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 Berkeley Pledge Special:

Sharing His Love for Math

posted June 16, 1998

Tansel Pope loves math. It shows in the way he lights up when a student at El Cerrito High School gives him the correct answer to a particularly tough calculus problem. It shows when he excitedly describes how the school’s math department reorganized a couple of advanced mathematics classes to avoid overlapping curriculum. It shows when he reminds the students in his after-school study program about the upcoming AP calculus exam.

“He is so enthusiastic about math, it is catching,” says El Cerrito High School math teacher Jolanta Walukiewicz. “But for many of the students – especially the boys –Tansel himself is the gift. The students want to be just like him.”

Pope, the math coordinator for the Student Learning Center at Berkeley, runs the Professional Development Program (PDP) at El Cerrito High School – a collaborative project designed to develop a fully articulated mathematics program across the four elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools in the West Contra Costa County Unified School District.

Students get extra help as well. Pope and UC Berkeley undergraduates staff twice-weekly after-school workshops for students in AP calculus, algebra II/trigonometry, and math analysis.

“I love my job,” says Pope. “And with the end to affirmative action, this is where I need to be. We have to make sure that all kinds of kids get in the pipeline for college.”

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