EWU inspires students to ‘Dare to Dream’

September 8, 2017 By eastern247
Photo: Seven students outside

This week, the Dare to Dream Academy returns to EWU’s campus to provide migrant high school students a glimpse of college life and expose them to resources for pursuing higher education.

The six-day program includes 14-hour workdays including team building activities, workshops and a variety of keynote speakers. The 146 attending students are divided into two separate tracts: Hero’s Journey Academy (ninth and 10th-grade students) and Math Academy (11th- and 12th-grade students).

The Hero’s Journey Academy is aimed toward empowering students to make informed decisions at the high school level about choosing career paths. Students will be exposed to the college life of being on campus, receive mentoring from current and former EWU migrant students, eat in the cafeterias, and live in the dorms, where they will be staying in Louise Anderson Hall.

While Washington State University, Central Washington University and the University of Washington all host their own Hero’s Journey program within Dare to Dream, EWU is the only university to host an academy for math – and this year EWU has been tasked with piloting a new curriculum that could become implemented with other universities statewide.

The Bridge to College Math curriculum was designed around meeting the Washington state standards for preparing students for college. Its central focus is to help students connect mathematical ideas with practical means in everyday life.

“The idea is that with the math struggle around the state, with this model, if we get it correct, is that the other academies will be adopting the curriculum that our instructors will be facilitating next week,” Jennifer Nunez, EWU’s Director of the College Assistance Migrant Program, said.

The Math Academy will be taught exclusively by EWU faculty and they’re looking to try out a new, innovative technique of videotaping mathematically productive instructional routines.

“This is actually something that state math specialists are trying to get teachers all over the state to do, in every grade,” said EWU mathematics professor Jackie Coomes PhD, who helped design the curriculum. “This is to help us understand that we have we all have different ways of thinking about certain mathematical ideas. So by sharing the way they think about these things, students broaden and refine the ways that they can think about these mathematical ideas, connect them to what that means in everyday life and hopefully gain a better understanding.”

Attending students will receive .5 high school credits for completing the academy, with Hero’s Journey counting toward an elective credit and the Math Academy counting toward a math credit. While there is no graded work throughout the week, students will be asked to reflect on their work and give a presentation at the end.

The Dare to Dream Academy was made possible by a $172,540 grant by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), who also recruited the registered migrant students to the academy from communities all around the state.

To help faculty prepare for the academy, Nunez had a professional come from the Tri-Cities and give the faculty a migrant 101 class to help them better understand the students.

“We’re really excited to meet the individuals, get to know them and get them excited about coming to college,” Coomes said.