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  • Author:
    Robert Bao
  • Published:
    Spring 2014
As a first year teacher in 1984, I planned and implemented the Middle Grades Mathematics Project with my seventh grade students in Traverse City.  My colleagues were overwhelmed by my students’ success and we eventually became a pilot school for the Connected Mathematics Project (CMP) in 1993.  We are proud implementers of CMP3 today.
The cover story of the Winter 2014 issue of the MSU Alumni Magazine captures the essence of CMP.  I have never met a more dignified, genuine educator with more passion and gracious expertise than co-founder Glenda Lappan.  Betty’s (Phillips) enthusiasm and dedication to the craft of teaching and learning mathematics is unparalleled.  She devotes endless hours to collaborating with all stakeholders.  (The late) Bill (Fitzgerald) will be remembered for generations for his “Variable-Tension-Proportional-Divider” (more commonly known as a rubber-band stretcher), as well as The Mouse and Elephant unit that made 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional geometry come alive for middle school students.  His laughter still echoes in the halls.  Their collaborative efforts with classroom teachers and our students are unheard of in the business of textbook publishing.  Their tireless dedication to creating the best possible materials for use by middle school teachers and their students is simply amazing.    
Thank you so very much for recognizing their contributions to the global mathematics community and future generations 
of students.
Mary Beth Schmitt, ’84 
Traverse City
Callie Heck, who was mentioned in your cover story, was our daughter’s math teacher at Holt Junior High last year.  It must be challenging to instill confidence and excitement for math among seventh graders, but she made it look effortless.  I didn’t know about her MSU training nor that the curriculum she used was thanks to the expertise of the professors in MSU’s College of Education.  I just knew Mrs. Heck was our daughter’s favorite teacher and the one who made her think she could not only handle math, but also enjoy it!  I was glad to learn this excellent program has spread across the country.  What a wonderful contribution to a critical need.
Lois Furry, MA ’89
Because Connected Math has been in use for about 20 years, I had wished that your article would have cited studies that compared “traditional” math vs. Connected Math to support the assertion that Connected Math has improved student math performance.  In the absence of such a study, I cite the paragraph in the second column of your article 
that states that “only 7 percent of U. S. students reached the advanced level in eighth-grade math . . .  I find it hard to believe that prior to Connected Math, we were below 7 percent!
Before we expend funds on 3rd generation Connected Math, why don’t we research math education in Singapore, Taiwan and/or South Korea; because 45+ percent of their students reached the advanced level in the eighth grade?
Allan Whittemore
Farmington Hills
? Visit for an array of research studies about Connected Math.  There are many studies involving CMP1 and CMP2, with those on CMP3 forthcoming.  To sum up, it seems that researchers have found that CMP students, compared to non-CMP students, generally do as well on basic skills but better on problem solving and understanding.  –Editor.
Your Winter 2014 has many interesting features.  I was particularly interested in Professor David Bailey’s article on John Hannah and Civil Rights.  Some of the events were active when I was a student, such as the problem Professor Dickson had finding suitable housing and the university’s intervention and the prejudice in the barber shop at the MSU Union.  Well done.
Burton Gerber, ’55
Washington, DC
The cover of the winter issue of the MSU Alumni Magazine is a real “grabber.”  I placed it on our coffee table promising myself to read it the next day and before I got back to it, Joan had read it.  It is truly very well-done! 
Joan lived in Mason and I lived in Bailey so naturally we were delighted to see all that’s occurring with the neighborhood engagement centers.  MSU students are very fortunate.  We also enjoyed the civil rights piece as we met John Hannah on a couple of occasions while we were at State.
I know it takes a real leader and an excellent team to accomplish what you do consistently so please accept our sincere congratulations and extend our very best wishes to your team as well for excellent writing, editing, design and so much more.
Ritch, ’68 and Joan 
(Cummings ’69) Eich
Thousand Oaks, CA
Thought your readers might like to know that last June 16-24, the MSU Alumni Tour Band enjoyed a concert trip through Scotland.  Conducted by Professor Emeritus Kenneth Bloomquist, the tour band completed the eighth such trip since 1985.  The attached photo shows our band of 49 musicians plus spouses and friends on a staircase at the Braid Hills Hotel in Glasgow.  
Dale Bartlett, ’55, 
Professor Emeritus of Music
East Lansing