Todays high school graduates need a higher understanding of math to succeed in postsecondary education.

With many current K-12 teachers preparing to retire and a recently increased four-year math requirement for high school students, educators say professional development in statistics is imperative to meet the changing needs of West Virginias high school teachers.

Marjorie Darrah and Laura Pyzdrowski, faculty members in theDepartment of MathematicsatWest Virginia University, have received a grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission for $55,000 to develop a statistics workshop to address the need for increased professional development opportunities.

Through real-world applications, technology skills and instructional strategies, a summer workshop called 21st Century Statistics will be held at WVU Aug. 11-15 to prepare high school math instructors in West Virginia to meet the needs of teachers and their students.

We encounter statistics every day through advertising, news, business and more,said Darrah, who teaches students how to transform important information into easy-to-understand math.Statistics can help make a decision, create an educated consumer, discredit misleading advertising and show improvement in business sales.

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is using content and context learning, adopting the WVDE s Framework for High Performing 21st Century High Schools. West Virginia is the second state in the United States to use this strategy. The contextual learning program will study statistics in depth, while teaching new strategies and technology to use in the classroom. The program assists educators in the development of their lesson plans by allowing them to observe experts in the field.

James Lang, a professor of math and statistics at Valencia Community College in Orlando, Fla., will lead the weeklong 21st Century Statistics workshop at Armstrong Hall on WVU s Downtown Campus. He has been instructing workshops for teachers on Advanced Placement statistics and calculus since 1994.

Twenty high school mathematics educators are registered to participate from Taylor, Randolph, Wood, Harrison, Preston and Monongalia countiesareas that are considered high need by the Teacher Quality Grant Program. These participants will receive an $800 stipend to choose materials to teach and design lesson plans.

Faculty members of WVU and Fairmont State University are also welcome to attend, but will not receive a stipend. Those interested may contact Darrah at 304-293-2011 ext. 2340 or , or Pyzdrowski at .

Two follow-up sessions will help teachers lead professional development sessions in their counties and discuss student performance to evaluate the progress of the program. The program does not certify instructors to teach statistics, but prepares those who lack an up-to-date background to apply for certification, Darrah said.

This workshop allows teachers to make real-world connections with professionals who use statistics on a daily basis,said Darrah, who hopes the program will improve scores on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test and the ACT college entrance exam.

With the help of the Blue Ribbon Mathematics Partnership Committee, we have been fortunate to be awarded funds for professional development in our region,Pyzdrowski said.The collaborative nature of members on the committee allow for us to develop good projects that meet the needs of our faculty.

Darrah earned masters and doctoral degrees in mathematics from WVU . She taught 15 years in higher education and spent 12 years working with middle and high school programs. The WVU professor specializes in graph theory and discrete math. She has investigated three educational outreach programs with the National Science Foundation and the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation, and she has worked with various other teacher training programs over the years.

Pyzdrowski earned her masters degree in mathematics and a doctorate in mathematics education from WVU . She regularly works with public school teachers and faculty members in higher education on projects led by the West Virginia Department of Education, and she coordinates the Blue Ribbon Mathematics Partnership Committee. Additionally, she is the precollegiate mathematics coordinator and coordinator of college algebra, precalculus and mathematics for elementary and middle school teachers in the Department of Mathematics. Pyzdrowski also serves as director of the WvEB Math program for high school students.

TheDepartment of Mathematicsis in theEberly College of Arts and Sciencesat WVU . Project partners involved with the grant include the Blue Ribbon Mathematics Partnership Committee and Johnna Bolyard and Ye Sun from the College of Human Resources and Education at WVU .