POWER Org Math’s – 8th annual What’s the Math in This? Expo for Youth is October 4


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Fifth grade is usually the time when students either develop an affinity for math related topics and careers or they start to do just enough to get by in school.

POWER addresses some of the root causes of this trend and help youth to make meaningful math connections through its What’s the Math in This? Expos. The 8th annual event will be hosted on Saturday, October 4, 2014 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club of Oakland and Macomb Counties – Royal Oak Unit, located at 1545  Lincoln Ave., Royal Oak, Michigan 48067.

STE”M” focused activity stations, demos, videos, and Math Game Shows will challenge southeast Michigan youth ages 8-13 to think critically and apply math in fun ways.  Professionals, high school and college students will provide on the spot mentoring and opportunities to explore a variety of careers and introduce higher level math course activities. Parent and guardian sessions include a panel of STEM experts, workshops, and an invitation to learn with their youth.

LaToniya A. Jones, a former math teacher, specialist, and school administrator founded POWER Org Math to provide high quality, math-focused learning experiences for youth and families in their nearby communities that provide both early exposure and skills development.

“Youth leave our Expos more confident and considering math clubs, competitions, and careers that require higher math skills. Parents and guardians witness a different way of learning and say they appreciate the resources to expand their way of thinking about math as well”, says Ms. Jones. “We are excited to partner with the Boys and Girls Club of Oakland and Macomb Counties for the second year to ensure that more of its members participate and non-members have a great place to continue developing their full potential”.

Registration opens September 6th on the website.  Tickets are only $15  for each participant.

Contact POWER Org Math today to learn more about sponsorships, volunteer opportunities (adults and youth in grades 9 or higher), and registration at info@powertheyouth.org or 313.415.8575.

About POWER Organization

POWER Org Math is an educational 501c3 organization whose mission is to embrace, engage, and empower at-risk youth ages 4-18 and families in metropolitan communities to increase their confidence, competence, and proficiency with math. It hosts conferences, math clubs, and family math affairs to help cultivate a more mathematically literate community. Customized programs for youth, parents and families through Title I funding, PTO/PTA, community outreach, and faith based groups are available.

Unhealthy Doses of Math Anxiety Needs Immediate Attitude Adjustments

The fear of math can be debilitating!

It doesn’t need to be. 

Courtesy of GraphicStoock
Courtesy of GraphicStoock

It’s our job to help remove unhealthy doses of math anxiety to break this cycle early in a child’s academic history. If we ignore it, the anxiety and avoidance of math continues well into adulthood.

After reading a study on “Math Anxiety in Elementary and Secondary (6th-12th grade) Students” published in the Journal of Educational Psychology in 1988, it’s obvious that there are two (2) main areas of anxiety that both educators and parents should pay attention to — even 24 years later:

Emotionality appears as nervousness, tense feelings, and physiological changes like sweating, stomach aches and more when taking a math test. Adults may experience similar experiences when they receive larger than normal heat bills that weren’t budgeted; learned about the busted pipe in the basement; or are pulled over by a police officer for any reason.

These feelings occur “in the moment” and relaxation techniques can be practiced to soothe the student.

Worry is evident in self-defeating talk about the “possibility” of performing poorly. As adults, we may have experienced this type of anxiety while awaiting notification about an employment decision or line of credit application.

These feelings happen long before the student gets to math class, starts a math assignment, or sits down to take a test. Students usually give up easily while completing tasks such as an assignment or test due to their “fear of failure”. They tend not to focus as much on the task at hand and instead over-think potential outcomes or solutions.

Worry has the biggest negative impact on math test performance. This can be changed with a simple attitude adjustment.

Attitude makes a world of difference.  Attitudes improve with positive self-esteem and preparation.

Create opportunities where children experience success and failure in small portions. Assign small tasks and observe how they respond.

Have a quick conversation about the lessons learned through failure and success.  Pay careful attention to responses and ask how they felt about the process and outcomes. Discuss lessons learned and how they may opposite outcomes in the future.

  • Speak positively about possibilities. Positive conversations can change moods and offer hope. Engage the child/youth in a chat about the pros and cons of their positive thoughts vs. negative thoughts. Remind them about dreaming big and the energy that positive thinking generates.
  • Encourage the child/youth to read the directions again, trace their steps for solving the problem, find the error, and correct the problem (if necessary). By tracing their steps (which will hopefully be listed in detail *smile*), they will be able adjust thoughts and actions; and determine if they were prepared enough (studied enough, had the right resources) to answer questions of this type.
  • Celebrate each success. Children/youth can easily detect sarcasm and too much empathy… so be genuine and specific.

What types of math anxiety have you or your child experienced? How did you deal with it? Did you share how you overcame the scenario with your child? 

REMEMBER: Sharing “good” and “not so good” math experiences with your child in a supportive way can help you pull down the mask on your past negative experiences in and permit you to move forward as well as help your child/student understand that the challenges they face in math is a part of life and can be overcome with a little preparation.

Join our I Love My Kids WITH Math Campaign for more conversations and tips with parents who are determined to help their kids succeed with math! Join the movement!

Feel free to contact POWER Org Math via email for personal assistance.

We would love to chat with you and offer a few additional suggestions.

LaToniya A. Jones, M.Ed. – POWER Org Math Founder, has more than 20 years in education, leadership, nonprofit and higher education teaching and administration.

POWER Org Math is an educational 501c3 nonprofit organization. We help youth and families have fun while elevating their math skills.

Join us as we embrace, engage, and empower youth and families.

PEMDAS, BEMDAS in Excel, Order Matters

Courtesy of GraphicStock
Courtesy of GraphicStock


Consider This!  

