Math in the service of Schools

Engineering students aim to make math useful by developing an algorithm to improve the efficiency of bus routes for Boston Public Schools.  What can you do with math?

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CUNY alums among NYC Dept. of Education Big Apple Award winners

Congratulations to the 19 recipients of the fifth annual Big Apple Awards, announced in May 2017 by New York City Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña. These honorees represent New York City public school teachers, who as Mayor Bill de Blasio put it, “Go the extra mile to help their students, engage parents, and support their colleagues.” In order to receive the Big Apple Award, applicants were rigorously evaluated through community nominations, principal and colleague recommendations, personal essays, an interview, and classroom observation. During the next school year, these honorees will serve as Big Apple Fellows, meeting monthly with each other to strengthen their leadership skills and serving on the Chancellor’s Teacher Advisory Group.

CUNY is honored to have played a role in 13 of the recipients’ journeys towards becoming teachers. We would also like to recognize two of these CUNY graduates who are teaching math—Yocasty Diaz and Faye Michalakos! Ms. Diaz serves as a middle school math teacher at I.S. 219 New Venture School in the Bronx, describing her classroom as “a center of investigation, discovery, and risk-taking opportunities.” She attended both Hostos and City College.  Michalakos, a CSI alum, is a middle school math teacher in Brooklyn who uses real world examples and experiences for her students, helping them understand the “why” behind the subject. CUNY is proud of these individuals for being leaders in the classroom and for fostering a commitment to mathematics for students at an early age.

The Office of Academic Affairs features more news on the Big Apple Award Winners


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Faculty book

Congratulations to CUNY faculty from Hostos and Bronx Community College publishing their work on the interplay of teaching and researching math.  Learn more!

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CUNY Tutor Corps: Applications due April 16!

The CUNY Tutor Corps brings current CUNY students who are studying math, computer science, technology and education into NYC public middle and high schools to provide one-on-one and small group instruction and support classroom teachers.  Tutors are paid $15 per hour to spend approximately 12 hours per week in math and computer science classrooms.  Interested?  Roydon Kellman, a student at City College, talks to CUNYMath Blog about his Tutor Corps experience.

  • What attracted you to being a tutor with the CUNY Tutor Corps Program?

There are many reasons for which I wanted to join the CUNY Tutor Corps. One reason is that as a former student in a high school where the interest and emphasis on the STEM field was very low, the presence of a college STEM major would have offered a very new perspective. That person would have served as an excellent mentor from whom I would have learned a great deal. In addition, I enjoy teaching the subjects for which I have a passion. Also, since my first semester at City College, I had been actively trying to become a tutor in some form.

  • How does what you are learning in school transfer to tutoring? and How has what you learned by tutoring transferred to your schooling?

It actually works as one circle in my opinion. One day, I’ll be tutoring and the next day I’ll be the student learning. In class, because I also teach, I’m not only paying attention to what the professor is teaching but also how he/she is presenting the material and I evaluate them. If I see something that I can pattern, then when I’m tutoring the next day I’ll try to explain things to the students in the same manner. I think that tutoring makes me a lot more interested and have a lot more to say about pedagogy.

  • What are some of the challenges and rewards that you have found in your tutoring?

Challenge ~ It can be very difficult to motivate students to put in the effort and try to learn. What’s worse is that now students, even during the school day, are much more interested in their phones than on learning.         Reward ~ Even if it’s only for twelve hours a week, it’s a good feeling to know that I am actively contributing to a community bigger than myself, by passing on what I know and even just by being present in the classroom.

  • Has your opinion on math changed since you have entered the classroom?

It hasn’t changed. Math is still pretty cool. The only thing is that when it is being taught, we should take a more hands-on and physical approach. We can use algebra tiles and use more visuals rather than just write equations on the board.

  • Have the students you tutor influenced you? and if so how?

Yes, they have. Some students are genuinely struggling with math, despite their efforts, but as their tutor I believe and must tell them that if they put in the work, they will succeed. For them, algebra is one of their biggest obstacles. For me, whether it is academic or not, I decide to work through my challenges and face them head on instead of avoiding them. Otherwise, how would I be able to encourage the students if I don’t do the same?

  • How have you balanced school and tutoring?

While school is very demanding, my principle is that when I am tutoring I make sure that if a student needs any help, I’ll be focused on that student. Also, since I am in the school tutoring for the entire school day, my host teacher encourages me to have some downtime to study. Also, I feel that if students see my study habits, that can be encouraging to them. So, overall, I find that the two (school and tutoring) complement one another. Google Calendars is also very helpful and writing checklists help when things get a little crazy.

  • What is something unexpected you’ve gained from the Tutor Corps experience?

I wasn’t expecting to learn as much as I did during the training. However, I did. Previously, I’ve always maintained a very narrow view on our schools and education system, which was this idea that They’re all against us! But that’s because I had only been a student up until recently. Now, I have a much broader perspective and have much more respect for teachers and educators. Also, I’ve met a lot of bright and passionate people and these are connections that I would like to keep.

  • After being part of the Tutor Corps program would you consider a career in teaching?

