Family, School, and Community Partnerships in Math
Dr. Lynn Hodge, associate professor of math education, used her 2012 Outreach Incentive Grant to partner with teachers at Knoxville’s Central High School to design and implement a Family Math Night event.
“Some might wonder whether Family Math Night is an effective way to inform parents of the [Common Core Curriculum] change and to involve families and mathematics in a nonthreatening environment?” said Central High mathematics teacher Michael Lawson.
“I believe the answer to that question is yes. I collected data pertaining to the parents’ and students’ perceptions of the usefulness and effectiveness of [a previous Family Math Night, in which] 100% of students and parents said that they would attend a similar event, if provided, in future.”
UT Graduate students in math education gained valuable experience while assisting Hodge and Central High faculty in designing curriculum for the event. The UT students were also able to interact with parents and students at the event itself to better understand and learn from their concerns.
“The goals of the project include building cooperative relationships with parents,” added Central High’s principal, Danny Trent. “[Our plan included] informing parents of the Common Core state standards, how these might look in a math class, and how problemsolving is embedded within both state and national standards.”
Family Math Night specifically addressed concerns raised in previous action research studies. These data indicated significant concern among parents and students about how Common Core state standards would impact math achievement and execution at Central High School.
A number of best practices or lessons learned can be drawn from the project, and the team plans to develop a joint paper that will address how research on family engagement can affect a high school math class and program.
Meanwhile, UT faculty and graduate students also hope to expand Family Math Night to include other Knox County schools as well as more rural districts, with an emphasis on building partnerships that encourage a culture of supporting mathematical learning.