P. O. BOX 2120
December 20, 1996


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Math Connects: Satellite Algebra Techniques Course for Teachers

  The Department of Education through the Virginia Satellite
  Educational Network (VSEN) and in cooperation with Prince
  William County Schools and Virginia Tech will offer a
  graduate level mathematics course in the spring of 1997.
  Discussions are ongoing with Old Dominion University. A
  subsequent Superintendent's Memorandum will be issued when
  the Old Dominion course is confirmed. The course is designed
  for middle school and Algebra I teachers. 

  The course, Math Connects, will increase teachers'
  understanding of the structure of mathematics and the
  instructional use of technology, particularly in the
  Patterns, Functions, and Algebra strand of the Virginia
  Mathematics Standards of Learning. The course will be
  presented by a team of Virginia teachers. The  course  will
  be interactive and presented in a multi-media format that
  will give participants the opportunity to communicate with
  instructors and each other via telephone, fax, and the
  Internet. Lessons will address topics in number sense,
  probability and statistics, geometry and algebra, with
  emphasis placed on how knowledge of these topics will lead
  to increased understanding of and success in Algebra I.

  Teachers will be given opportunities to work with the
  National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
  Standards, as they relate to the Virginia Standards of
  Learning, and current literature in the field. Training will
  be provided in the use of graphing calculators and in the
  use of computers for instruction and research purposes.

  During the course, participants will use local and worldwide
  network communications systems to access and retrieve
  information. Teachers will also develop skills in networking
  with other teachers, thereby encouraging support groups to
  form across the state of Virginia. Follow-up ideas and
  opportunities for communication via the Internet will be
  essential components of the course.

  Three graduate credits in mathematics content will be
  offered from Virginia Tech to candidates that successfully
  complete the requirements of this course. The course will
  be broadcast via satellite on Tuesday afternoons from 3:30 -
  5:00 beginning January 21, 1997. Lessons will air on the
  Virginia Satellite Educational Network Satellite, Galaxy 6.
  Students may receive this course at schools equipped with
  satellite dishes.

  For information concerning broadcast and technical aspects
  of the course contact Greg Weisiger, VSEN Administrator at
  (804) 692-0335. For agency administration questions contact
  Dr. Patricia Wright, Mathematics Specialist at (804) 225-2894
  or Dr. Ida Hill, Division Chief for Technology at (804)

  Contact Dr. Gail Hunger-Bonham at (540) 231-8514 for
  registration information.