MINT HILL – Jim Vanosdall and the rest of the math department at Rocky River High School are serious about STEM education and educating students about opportunities in the field.
That’s why Vanosdall, along with teachers Leigh Evans and Linda Kuieck and Rocky River Assistant Principal Quintin Chiles, brainstormed and came up with the idea to give students and their parents a chance to dig into what it means to work in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
“The biggest thing is I want (students) to be excited about is what math has to offer. One of the biggest questions we get is, ‘When am I ever going to use this?’” Vanosdall said. “When they hear how to use it from people in the
workforce, it definitely hits home.”
That’s why Vanosdall and the school are partnering with organizations like Siemens, a lead supplier in the field of energy technology, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, as well as Central Piedmont Community College to host Math Night on Thursday, Jan. 9, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the high school, 10505 Clear Creek Commerce Drive.
Vanosdall got the idea to host the event after attending some professional development opportunities with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools last summer. The seminars helped teachers take a deeper look into the ways STEM education skills are used in the work force, Vanosdall said, adding the experience was incredible. In addition to gaining useful information to take to the classroom, Vanosdall also found a willingness from companies like Siemens to come to the school and talk to students directly.
Whether students are looking to attend a four-year college and pursue a master’s degree or are hoping to enter the workforce directly after high school, Math Night will give Rocky River students a chance to weigh their options.
“There is a lot of money to be made in these fields, and in some cases, it doesn’t take a four-year degree to get the positions,” Vanosdall said. “Our goal is that we wanted to cater to both ends of the spectrum. A lot of times the push is a four-year college – and that’s a great route – but it’s not for
Students and their parents will have the opportunity at Math Night to attend sessions like SAT/ACT preparation, hear from a panel of students who attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, talk with professionals from Siemens and the NASCAR Hall of Fame about job opportunities with different types of educational backgrounds, a question and answer session about CPCC’s two-year programs, ask Rocky River math teachers about Common Core Standards and hear from Rocky River’s Mu Alpha Theta National Mathematics Honor Society students, who will give participants a look into the use of technology at the school.
“We thought it would be fun for some of our best students to run a session for parents to show them all the different ways we use technology at the school,” Vanosdall said, especially since a lot of the technology also can be accessed from home. “The goal for this event is that, eventually, this would be a school-wide initiative to showcase each department. I wanted to start with STEM just because there is such a need for workers in the STEM field.”