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UMBC Partnering With Baltimore School To Improve Students' Math Skills

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- University of Maryland Baltimore County students are helping elementary students build their math skills to help close the learning gap in Baltimore.

The UMBC Math Coaching Program works with 150 3rd through 8th grade students at Lakeland Elementary and Middle School.

Giving these students one-on-one attention to help them excel in math.

"I've seen them a lot more enthusiastic when they approach math," said UMBC student Savannah Windley. "They get very excited when we are here, and they always turn around and whisper to their friends, "Oh, the coaches are here. UMBC is here.'"

26 UMBC students majoring in math, science, education, or engineering are volunteering at Lakeland to help boost students' skills in this critical subject.

"It's an incredible program and incredible partnership with UMBC," said Lakeland principal Najib Jammal. "It's the difference of getting that extra support, and building that confidence to be successful in the classroom and in life."

Each day, students who need extra instruction to understand the material work in small groups for individualized guidance.

"One of my students just wrote a note to me and it made me tear up a little. It said, "Now I know why math is important. It's so important to learn math, and I'm excited to keep learning math,'" said teacher Kerena Thomas.

The UMBC Math Coaching Program launched last year, and so far, educators are seeing remarkable progress.

"Working with the teachers, they are doing a lot of work as well, we have seen a 7.3 percent increase in the number of students passing the PARCC Assessment here at Lakeland," said Joshua Michael, assistant director of the UMBC Math Coaching Program.

It's a program that closes the learning gap and empowers Baltimore's young minds.

The overall goal of the coaching program is to expand outside Lakeland and into other Baltimore schools.

UMBC first began working with Lakeland five years ago to strengthen STEM learning. The math coaching is part of that partnership.

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