Partnering the construction industry with education is one of the primary objectives of the AGC Education Foundation. One of the Foundation’s grantees the Construction Careers Academy (CCA) at Meridian High School in Bellingham has demonstrated a strong commitment to this objective through their construction education program and its sustained partnership with local industry. In an effort to further strengthen the efforts of the CCA’s exemplary program and to enhance math skills of high school students the Foundation selected Meridian High School as the recipient of a new pilot project. Funded by the generous donors of the AGC Education Foundation a year-long math course Construction and Occupational Math will be offered this fall to interested junior and senior high school students.
Construction Math is not new to the AGC Education Foundation. In 2005-2006 the Foundation partnered with the Construction Center of Excellence and others to develop Blue Print for Success: Construction Math Toolbox through a grant provided by the Transition Math Project. This toolbox was created to provide teachers with sample math lessons specific to construction projects hoping these lessons would translate into peaked interest in construction careers and improved student math skills. The original grant was awarded in response to the staggering statistics regarding student success in math: 35% of college freshmen enroll in remedial math more than any other subject 49% of students entering a two-year college directly after high school must take a pre-math course before enrolling in a credit math course. Apprenticeships and two-year construction programs at community and technical colleges are also dealing with severe math remediation issues. The time is now for a stand-alone construction math curriculum to reach a targeted student population who will eventually impact our industry.
At the state level an effort to increase student learning in preparation for post-secondary education the State Board of Education (SBE) recently revised the state’s math credit rule increasing the high school graduation requirement by one credit effective for the Class of 2013. Current options are limited for students to fulfill this requirement and alternatives are not widely available in high schools around the state. The SBE has stated that appropriate career and technical education courses that are quantitative and math-based will meet this new standard. Meridian High School (Construction Careers Academy) and the AGC Education Foundation have taken the opportunity to become innovative leaders in meeting this new state requirement with our pilot project Construction and Occupational Math.
During the 2009-2010 school year Construction and Occupational Math will be offered directly to students to earn credit toward their high school diploma allowing them to enter apprenticeship programs two-year colleges or earn advanced degrees in construction management with solid math skills. We intend to monitor student progress engage with the educator work with the school district and analyze results all with the hope of spreading this program to other schools throughout the state of Washington.