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Local Distance Learning Program Aims To Build Students' Confidence, Sharpen Math Skills

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A new, innovative distance learning math program in Baltimore has received lots of positive feedback from students and parents, especially with COVID-19's impacts to the classrooms.

Accelerated learning and growth are the key foundations for University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Lakeland Elementary Middle school's new online summer math program.

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"We believe that all the students that we're working with should have the opportunity to pursue algebra by the end of eighth grade," Josh Michael, of UMBC, said.


The five-week, free online program is geared towards preventing summer learning loss, which could increase this year due to COVID-19's impact on student learning during the school year.

"We know that that's when many of the learning gaps come, so students... some gaps develop, exposure to really rigorous curriculum may fall off, students may lose confidence in math," Michael said.

The program is made up of 150 rising third through eighth grade students, and 12 of UMBC's Sherman STEM Teacher Scholars Program.

"The core principles of connecting with students and families, focusing on math identity and then really focusing on math growth and acceleration," Michael said.

As the course wraps up it's final week, program leaders say it's been a major success.

"We have been so excited that over 90 percent of students and families engaged of 150 every day," Michael said.

The program's also addresses student's social-emotional needs first.

"We're building confidence and helping students see themselves in math," Michael said.

In the future, leaders hope to expand the program to reach other schools in Baltimore.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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