What is MELT
The Mathematics Education Leadership Training (MELT) Program was established in 1998 through a grant from the Cain Foundation to provide support and professional development for high school mathematics teachers throughout North Carolina and the greater Appalachian region of the United States.
Over the years, support for the MELT Program has come from multiple sources:
- Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation
- The ASU Mathematics and Science Education Center
- The ASU Mathematical Sciences Department
- The ASU Hubbard Center for Faculty and Staff Support
- Teachers Teaching with Technology (T³)
- Texas Instruments, Inc.
- The University of North Carolina Mathematics and Science Education Network
- The Shodor Education Foundation
- The National Science Foundation
- The Mathematical Association of America
- Individual Philanthropic Donors
The initial endowment from the Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation is financially sound and continues to be almost entirely directed to the support of the Distinguished Professor of Mathematics Education, who serves as the director of the MELT Program. Over the years, other sources of funding have served to temporarily support the operating expenses of the program and reduce or completely cover program participant tuition costs. At this time, these funds have expired and necessary program tuition costs exceed the funds available to most teachers, schools, and districts.
Since MELT's inception, nearly 1,000 teachers and mathematics educators (from North Carolina and approximately 25 other states) have attended summer workshops and earned either continuing education units or graduate credits, and more than 60 teachers have received funding to assist them in obtaining their Master's Degree in Secondary Mathematics Education. Other benefits to participants and their students have been found to be invaluable. Since 1998, MELT participants have reported the positive impact that involvement in MELT has had on them as professionals and on their students; among others, these include:
- gaining an understanding of how to purposefully and appropriately use technology to help students learn mathematics more meaningfully;
- becoming more excited and energized about teaching, in some cases providing the support necessary to remain in a teaching career;
- students' improved test scores, including North Carolina End Of Course (EOC) exams (prior to the implementation of the CCSSM);
- being provided financial support to complete a Master's Degree;
- developing a network of professional colleagues;
- and extending their reach as mathematics education professionals beyond their classroom, with MELT participants making presentations in their districts, in the region, at state conferences, and, in some cases to include presentations at national and international conferences.
The MELT Program has shown itself to have a very notable positive effect on the teaching and learning of mathematics in North Carolina. When teachers are better prepared and able to teach for the future, they are more excited and motivating to their students. When students find mathematics to be connected and meaningful, they are compelled to a richer study of mathematics in high school and beyond, even to the point of committing to become mathematics teachers. Altogether, the MELT Program must, minimally, continue in its current form while simultaneously enhancing such by investigating avenues through which to reach out and provide its successful results to an even larger audience.