The Lake Charles American Press recently highlighted the hard work of Tricia Miller, a Eureka Math® professional development specialist and implementation leader, and other current and former educators in southwest Louisiana. The group volunteered throughout this school year to help children who experienced major disruptions to their education caused by two hurricanes, an ice storm, and a global pandemic.
The educators first stepped in to help when Hurricane Laura barreled through the region and shuttered schools at the very start of the school year in late August 2021. Miller and her neighbors worked with the Sulphur Christian Community Coalition to provide a space for children, most of whom were from families displaced by the storm, to receive free emergency schooling for Grades K–8. When schools eventually reopened, the volunteers continued to offer after-school tutoring at the newly created learning center, an effort that is still going strong.
“I’m now tutoring students in third, fourth, and fifth grades, and it’s a joy to help them get back on track. I’ve seen the most progress with one of my fifth graders. She’s a sweet, shy girl who tries hard but has previously struggled with conceptual understanding of key math topics. It’s been so rewarding to see her confidence grow and her smile emerge as she works on her math problems,” Miller wrote in her first-person account of the experience in the American Press, published on April 18, 2021. The article is unfortunately behind a paywall for subscribers, but we’re so proud of Tricia that we had to find a way to share the news.
The children use Eureka Math in their Calcasieu Parish schools, so we on the Great Minds® team were thrilled to be able to help by donating curriculum resources to support the learning center. We loved hearing about students having fun with the math manipulative kits we sent and were so glad the teachers found our teacher workbooks helpful. We were also especially glad Tricia could provide top-notch professional development to teacher volunteers.
Tricia noted that when the hurricanes and February ice storm damaged homes and roads and left people without power in her community, everyone pitched in to help their neighbors. “What we’re doing now is an extension of that effort—making sure the youngest and most vulnerable among us are getting the instruction and resources they need to thrive and succeed, overcoming the extraordinary challenges of this difficult year,” Miller wrote.
Chad brings more than 23 years of experience in communications to Great Minds. He has served in three state education agencies, which included time assisting New Mexico’s secretary of education with the adoption of new education reform initiatives; serving as the communications director at the Washington, D.C., Office of the State Superintendent of Education; and working as an assistant to the Florida Commissioner of Education. Chad also worked at the U.S. Department of Education from 2004 to 2009 and served as the deputy assistant secretary for media affairs and strategic communication during his final two years there. Chad is a native of Bloomington, Ill., and graduated from Florida State University.