.”

The team expects that this course design model and its key learnings can be used to develop an English course in the future.

“This is the beginning of a great partnership that promises to have a significant impact on the success of our high school graduates,” said Heather Bouchey, acting secretary of the Agency of Education.  “The skills these participating seniors will master will help them make successful transitions to college. It is a natural progression of Governor Scott’s focus on a cradle-to-career learning system.”

The partnership and curriculum development are funded by VSAC’s federal GEAR UP grant.

About VSAC – Changing Lives through Education and Training since 1965

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation is a public, nonprofit agency established by the Vermont Legislature in 1965 to help Vermonters achieve their education and training goals after high school. VSAC serves students and their families in grades 7-12, as well as adults returning to school, by providing education and career planning services, need-based grants, scholarships and education loans. VSAC has awarded more than $600 million in grants and scholarships for Vermont students, and also administers Vermont’s 529 college savings plan. Share your VSAC story by email to myVSACstory@vsac.org or submit a video to YouTube. Find us at www.vsac.org or check in on Facebook and Twitter. #changing lives