Rose Counts on Success
Cheryl Rose, a secondary education-mathematics major at UMF, admits she’s one of those rare individuals who always got math.
But before you begrudge her love of all things exponential, polynomial and obtuse (geometrically speaking), know that Rose is doing everything she can to make sure the nation’s K-12 students succeed with math, too.”
At the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (a not-for-profit Augusta-based organization focused on improving math and science education in Maine), Rose served as mathematics senior program director, coordinating and delivering professional development for K-12 teachers nationwide. Also responsible for teaching materials development, she co-authored Mathematics Curriculum Topic Study (Corwin Press, 2006) and Uncovering Student Thinking in Mathematics (Corwin Press, 2007)—the latter with fellow UMF graduate Leslie Minton, who serves as a project director at MMSA. The books, one of which was developed with National Science Foundation funding, explain developmentally appropriate methods for teaching math as well as assessing and responding to common student difficulties with mathematical operations.
Now serving as project director in the Gardiner office of Educational Development Center Inc.—a not-for-profit organization that implements education, health and community development projects in 35 countries—Rose continues to enrich mathematics education nationwide.
“Everywhere I go, teachers want to know, ‘How do I get out of kids what they know before I begin to teach?’ and ‘What are some different activities and strategies to make math more meaningful?’” she said.
Among her recent projects is the Mathematics: Access and Teaching in High Schools program to improve content knowledge and create a best-practices teacher network across nine Maine school departments. The three-year Maine Dept. of Education-sponsored venture was a UMF reunion of sorts, as Rose invited one of her UMF professors, Maggy Wyckoff, to deliver the content knowledge portion of the program for 37 educators and administrators, including 21 UMF graduates. (It’s no surprise that “How many of you are UMF alumni?” is Rose’s favorite ice-breaker with new groups of teachers.)
Her work is now targeted at teachers, but Rose says parents are the most potent change agents in improving math competency.
“We need to work with children at home to explain how math is used in estimating distance and time, how percentages figure in understanding sale prices and how much to leave for a restaurant tip,” she said. “When children see parents connecting math to our everyday lives, then we truly prepare students to use mathematics beyond school—to be literate in mathematics.”