P. O. BOX 2120
December 5, 1997


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

     Virginia Tech, in partnership with the Department of
  Education and Prince William County Public Schools, will offer
  a graduate-level mathematics course for middle and high school
  mathematics and Algebra I teachers in the spring of 1998. 

     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 via satellite. The format will be an
  interactive one giving 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. 

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

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

     The course will be broadcast in the spring of 1998 as a
  three-credit, graduate-level mathematics content course from
  Virginia Tech. The course will be broadcast through the
  Virginia Satellite Educational Network (VSEN) and can be
  accessed at schools with satellite dishes. Virginia Tech is
  offering this course at a reduced tuition of $414 per student.
  School divisions may use Eisenhower funds to pay tuition costs
  for teachers if such activities meet the needs listed in the
  divisions' three-year plan for professional development and
  are included in the description of an approved Eisenhower
  project. The course will be broadcast on Tuesday afternoons
  from 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. beginning January 20. 

     Contact Susan Vest at (540) 231-4669 for Virginia Tech
  registration information. For satellite transmission
  information and receive locations contact Greg Weisiger, VSEN
  Administrator, at (804) 692-0335. Content questions should be
  directed to Dr. Patricia Wright, Director of Secondary
  Instruction, at (804) 225-2894.