Mines News

Release Date Monday, August 15, 2016

RC Public Schools, Mines Propose Middle School Math Partnership

RAPID CITY, S.D. (Aug. 15, 2016) – The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and Rapid City Area Schools are partnering on a new math initiative designed to engage more middle school students in math, Superintendent Lori Simon and School of Mines President Heather Wilson announced today. 

Under the new partnership, supported last week by the South Dakota Board of Regents for submission to the governor for possible inclusion in his FY18 budget, SD Mines would partner with Rapid City Area Schools to expand math activities in middle schools throughout South Dakota. The math partnership approved by the Regents is budgeted at $53,500.

“Middle school is when some students start to be turned off to math. But it can actually be a lot of fun. By working more closely with public schools, we think the enthusiasm of Mines students and faculty for math and science can have a positive impact on the next generation of South Dakota students,” said President Wilson.

Rapid City Area Schools Superintendent Dr. Lori Simon said, “We are so excited about the prospect to partner with the School of Mines & Technology and expand co-curricular math activities for our students. This is an incredible opportunity to engage our students in math and show them just how fun it can be!”

The partnership would employ a middle school math teacher during the summer and a School of Mines math faculty member part time to significantly expand the number of middle school students engaged in co-curricular math activities in South Dakota. SD Mines and the Rapid City Public Schools would:

  • Collaborate with Technology and Innovation in Education (TIE) to develop extracurricular programs and supplemental materials that engage middle school students in mathematics.
  • Help establish more middle school math clubs by supporting and training MATHCOUNTS coaches for a national math competition for students in middle school.
  • Increase the number of middle school math competitions hosted at SD Mines from one a year to four.
  • Enhance the West River Math Contest, an annual contest that attracts over 350 students in middle school and high school.
  • Start a MathCircle that is focused on engaging middle school students in mathematics http://www.mathcircles.org/
  • Coordinate guest visits of mathematicians to local middle school classrooms.
  • Coordinate mentors from the School of Mines student body for math research projects that feed into local science fairs.
  • Develop workshops and provide additional participation opportunities in the American Mathematical Competitions.
  • Support seminars and workshops on the William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition, a national collegiate competition.

Rapid City math teachers worked with SD Mines math faculty to develop the proposal.

Math is the basis for science and engineering careers, and in South Dakota about 17 percent of students in 7th through 12th grades have selected a personal learning plan connected to science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) jobs. At the national level, 28 percent of incoming college freshmen select a STEM major.

Once in college, however, the substantial math requirement is often cited as a primary reason for students dropping out of STEM majors.

If supported by the governor and the legislature, the project would start in the summer of 2017.


About SD Mines  

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,778 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. The SD School of Mines placement rate is 96 percent, with an average starting salary of $62,929. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on Facebook and Twitter.


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