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Tutor working with student in classroom.

Center for Research on STEM Teaching and Learning tutors provide support to students in Stillwater

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Media Contact: Kirsi McDowell | Senior Communications Specialist | 405-744-9347 |

Oklahoma State University’s Center for Research on STEM Teaching and Learning (CRSTL) has provided students at Stillwater Junior High and High School with tutoring support in mathematics literacy throughout the 2022-23 school year. 

Housed in the College of Education and Human Sciences’ School of Teaching, Learning and Educational Sciences, CRSTL provides area educators and administrators with research, resources, teacher professional development opportunities and in-person camps to promote student engagement.

Early in the school year, Stephanie Coca — Stillwater Public Schools’ district coordinator for multilingual learners and diversity, equity and inclusion — reached out to the college seeking math support for immigrating students entering the United States at different math grade levels than their same-aged peers in Stillwater. In particular, there were secondary students who had never studied math at all. 

After hearing about the needs of Stillwater Public Schools, CRSTL director Dr. Jennifer Cribbs connected with Coca and the search began to find tutors. Cribbs identified two OSU students – respectively studying biology and engineering – who had prior experience in supporting students with needs in math. They have regularly provided tutoring sessions to eighth through 12th grade students three to four times a week ever since.

Tutor working with studentThe OSU tutors began their work by assessing each student's math literacy level. Once they determined an appropriate starting point, they developed lesson plans geared toward each individual student. 

Having previously completed a work-study program at the Stillwater Middle School, chemical engineering student Gerald DeRogers Jr. had already gained interest in working in the classroom before he was approached by Dr. Cribbs with this opportunity. 

DeRogers now spends his afternoons working one-on-one with these junior high and high school students who have a limited background in mathematics. 

“I enjoy working with the students,” DeRogers said. “It’s inspiring to see the effort they put forth. The students are going above and beyond what’s required of them in the classroom to improve their math literacy.”

Each of the students are progressing steadily.

With continued tutoring, DeRogers is confident that the students can catch up to their respective grade levels, and hopes to be part of their academic success. 

Coca attests to the benefits of the partnership, sharing that the students are happy to work with the tutors and even ask for them when they are not at the schools. 

“The tutors are extremely positive and excited about teaching math," Coca said. "This is important for my students as they have not always had success in that area. We are so grateful to Dr. Cribbs and her student tutors for supporting our students.” 

“My hope is for our partnership to continue annually. Finding math support for my student population has always been a challenge because we are such a small group and we enroll in school at odd times of the year,” said Coca. 

The Center for Research on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Teaching and Learning facilitates and encourages collaborative, transformative research that promises extraordinary outcomes in STEM education at all levels (K-20). The center strives to be a hub for research on teaching and learning across the STEM disciplines by matching the needs of Oklahoma’s classrooms with the innovations of OSU’s premiere scientists and engineers. For more information about available services, visit the CRSTL website

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