CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is promoting a new phase in its focus on mathematics with the help of local media outlets.

On Friday, the WVDE hosted a Media Math Field Day in Charleston. Media representatives were invited to take part in the recently-launched Unite with Numeracy program. The effort expands on the math4life initiative that focuses on improving math proficiency for students in pre-K through grade 12.

Media members went through math-related hands-on activities in the West Virginia Board of Education Board Room with the WVDE mathematics team. Some activities were done individually while others required work in teams. They also discussed how anxiety and certain stereotypes could affect the mindset of a student in a math classroom.

Math Coordinator with the WVDOE Tim Flatley

Tim Flatley, a mathematics coordinator with the state Department of Education, said the goal is to eliminate the negative stereotypes that people and school students may have about math.

“We all must be committed to increasing student proficiency in mathematics,” said Flatley. “We would never accept a person giving up on literacy and not being able to read, and we should support math learning with the same vigor.”

The math4life work first began in 2018. It includes a comprehensive plan that helps support educators and students to better understand mathematics. Another part of the plan is to build a network of representatives from each county who support it’s rollout.

Flatley said they wanted the members of the media to retain information and go through the activities in a classroom environment in order to get feedback on the ideas for their Unite with Numeracy program. They could use their understanding as a way to improve teaching concepts and student learning.

“We explored mathematics in a different way, we thought about our experiences in a math classroom and we just really want to promote a message of being positive around mathematics,” Flatley said.

WVDE math coordinators have spent time traveling around the state to talk and connecting with county and regional teams on how to use more effective instructional practices in their classrooms.

“Just promoting how math is in the world around us is something that we can all do and all work on together,” said Flatley.

Flatley said the state’s math standards are currently under scheduled revision and will be released sometime this summer.