Summer Math Scholars Program at Chief Sealth High School

Chief Sealth Students Experience a Summer Full of Math Riddles

By Nancy Soto


It’s still summer, but that doesn’t stop students from developing their algebra skills!

So you may ask, ‘Why algebra?’

Algebra is the first step for high school students to be able to succeed in college. It establishes a foundation of math skills and it leads to the understanding of other STEM subjects. For its 14th year, Seattle MESA is providing the Summer Math Scholars Program, a three-week summer program that equips students with the tools and resources to be able to succeed in their high school math classes, while helping them transition from middle school to high school.

The program is helping 20 incoming 9th graders from Chief Sealth to gain the skills necessary to succeed in algebra, increase solidarity among peers, and explore careers. Throughout the summer, the program provides students with a variety of hands-on activities that touch upon key concepts in algebra and offers one-on-one tutoring by students from the University of Washington that are pursuing a degree in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).  Students especially like that they get an opportunity to make new friends and work in a high school level math class, which inevitably gives them a head start into high school.  Not only are the students actively learning but they are also building a positive community and a connection with their future high school teacher, Ms. Katie Batts.  Ms. Batts has done a great job at leading the through the intricacies of algebra while providing guidance in developing their problem solving skills. This gives the students an advancement because they will have the motivation to keep learning and confidence in continuing to ask for help throughout the school year.

Aside from the classroom, students also have the opportunity to attend field trips that showcase careers and college readiness such as the Woodland Park Zoo and The Museum of Flight. Throughout the field trips, the main question is: How do these professionals use math to do their daily jobs? This has given the students a head-start in planning for college and thinking deeply about the various careers that interests them.

It is through mentorship, hands-on activities, and real world examples that the program intends to increase the number of African-American, Native American, Latino/a, and Pacific Islander students who enroll and excel in college-prep and honors math courses. The program is part of Seattle MESA’s larger goal of ensuring the pipeline of successful students through high school and onto college.

When these students successfully complete the summer program, we will have a celebration to honor their hard work.  We are looking forward to seeing these students improve their math skills and continue to be engaged in their math courses in their first year of high school and the rest of their high school career.