Schools to Try New Teaching Equation

The school district and Cal State Fullerton announced Tuesday the beginning of a five-year, $6-million program to change the way math is taught to Santa Ana students.

Cal State Fullerton math professor David L. Pagni, who applied to the National Science Foundation for the largest grant ever received by the university, will direct the program.

Pagni said the program’s goal is to improve Santa Ana Unified School District math scores.

Pagni, who has collaborated with the school district for nearly 10 years, said many children in the district face a number of obstacles that include a lack of English skills and a lack of technology in their homes and schools.

“I want [math scores] to go up--I want them to go through the roof, but based on the experience so far, I have not seen them do that,” he said.


Pagni said he hopes to take a new approach to improve reasoning skills.

Instead of giving students pencil and paper to solve math problems, teachers will use wood blocks to help children understand concepts such as multiplication.

Then the students will be asked to explain how they solved the problems.

Every school district teacher from kindergarten through the fifth grade will receive training in the new math instruction, as well as every sixth- through ninth-grade teacher who specializes in math.

About 2,000 school district employees will receive the training, which begins in July.