Yes. I’ve found myself inquiring about NYC Men Teach program on my campus. But I am still on the fence about which level would I teach exactly. Most likely, because of my interests and field, it would be post-secondary education.

To learn more about CUNY Tutor Corps, visit and submit your Fall application  by April 16, 2017!

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#Math #Joke

Thanks to @centerofmath for some Friday fun!

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Apply Now! Cooperating Math Teacher at CSI

The College of Staten Island is seeking candidates for CUNY Start/Math Start Cooperating Math Teachers.  The CUNY Start/Math Start Cooperating Math Teacher position is a paid training opportunity to learn to use a successful, student-centered approach and curriculum with CUNY students who have significant remedial math needs. Training can take place at the College of Staten Island and/or a different CUNY Start campus.  Under the supervision of the Program Director, the Cooperating Math Teacher is responsible for learning/supporting the work of a Lead Math Teacher in implementing the CUNY Start/Math Start Mathematics curriculum.  Cooperating teachers will be scheduled to work some hours outside of student program hours. Successful Cooperating Math Teachers may be eligible to apply for future Core Math Teacher positions at the College of Staten Island or several CUNY campuses in the following semester.

Key duties include, but will not be limited to the following:

  • Study lesson plans thoroughly in advance of all classes;
  • Observe classes and assist the Lead Teacher in working with students;
  • Work under the guidance and leadership of the lead teacher;
  • Observe and assist in CUNY Start math classes at a second CUNY campus when needed;
  • Lead classroom activities of increasing length over the course of the training semester;
  • Tutor students outside of class time;
  • Attend and participate in regular professional development meetings;
  • Assist in student conferences, orientation, testing, and recruitment; and
  • Attend and participate in team meetings with advisors and teachers.

To apply

Submit all four of the items listed below for consideration:

  1. A current resume or curriculum vitae;
  2. A cover letter addressing how your experience and credentials fulfill the responsibilities and qualifications outlined;
  3. A self-prepared mathematics lesson plan that reveals some element of your teaching and learning values; and
  4. Indicate College of Staten Island as your first choice college.

All materials must be submitted through the CUNY Portal at:

For campus-specific questions

For questions about CUNY Start at the College of Staten Island, please contact Donna Grant, Director of CUNY Start, College of Staten Island, CUNY at




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Application Launched for the first year of the CUNY Tutor Corps

The CUNY Tutor Corps, which will bring undergraduate and graduate CUNY students into middle and high school classrooms as math and computer science tutors, just launched the application for its inaugural cohort.  Tutors will begin with a two-week intensive training program and then work in middle or high school classrooms for approximately 12 hours per week from January to June.  They will earn $15 per hour and have consistent, meaningful support from classroom teachers as well as CUNY faculty.

This is the pilot year for the Tutor Corps, which is made possible by a partnership between CUNY, the Office of the Mayor, New York City Department of Education and others.  The program is designed to provide individualized help for learners and support for classroom teachers trying to meet the challenge of the Algebra for All and Computer Science for All initiatives.

CUNY students who are interested in the Tutor Corps can apply todayThe priority deadline for the application is October 16th, and the final deadline is October 30th.  If you have any questions about the program, you can visit our website ( or email for clarification.

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Study considers effects of taking developmental math in college

Inside Higher Ed and the Washington Post are among the media taking note of a CUNY study published in the American Educational Research Association’s Evaluation and Policy Analysis journal this month.  Congrats to CUNYMath Blog author Mari Watanabe-Rose, one of the authors of the study.  Her team found that a student placed in remedial math has a better chance of succeeding in college by taking college-level statistical courses with additional support instead of developmental math.

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Celebrating the 2016 CUNY Math Challenge

On Friday, May 13, 2016, the Office of Academic Affairs hosted a reception celebrating math education at CUNY and honoring the student winners of the 2016 CUNY Math Challenge. The Math Challenge, now in its seventh year, engages hundreds of undergraduate students from CUNY’s campuses in competitive, increasingly rigorous rounds of math problem solving.

The reception was attended by faculty and administrators, as well as student winners of the Math Challenge and their family and friends. Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost Vita Rabinowitz welcomed the audience and noted the university’s rich history of excellence in mathematics. CUNY Math Challenge Committee Chair and Queens College Professor Ted Brown, who is also the executive director of CUNY Institute of Software Design and Development, presented certificates of achievement and cash prizes to this year’s 21 Math Challenges winners, who hail from ten different community and senior colleges. The Grand Prize winner was Zijie Liu, a junior at Baruch College. See the full list of winners and their bios.

The Math Reception highlighted just one of the many ways that CUNY’s students and faculty are engaging with mathematics. Learn more about these and other math initiatives at CUNY.

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Computer Science for Teachers!

I blogged in May about Mayor de Blasio’s Computer Science for All initiative, part of his Equity and Excellence agenda with the NYC Department of Education.

This summer the College of Staten Island is offering CSC 711: An Introduction to Computational Thinking, especially for teachers.  This fully online 3-credit graduate course starts on June 29.  Apply now, and spread the word if you know any math teachers who might be interested in this opportunity!

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