Spring 2013
$150,000 Gift for New Research Fellow
Register Now - CCSS Summer Institute
New MTFs Join MfA SD
Tina Shinsato Selected as Mentor Fellow
Success by the Numbers: Advisory Council 2013
$45,000 Raised at Fall Fundraiser
Summer Academy Earns an "A"
Our Mission


Math for America San Diego seeks to improve student learning of mathematics by providing outstanding new teachers (MfA SD Fellows) with extensive professional support in their credential year and in their first four years of teaching.


Our Goals


Improve retention rate of mathematics teachers in low-performing and urban secondary schools.


Improve the quality of mathematics teaching by increasing teachers' content knowledge and pedagogical skills.


Improve student learning and achievement in mathematics in identified schools or school clusters.

MSA 2012

MfA SD Summer Institute

July 22 - August 6, 2013

UC San Diego

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Summer Institute 2012 


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We are grateful to the organizations and individuals who support our work.  


James B. Ax Family Foundation

Mara W. Breech Family Foundation

Barbara Bry and Neil Senturia Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation

Todd and Mari Gutschow Family Foundation

Joan and Irwin Jacobs Foundation of the Jewish Community Foundation

Maggie and Paul Meyer

Viterbi Family Foundation of the Jewish Community Foundation

Edward G. Wong Family Foundation

Math for America (National Office)

Support MfA SD's 2013   

Fundraising Campaign  


Math for America San Diego is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization with tax exempt status.  

We welcome support in any amount.



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Click here to make your secure online donation. 

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Where We Teach:  2012-13

Map of Fellows' Schools 


Carlsbad Unified School District

Carlsbad High School


Chula Vista Elementary School District

Arroyo Vista Charter School


Coronado Unified School District 

Coronado High School


Escondido Union High School District 

Escondido Community Day School

Escondido High School 

Orange Glen High School 

Valley High School


Grossmont Union High School District 

El Cajon Valley High School

Helix Charter High School


Oceanside Unified School District 

El Camino High School

Oceanside High School


Poway Unified School District 

Mount Carmel High School


San Diego Unified School District 

Audubon Elementary and Middle School 

Bethune Elementary and Middle School

High Tech High International 

La Jolla High School 

Lincoln High School 

Mira Mesa High School 

Monroe Clark Middle School 

Morse High School 

Patrick Henry High School 

Perkins Elementary and Middle School

San Diego High School 

Scripps Ranch High School 

Wangenheim Middle School


San Dieguito Union High School District 

Canyon Crest Academy 

La Costa Canyon High School

Torrey Pines High School


State of California

High Tech High Chula Vista 


Sweetwater Union High School District 

Olympian High School


Vista Unified School District 

Madison Middle School

Rancho Buena Vista High School

Vista High School 

Vista Magnet Middle School

Quick Links

From the DirectorWelcome


Dear Math for America San Diego Friends,


This year Math for America San Diego celebrates its five-year anniversary as a non-profit organization!  We have come a long way.  When we started the program in 2008, we selected an inaugural cohort of six mathematics teaching fellows.  With support from two NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Awards and generous private donations, there are now 43 MfA SD fellows teaching in 33 secondary schools across San Diego County.  We are very proud of the commitment and accomplishments of all of our exemplary teaching fellows.


Reaching our five-year mark means we have to say goodbye to our first cohort of fellows this spring.  Our "original six" fellows are Susie Amoroso, Orange Glen High School; Aaron Basch, Monroe Clark Middle School; Tom�s Cometto, Perkins Elementary and Middle School; Eric Flam, Escondido High School; Alex Powell, Lincoln High School; and Becky Vega, Morse High School.  Each of these outstanding teaching fellows was instrumental in helping us to shape and structure our newly formed organization.  As a group they set the bar for future cohort selection, supported incoming fellows, served as role models and were outstanding ambassadors for our new program.  Our "original six" may leave the fellowship, but they now become our first MfA SD alumni members.  We will honor them at a dinner at San Diego State University on May 31.


We are pleased to announce the James B. Ax Family Foundation donation of $150,000 to Math for America San Diego.  This amount, generously matched by the Math for America national office, will provide funding for the "MfA SD Ax Research Fellowship," a five-year research fellowship award.  We remain sincerely grateful for the Ax Family Foundation's generosity and continuing support.


In this newsletter, you will find information on our new Common Core State Standards Summer Institute for local mathematics teachers, meet our new Master Teaching Fellows and new Mentor Fellow, read about classroom data supporting MfA SD-modeled teaching methods, the Mathematics Summer Academy and our successful fall fundraiser.


We would like to extend a special thank you to our consortium and district partners, Advisory Council members and private donors.  We could not have come this far without your support and guidance.  I hope you will stay in touch and involved with our work.  With your help, we will continue our mission to improve mathematics teaching and learning for all San Diego County students.  

All the best, 
Barbara Edwards
  Executive Director
ResearchMfA SD Receives $150,000 for New Research Fellow

The James B. Ax Family Foundation has donated $150,000 to Math for America San Diego to fund the newly created MfA SD Ax Research Fellowship.  


