A perfect equation

New scholarship sends Schoolcraft tutors to Garden City Middle School

By Jason Woolery
Staff Writer

Garden City Middle School students have a chance to expand on their math skills this year from a new grant program initiated by Schoolcraft College.  The $5000 grant was written last May by Dr. Bonnie Heckard, Associate Dean of College Centers, to allow three groups of students to participate in a new after-school mathematics program.  The program consists of three mini-terms throughout the school year that allow twenty students per term to participate.  Teaching its classes are Schoolcraft College’s Steven Kliemann, a math tutor at the college, and Anita Guethlein, an assistant that works in Schoolcraft’s Learning Assistance Center.

Schoolcraft administrators had long been interested in setting up more direct interaction between the college and the middle school.  “We asked what we could do to partner with their school,” said Heckard, in charge of administering this program.  Mr. Brian Sumner, Principal of Garden City Middle School answered, expressing the desire for augmentation of their current math studies for a handful of students whom he felt needed just a little extra support.

Steven Kliemann tutoring Middle School Student Jacob Sanders.

LAC employee Steven Kliemann congratulates Garden City Middle School Student Jacob Sanders on a job well done.

In regards to the price of these services, the program is free, which makes it a perfect resource to families in need of assistance.  The teachers receive the grant money provided by the Schoolcraft foundation which, in turn, raises its money from fund-raising events that is appropriated to different programs.

The conclusion the administrators had decided upon in regards to the curriculum was that classes would be conducted every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:55 p.m. to 4:25p.m. for eight weeks.  Students may walk to the college center from school, which is located across the street, on those days to participate.  Unfortunately, there is no bus available to take them home on those days but transportation issues were addressed when administrators met with the participant’s parents.  As Dr. Heckard said in regards to the issue, “Parents can be supportive and positive.”

The teachers administering the program are trying hard to relate the material to general life concepts that the children are familiar with, such as gaming and basic financial ideals.  In regards to the gaming concepts, Ms. Guethlein said, “We are talking about storage space on their computers.  When you delete a program, you have more space.”  Some of the simplistic financial concepts they are presented with, as relates to the curriculum, are ideas such as being “in the black,” and being “in the red.”  This excellent method of teaching allows the students to understand, for instance, an algebraic number line, which has both positive and negative numbers going to infinity.

As Ms. Guethlein comments in regards to getting comfortable with mathematical concepts, “You will never make friends with it until you play with it a while and actually work with it.”  Instructor Mr. Kleimann, who grew up in the Wayne-Westland area, remembers how he was helped when he was having difficulty.  “I had a teacher reach out to me and build my confidence,” he declared. Now he’s getting a perfect opportunity to share that experience.  “I have such a passion for math that I want to do that for other people.”