Institute projects target mathematics, science improvement

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From the Prichard Committee

Training from the Prichard Committee’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership (CIPL) has turned mechanical engineer Michael Ekbundit into a champion for real-world science in the Bullitt County school district.

Ekbundit had been an occasional guest speaker before going through the institute. This year, however, he is focusing his work and looking to see if his work with 4th-graders will translate into improved test scores.

He translates science concepts into real-world examples, like how basic science principles help explain how Blu-Ray players work, why cars skid to a stop, or how planes are able to fly. “I had two children stop me recently and say ‘You make science interesting and fun for us,’” said Ekbundit, a design engineer for General Electric, an employer that he said has been supportive of his effort to bring science to life in local schools.

While working at Mount Washington Elementary, where his oldest child is a student, Ekbundit said he also is recruiting other parents to help deliver the real-world lessons or look for ways that parents can help make learning come to life. He said the Commonwealth Institute helped turn his urge to volunteer into an experience that is having a wider impact.

In Northern Kentucky, Geri Preisser recently organized a Math Fair at Dixie Heights High School (Kenton County) after her time in the institute led to a focus on stagnant mathematics scores at the school. The fair was designed to show how mathematics is present in everyday life – an effort to help students build their knowledge of how mathematics concepts are applied.

“The kids went all out,” Preisser said.

CIPL support helped provide materials for participating students so that anyone could be involved. Thirty students participated in this year’s fair.

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