Monday, 23 October 2017 11:47

RCC and Richmond County Schools Participate in "Saturday School"

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Janet Sims, an RCC nursing instructor, speaks to a group of RCS teachers during Saturday's event. Janet Sims, an RCC nursing instructor, speaks to a group of RCS teachers during Saturday's event. Photo courtesy of Richmond Community College.

HAMLET – Who goes to school on a Saturday? Richmond County Schools’ STEAM teachers, that’s who.

On Saturday, October 21, RCS math teachers were invited to Richmond Community College to participate in a Saturday Teachers Academy to learn about programs at the RCC, and how the college uses the math taught in middle and high school to open up job opportunities for students in the school system.

“Today was all about exposure,” RCS’ curriculum director of math, science, and physical education Kelly Delong said. “The programs at RCC offer a link to bigger opportunity which starts with the math teachers in the public school system.”

The academy started at 8 a.m. with a tour of the Forte Building and discussion of RCC’s engineering technologies programs led by Brian Terry, program coordinator for the electric utility and substation Relay Technology program. Teachers were shown the labs and classrooms where students start to prepare for their career.

Teachers were then taken to the Grimsley Building where Janet Sims, nursing department chair, talked of the necessity for math in the ever-growing nursing program. Sims demonstrated, along with RCC math instructor Leslie Smith and Ninth Grade Academy Math I teacher Katherine Campbell, all the math students have to understand in order to be in the nursing program.

Students have to know conversions and angles in order to keep their patients alive and well. Conversions begin being taught in elementary school, continue to be taught in sixth grade through ratios and proportions, and go on into high school math where students learn how to solve for rate of change. All of these things are necessary to get medications and dosage right, which is why nursing students must receive a 100 percent on their math test in order to place in the program.

The nursing program accepted a freshman class of 90 students this year, and have 119 students currently enrolled. They are being observed in the spring, and RCC hopes to build a simulation hospital so that students have more opportunities to work with sim patients before branching out into hospitals. This will also allow the program to receive national accreditation.

The teachers then moved back into the Forte Building to learn about the mechanical engineering program and the math involved. Annie Harden, mechanical engineering technology lead instructor at RCC, talked of the 28 students currently enrolled in the program and the math behind CAD machines. Without the math skills taught within RCS, and at RCC, students will not have the skills needed to create correct measurements or an understanding of how to build machines that operate correctly.

Holli Brown, a math instructor at RCC, showed how the trigonometry she teaches directly correlates to the mechanical engineering technology program and went on to discuss how it all begins in the high school classes that involve algebra, pre-calculus, and trigonometry.

Seventh grade math teachers Roxi Anderson (Ellerbe) and Randy Guerry, (Rockingham) broke down a mechanical engineering problem for all in attendance and showed how students will have to rely on seventh grade geometry and number systems standards dealing with integers and circumference to understand the stress placed on rods within machines they would handle within their programs and careers.

Roxi Anderson (left) and Randy Guerry (right) discuss with RCC nursing instructor Janet Sims.

Next, teachers went to the electrical engineering lab to learn about the math that goes into Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Mechatronic Engineering. Billy Adeimy, electronic engineering lead instructor at RCC, explained how all of these programs are direct career paths for students after two years, but could also lead students to four year universities such as the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and North Carolina A&T. The programs overlap with each other, and coupled with the electrical utility substation program, many students leave with double majors.

Ian Allred, another math instructor at RCC, demonstrated much of the math that he teaches in his Math 171 course, which leads to programs Adeimy spoke of. Felix Nagy-Lup, an NGA math teacher, expounded upon that by demonstrating a lesson on equations he would give his own students which relates to high school math, to the math being completed by RCC students in the engineering programs using Ohms Law. Teachers participated in this lesson and were able to connect the math they teach in their own classrooms to the math being done within the programs.

Overall, the goal was to expose RCS teachers to the opportunities at RCC for the students. Teachers came to the consensus that it was time to “change the mindset” behind community college and STEAM courses for RCS students.

The instructors at the community college opened themselves up to the teachers as resources, and with connections that were built during the academy, it seems these resources will be used in classroom instruction this year.

The RCS teachers left with lessons they can use in their own classrooms to help their students answer the question many math students love to ask: “Why do I need this?”

RCC has, and continues to, create wonderful opportunities for the students in RCS’ public schools. RCC has decided that free tuition and fees to the community college for two years will be given to all Richmond and Scotland County residents who graduate from high school with two or more dual enrollment courses with a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher and complete financial aid applications. The programs available to the students will prepare them for careers in many fields.

The community college is offering a STEAM camp to RCS, Scotland County Schools, and Marlboro Academy students on Saturdays, as well. While the teacher academy was occurring, many students were in adjacent rooms learning how to make robots, create 3D objects, and more. This program is growing fast and open to the students in our community.

RCC is encouraging to help change the mindset.

To contact Richmond Community College for more information on admissions and programs go to their website http://richmondcc.edu/, call 910-410-1700, or visit the campus at 1042 W. Hamlet Ave, Hamlet, N.C., 28345.