"The James B. Ax Family Foundation has championed our program from the start," said Barbara Edwards, MfA SD executive director.  "We are honored and delighted to receive this generous gift.  The new fellowship will be devoted to research on student learning of mathematics.  We are most appreciative of the Ax Foundation's continued support of our mission to improve mathematics education in our community."


In 2008, the James B. Ax Family Foundation provided a five-year fellowship to UC San Diego graduate student Tom�s Cometto.  The fellowship included funding for a teaching credential and Master's degree and yearly stipend awards totaling $75,000.  The James B. Ax Family Foundation has also underwritten MfA SD's past fundraising receptions.  A portion of this new award will underwrite future fundraising events assuring 100 percent of every donation will support MfA SD program activities.


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RegisterRegister Now: Mathematics Common Core Summer Institute for Local Teachers
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Dr. Guershon Harel

Math for America San Diego is offering a set of new summer institutes to help local teachers integrate the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) into their Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 classes.  


The Mathematics Common Core Summer Institute is open to all San Diego County middle and high school math teachers, including pre-service and special education teachers.  Attendees will develop a clear understanding of CCSS Eight Mathematical Practices and CCSS content standards in algebra, learn strategies for incorporating the mathematical practices into their instruction and receive materials to share with colleagues when they return to their classrooms in the fall. 


The one-week summer institutes are June 17 - 21 and August 12 - 16, 2013, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at UC San Diego.  The cost is $575 per session with an early registration fee of $500 if received by May 1.  Registration is limited to 30 teachers per session.  Department teams are encouraged to attend together.  UC San Diego Extension credit is available for an additional fee.  For more information and to download a registration form click here

"The Mathematics Common Core Summer Institute is designed to promote a better understanding of the CCSS for algebra," said Dr. Guershon Harel, professor of mathematics at UC San Diego and instructor for the institute.  "The CCSS include eight mathematical practices, called Standards for Mathematical Practices.  The institute will focus on the connection between the CCSS content of algebra and these practices.  The institute will provide a strong foundation for integrating these new practices as they teach algebra.

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MTF 2012

MasterMfA SD Welcomes New Master Teaching Fellows 

Four experienced and exemplary mathematics teachers have been selected for the MfA SD Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship program.


The 2012 MfA SD Noyce Master Teaching Fellows are (clockwise from left):  Renee Kollar-Bachman, Rancho Buena Vista High School; Genevieve Esmende, Wangenheim Middle School; Christina Hilton, El Cajon Valley High School; and Valerie Rea, Orange Glen High School.


Supported through a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the five-year MfA SD Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship offers comprehensive leadership training and professional development to experienced middle and high school mathematics teachers who currently teach in high need school districts. Fellows receive an annual $10,000 stipend and comprehensive professional development, including participation in a three-week summer institute and year-long training sessions.  There are 12 MfA SD Master Teaching Fellows in the program.


Under the direction of Dr. Harel, Master Teaching Fellows review existing teaching approaches and curricula, and explore alternative, research-based teaching practices, including DNR (Duality, Necessity and Repeated Reasoning).  Developed by Dr. Harel, the DNR approach differs from other professional development work by simultaneously concentrating on a teacher's knowledge of mathematics, on how students learn and on specific teaching methods.  


Master Teaching Fellows receive onsite support and are able to visit and observe a mathematics classroom at Patrick Henry High School (PHHS) where MfA SD Senior Program Associate and PHHS mathematics teacher Dr. Ovie Soto uses DNR in his daily mathematics instruction.


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TinaTina Shinsato Joins MfA SD as Mentor Fellow
Mentor Shinsato
Tina Shinsato
Rancho Buena Vista High School mathematics teacher Tina Shinsato has been selected as a Mentor Fellow for the Math for America San Diego Fellowship program.

"We're delighted Tina is joining us," Edwards said.  "She is a highly regarded mathematics educator with a broad range of teaching and leadership experiences.  Her expertise and genuine passion for math education will be a great inspiration to our teaching fellows."
As an MfA SD Mentor Fellow, Shinsato will provide one-on-one, onsite support to selected new MfA SD fellows throughout their first years of teaching in San Diego County high need secondary schools.  She also will participate in professional development activities, including an annual three-week summer institute and year-long training sessions.
"I am honored to be chosen as a mentor for the Math for America San Diego program," Shinsato said.  "I know the importance of guidance and personal support during a teacher's early years in the classroom.  Mathematics is a challenging subject to teach and to learn.  As a mentor, I can provide direction and insight to help new teachers develop successful strategies for improved mathematics instruction."
Shinsato has been a teacher for 19 years.  Before joining Rancho Buena Vista High School, she served as a mathematics coach at Rancho Minerva Middle School from 2005 to 2010 and was a math teacher and department chair at Vista High School from 1993 to 2006.  She is currently an adjunct mathematics instructor for the Palomar Community College District.  She is also a participating instructor with the Palomar College Learning Assistant Program, a joint program with California State University San Marcos (CSUSM).  She served as an interim instructor for the Single Subject Mathematics Methods and Workshop for Future Math Educators program at CSUSM, and provided onsite supervision for CSUSM teacher candidates, serving as liaison between the university and the school site. Read more

SuccessSuccess by the Numbers at 2013 Advisory Council Dinner
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Jannelle Olivier

An increase in student achievement as a result of instructional methods promoted by Math for America San Diego's professional development work was the highlight at MfA SD's Advisory Council meeting on January 16 at UC San Diego's Faculty Club. 


