The Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Math and Science Teaching Program (MAST) is reportedly helping improve the teaching and student achievement in math and science at Animo Leadership Charter High School in Venice.

The two-year program that began in January 2006 has been successful in its first year and has expanded to three other schools in the Los Angeles area, Animo Jefferson High School, Animo Jackie Robinson High School and St. Sebastian Catholic School, according to a spokesman for MAST.

The goal of the Math and Science Teaching Program is to improve student engagement and performance in math and science, thereby increasing student interest in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

To accomplish this, the program focuses on teacher training in academic content and research-based pedagogy to increase the retention of highly qualified math and science teachers.

LMU full-time faculty members teach training courses to high school teachers, and part-time faculty members provide one-on-one coaching.

Also, selected LMU undergraduates from the math department participate by tutoring high school students in calculus.

“MAST is making a difference in supporting both the students and teachers from under-resour-ced schools in low socio-economic areas in achieving in math and science,” said Kathy Clemmer, program director of MAST and a math education professor. “The teachers are receiving customized professional development and individualized support in designing, teaching, and assessing their math and science curriculum.”

Green Dot Public Charter Schools, a charter schools operator in Los Angeles and an advocate for education reform in the State of California, was impressed by the student impact of the Math and Science Teaching Program and negotiations are currently being finalized to fund the expansion of the program, according to the spokesman.

Plans include enrolling the remaining schools in the Green Dot organization and increasing the number of participating teachers from eight to 22.

The Stuart Foundation has provided a total of $300,000 to fund the program at Animo Leadership High School.

Clemmer is currently working on creating a collaborative team of math, science and education faculty to explore how the Math and Science Teaching Program can expand and support the Westchester Family of Schools Partnership, specifically at Westchester High School and Orville Wright Middle School.