Thanks to a commitment to open up communication, parents understand new ways of learning math at Parent Night.

Soft SkillsPrincipal Todd Parker of A.L. Brown High School decided to get the communication flowing, and help parents cope with the struggle to understand how math is taught by hosting a Family and Community Math Night.

“We’re one of the first schools that’s really starting to embrace this of bringing parents in and showing them really it’s not your grandmother’s mathematics class, or even your parents’,” Parker said. “This is new age, and it’s hard for kids. It really is. So really these math nights are just to help our parents understand that just computation, knowing your math facts isn’t really what math is about anymore. It really has to be more taking those concepts and then applying them to everyday life.”

Working with associate professor Dr. Michelle Stephan of UNC-Charlotte, the high school has worked with teachers to improve how math is taught.

“Math instruction has changed from a lot of the rote memorization kinds of things from when we were kids—algorithms, formulaic types of math problems to where if you do this, this, this, this, this, you get the right answer,” Parker said. “Math is no longer, that’s not what’s needed. That was for more of an industrialization aid, factory, manufacturing, where you just learned these steps. Today, math is so much more problem solving, whether it be through design, engineering, creativity.”

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