Treasure Mountain teacher tutors math students after school.
Intently attacking math problems in the Treasure Mountain library after school were more than 20 students who generally admitted
THEY DID NOT LIKE MATH. But that was where Treasure Mountain math teacher Steve Macias entered into the equation. He does like math, and he wants to help others learn to like it or at least tolerate it.
A former CPA from Chicago, Macias became a Treasure Mountain International Middle School math teacher eight years ago, "because I wanted to have a positive impact on young people." With his roots in the Midwest, he talks to students about positive, wholesome influences like former Chicago Bears star Walter Payton.
Last year he formed an "After-School Math Club," because he saw the high number of students who were struggling to keep up with their math classes, and vowed to do something about it. "Students were not keeping up with classes. They weren’t developing mathematically for the next level, Macias said. "We’re trying to provide a safety net."
He gets paid a stipend for his after-school work, but seeing his passion for helping students understand math, it becomes obvious he is not doing this for monetary gain.
Macias admits he has had mixed success with student turnout. "Even when teachers sent letters home to parents of struggling students, parents didn’t make the students come in for additional help," he said. "That saddened me."
But the program has helped those students who are participating keep up with their classes. "We made Annual Yearly Progress this year at Treasure Mountain," Macias said. AYP is a part of the Federal program of "No Child Left Behind," which measures students’ progress from year to year. Macias said.
Now called the "Homework Club," because other teachers want to get involved and mentor with their areas of expertise, Macias offers one hour of tutoring Monday through Thursday in the Treasure Mountain Library.
Some days only a few students show up. But it is gaining in popularity, and, Monday, around 25 students brought in the tests they took the week before to correct and learn from the questions they missed.
"I’m having issues," said 8th grade student Kelsi Vic as she approached Macias. She asked him for help with the pre-algebra test questions she missed. Most of the students working with Macias are either studying pre-algebra, or elementary algebra," Macias said.
"I hate math," said Brian Schettler, an eighth-grade student. But he seemed upbeat and not frustrated. "Mr. Macias has been a good teacher," he said.
Macias said, "I don’t know if you could say they’re enjoying math, but at least they are more comfortable with it."
Mary Klismith, a school councilor, entered the library.
"Wow, look at all the kids," she said. She often refers students who are struggling in math to Macias.
On this Monday, he had students surrounding him, requesting help. As soon as he helped one, another was arriving, taking that person’s place with questions. And Macias seemed more than happy to help whoever needed the help.
The homework club is available to Treasure Mountain students needing assistance in math. Hours are from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. A bus takes after-school students to their homes at 4 p.m. For more information, call Steve Macias at (435) 645-5640 ext. 3450
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