MfA SD partner district superintendents, consortium university faculty and deans, and community advisory council members attended the fifth annual dinner meeting.  Jannelle Olivier, an MfA SD Master Teaching Fellow and math teacher at Olympian High School in Chula Vista, was the keynote speaker. 


Olivier's presentation outlined her use of a new set of teaching strategies she learned at the 2012 MfA SD Summer Institute.  The innovative teaching approach, "Conversations with Euclid," was developed by UC San Diego professor and summer institute director Guershon Harel.  At the center of this approach is a dialogic "game" played between the students and the teacher.  According to Dr. Harel, the pedagogical goal of the "game" is to gradually necessitate the abstract nature of geometric objects and with it the notion of geometric proof.  The "game," if extended, can be thought of an allegory of the historical development of geometry from Euclid (323-283 BC) to Hilbert (1862-1943).  However, the stage of the "game" that is relevant to high school geometry is limited in scope, but it serves as a pedagogical tool and mathematical foundation for the entire Euclidean geometry.  For more on Dr. Harel's approach click here.


Olivier taught her fall semester geometry classes using Euclid material and then compared test scores with those from other geometry classes taught using current instructional methods.  The results showed Olivier's classes where "Conversations with Euclid" was used scored eight percent higher overall compared to the same score sets from other geometry classes and the Sweetwater Union High School District scores.  Click here for an overview of test results. 


One unusual outcome from "Conversations with Euclid" instruction was an innovative construction made by one of Olivier's students.  Professor Harel plans to name the construction after the student and include it in his continuing work on "Conversations with Euclid."


"These are the first data that show "Conversations with Euclid" can have an impact on student understanding and achievement," Olivier said.  "Although it was a lot of work at first, the increase in my student scores has inspired me.  I hope to be able to use this teaching method in future geometry classes."


2013 MfA SD Advisory Council click here.


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fall"Mathematics and the Universe" Fall Fundraiser

Late afternoon surfers and a picture perfect sunset served as backdrop for Math for America San Diego's  annual fundraising event, "Mathematics and the Universe" on Oct. 24, 2012.  Guests enjoyed wine and appetizers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography's Scripps Seaside Forum patio while mingling with Math for America San Diego fellows.


Professor Lawrence M. Krauss, Foundation Professor at the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Department at Arizona State University was the keynote speaker for the event.  The Mara W. Breech Foundation received the 2012 MfA SD Donor Appreciation Award.  UC Associate Professor Brian Keating served as the moderator for the event.

JB Ax Family Foundation
UC San Diego Associate Professor Brian Keating and Sarah Price-Keating
Many thanks to the James B. Ax Family Foundation for underwriting the event, CONNECT for sponsorship, and the 90 attendees who made the reception a success.  More than $45,000 was raised.  This year's MfA SD fundraiser is Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 at Scripps Seaside Forum.  Dr Glen Whitney, CEO of New York's new Museum of Math, is the featured speaker. 
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MfA SD Advisory Council member Barbara Bry and Neil Senturia, founders of  
Blackbird Ventures, at the "Mathematics and the Universe" reception.

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EarnsMathematics Summer Academy Earns an "A"

"This class was different because we were not taught how to do the problems, we just had to use knowledge and explain.  If I was given a word problem I am confident I can prove it correctly because of this class." - Chris, MSA Student 2012


"This was extremely different from all the other math classes I have ever been in.  Explaining things was never my forte and the class made me explain everything from why 100 divided by 2 was 50 to why a proportion was a proportion.  It was difficult and I now understand why it is important." - Reem, MSA Student 2012


Thirty Helix Charter High School freshmen and sophomores took part in a pilot program featuring a non-traditional way of learning mathematics.  MfA SD's Mathematics Summer Academy (MSA) was designed and taught by four Math for America San Diego Fellows at Helix Charter High School last June.  Students solved challenging word problems by working in groups and sharing their solutions.  Part summer school, part professional development, students attended the academy in the morning and MfA SD fellows debriefed in the afternoon to discuss the morning lessons and plan for the next day. The teaching team included Master Teaching Fellows Gregory Guayante and Cheryl Tyler and Fellows Jim Farrar and Yekaterina Milvidskaia.


More than 90 students signed up for the program, requiring a lottery drawing for the 30 spaces available in the class. 


"We were overwhelmed by the positive response to the Summer Academy program," said Barbara Edwards, MfA SD executive director.  "It was exciting to see so many students willing to take two weeks during their summer break to sharpen their math skills.  It was a successful venture made possible by a gift from the Edward G. Wong Family Foundation.  We are grateful for their support."


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