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A smart investment

By Dan Miles
Dec. 19, 2014

Molly Sherman| OSU M.S. Mathematics Education Program

Molly Sherman, a teacher in Crescent City, California is  earning her Master of Science in Mathematics Education through Oregon State.

Molly Sherman has education in her blood.

She is a fourth generation teacher in Crescent City, California, and she is passionate about connecting with at-risk learners in her middle school and exciting them about mathematics.

“I like being able to make an impact on students’ lives, mentor them and build genuine relationships,” she said.

Molly loves math and she’s really good at it, especially when it comes to measuring return on investment. So she took a hard look at the numbers when it came to evaluating options for a master’s degree. She chose to earn a Master of Science (M.S.) in Mathematics Education online through Oregon State University Ecampus because she knew the investment would pay off.

While California teachers are not required to hold a master’s degree, there is an income incentive that makes it worthwhile. In addition to a salary increase, having an advanced degree opens up opportunities for Molly to teach in different capacities and in other educational settings.

But the decision to enroll online with Oregon State wasn’t purely financial. Molly – despite some initial reservations about online learning – found tremendous value in the educational experience at such a highly respected university. “At first I was afraid that a graduate program online would be too disconnected from the learning community,” she said. “I was used to one-on-one time with professors, as well as numerous study groups. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the online community at OSU is every bit as vibrant as I experienced on a campus.”

Having a degree from Oregon State was important to her. She knew her OSU education would give her the credibility to be a leader in her district. And she’s already providing guidance to her school in making curriculum changes to meet new Common Core standards.

She appreciates the value of the “theory to practice” approach where she applies her knowledge directly into the classroom. One newly acquired strategy involves having her students demonstrate the concepts they have learned with authentic products.

For one project, she set up a website where students gathered and compared weather data over time. Through self-directed learning, they made their own conclusions. They presented their findings to the class and supported their claims with data-based evidence.

“Kids who normally would not do homework got really excited about this project” she said. “Through this advanced program, I feel very prepared to meet the needs of my students.”

That’s where Molly’s investment is truly paying off.

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