How To Get Students Ready for College-Level Math? These Valley Educators Are Working on It. - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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How To Get Students Ready for College-Level Math? These Valley Educators Are Working on It.



Math educators are preparing for a new California law requiring students to be better prepared for transfer-level math at four-year universities. (Shutterstock)
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One of School Zone’s regrets from her high school days was dropping out of her senior calculus class midway through the year. Sure, she was earning an A-minus, but School Zone was already pretty certain she wasn’t going into a STEM field and wanted to devote her academic pursuits to something that wouldn’t make her head hurt.

School Zone’s breaking point was having to consider how a limit, which describes how a function behaves near a point instead of at the point, could be limitless. (Perhaps if School Zone had had access to “Mean Girls,” the concept of limitless limits might have clicked. But alas.)

Fortunately for our future STEM students, Central Valley math professors are gearing up to make sure that high schools and community colleges adequately prepare them for the rigors of transfer-level courses, smoothing their passage to four-year universities.


Check out earlier School Zone columns and other education news stories at Nancy Price’s School Zone Facebook page.

Two Assembly bills, AB 705 and AB 1705, were designed to make sure that students aren’t shunted into lower-level English or math classes that they may have already passed in high school, and that they get the support they need to pass transfer-level classes. The goal is to level the playing field and make the classes more accessible to all students.

The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium has scheduled a one-day conference for Friday, Jan. 26, in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Fresno Convention Center for math educators, administrators, and institutional researchers to review how best to implement AB 1705 in the upcoming school year. The consortium is a nonprofit that links Valley public and private colleges from Stockton to Bakersfield.

The “strands” that will be up for discussion are validating prerequisites, designing precalculus for 2025, math support outside and inside the classroom, building an AB 1705 campus team, and guided self-placement.

Representatives of the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin will act as facilitators in the development of materials and strategies.  “The Central Valley Way to AB 1705 Success” is free with advance registration and will include lunch. Click here to register.

Also in School Zone: 

  • Electric school buses will deliver school kids in this Valley district.
  • Fresno Pacific has a new chief information officer to oversee the university’s tech needs.
  • This Fresno school trustee retains her fundraising trophy.

Fed Grant Powers Electric School Bus Buys for Porterville Unified

Porterville Unified is among the California school districts winning a portion of $88 million from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program.

Porterville, which lies at the base of the Sierra in Tulare County, will get 35 electric buses.

Will that make a dent in the air pollution from the Bay Area and Valley that washes over Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, making air quality there sometimes worse than Los Angeles? Hard to say, but probably every little bit helps.

Fresno Pacific Hires New IT Chief

Brad Barker

A longtime Fresno State administrator is the new chief information officer at Fresno Pacific University. Brad Barker started his new job on Dec. 1.

At Fresno Pacific, he will be responsible for updating current employees with technology skills.

Barker’s three-decade career at Fresno State included serving as a programmer/database administrator and as senior director of cloud technologies, infrastructure, and technology support.

“I’m excited to welcome Brad Barker as FPU’s new chief information officer in continued partnership with CampusWorks,” said FPU President Dr. André Stephens in a news release. “His collaborative style and depth of project experience will be an asset to FPU.”

CampusWorks is a Florida-based IT services and consulting firm.

Edison Region Tops Again in Giving Tuesday ‘Contest’

Fresno Unified Trustee Keshia Thomas, who represents the Edison Region, gets to keep the trophy as the district’s top Giving Tuesday fundraiser. The district reported that Thomas claimed victory in two challenges, raising the most money and as well as the biggest donation. She collected $3,265 from 37 donors.

In addition to bragging rights, Thomas netted an extra $1,000 in scholarship funds for her region.

The real winners, of course, are the Fresno Unified students who will receive regional scholarships. The district’s two-day Giving Tuesday (which also included Monday, Nov. 27) fundraiser netted $13,106, almost $2,000 more than last year.

Thomas reclaimed what Superintendent Bob Nelson jokingly called the “gaudy and ostentatious” trophy at Wednesday’s School Board meeting.

Linda Laettner, Fresno Unified’s executive officer of engagement and external partnerships, presents the Giving Tuesday trophy to Trustee Keshia Thomas at Wednesday’s School Board meeting. (Fresno Unified)

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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