12 / 4 + 8-10*(11-6)




Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” is an acronym (aka. Mneumonic tool) that has been around for a very long time.

  • This acronym helps learners remember the Order of Operations needed to solve multi-step problems: Parentheses ( ), Exponents ^, Multiplication * , Division /, Addition +, and Subtraction – .
  • The “order of operations” is introduced as early as third grade and used consistently throughout a learners’ academic career to perform the four basic operations of adding (+), subtracting (-), multiplying (*), and dividing (/).

This process (algorithm) carries on to finding averages, absolute values, and multi-step equations. Performing one operation out of sequence may cause an incorrect response (in some cases).

  • These rules are often considered “tricky”.

Complimentary partners

The tricky parts of solving order of operation problems lead to the most common mistakes. Knowing what to do when you have a division before a multiplication operation or a subtraction before an addition operation can eliminate this common mistake.

  • Multiplication and division are partners. Addition and subtraction are complimentary partners. Order do not matter for these buddies.
  • Multiplication (*) and Division (/) have the same weight and must be solved in the order they appear first (left to right).
  • Addition (+) and Subtraction (-) have the same weight and will always be the very last operations to be addressed in the order they appear (left to right).

Can Excel help?

Technology keeps the attention of most learners and can be a powerful tool with reinforcing skills that learners often confuse.

The location of data in cells in Excel help to organize the information and thoughts of students in a similar way as games they play for pleasure do. Staying within boundaries or frames is a natural way of playing games and navigating the many mazes and options available.

Excel programs are a staple on most basic computer systems and can help increase the purposeful use of technology without the barriers of online access or fancy equipment. It’s a good place to start.


Brackets [ ], Exponents ^, Multiplication * , Division /, Addition +, and Subtraction -, relates to Order of Operations and the symbols used in Excel.

  • Excel formulas give a great introduction and a behind the scenes look at how our basic math formulas work, in an automated fashion.
  • Excel formula functions give users an opportunity to input the correct formula, randomize values that they would normally compute manually, and receive immediate feedback to validate their work.


The order of operations mneumonic tools like PEMDAS and BEMDAS can also assist with making predictions and using critical thinking skills when learners are not using an Excel spreadsheet.

Try this “Mathematical Operators in Formulas” tutorial.

The math concepts in this basic introduction looks very familiar and can have a transformational influence in the lives of its users.

Try it on paper, then in Excel and tell us how it worked for you.

How do you use Excel spreadsheets to make predictions, reinforce math skills, or to keep your business in order?

LaToniya A. Jones (Founder of POWER Org Math) is a seasoned educator with more than 20 years experience as a secondary math instructor and middle school principal, youth advocate, nonprofit leader, education consultant and college administrator. She enjoys helping families realize their earning and life potential by building solid academic careers via math. She is passionate about creating strong learning communities at home and school. 

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8 Tips to Cultivate Student Accountability and College Success

Courtesy of GraphicStock
Courtesy of GraphicStock

NOTE: Originally shared on College Prep.

College and the freedom associated with it can be overwhelming for both students and families.

Time management, increased academic rigor, and the absence of a safety net can be shocking.

We can prepare them for independence as early as 8th grade.

Consider these 8 Tips to

Cultivate Student Accountability and College Success

  1. Help students match their affinities (special interests) to future career options both formally and informally long before entering college.
  1. Maintain an open door to help students practice honesty and openness about their progress and seeking assistance early to help them remove the barriers of pride or embarrassment standing in the way of their success.
  1. Provide opportunities for students to develop strong problem-solving skills and study habits so that they are equipped to tap into their tool kit and feel prepared to meet most challenges they will face.

College and high school are not the same. The increased academic rigor will require them to think and process differently. If students spend 3 hours/week in class, they should plan to study 5+ hours/week out of class.

Course loads in should be lighter for entering freshmen to allow them to adjust to new surrounding, become familiar with resources, and become involved in activities and work their maximum of 20 hours/week (if needed).

  1. Encourage students to visualize (keep their eyes on the prize) for each class and academic year. Remind them that college is a valuable investment and will take time and a lot of energy to realize their dreams. Ask why they feel it’s important to attend college and what success may look and feel like after college. Realistic expectations are important. Being top of the class feels good, but a “B” grade may be acceptable. Tell them they can do it and to learn from past experiences.
  1. Listen attentively. Respond with a question (not a solution) when students have a challenge and need guidance with solving a problem.
  • Have you spoken with your instructor (in person or via email)?
  • Do you study with anyone?
  • Is there an online interactive textbook, video tutor, or student who has already had this course may help with understanding the information better?
  • Have you asked your counselor about a Plan B (when the program of study isn’t what the student thought it would be)?
  • What is the time permitted?
  • Is this a want, requirement, or need?
  • What do you feel is the best way to proceed?
  1. Too much stress is unhealthy. Model ways to handle stress and help your student maintain a balanced lifestyle in the midst of the change of environment.
  1. Guide students to their student handbook with relevant questions about what the policy states. This allows them to remain “in control” of their learning and life. When they know better, they can do better. Policies at home, school and in the workplace matter.
  • Pressure will build, but we must reinforce the importance of integrity at all times. Plagarism, cheating, and saying “I didn’t know” will not cut it.
  • Regular class attendance helps to maximize opportunities. Attendance helps to provide clarity of information and shows the instructor that education/that course matters. The instructor may be more willing to listen and offer “more” than what’s required.
  • Withdrawing or dropping a class seems like the easiest option when a student is frustrated, but it may cause a long-term negative impact. Remind them that we don’t quit our jobs/career work when we don’t understand something or fall behind. They should visit the instructor and academic advisor before making a final decision.
  • Open a bank account with your student and actively use budgets in your daily lives so that they can manage their allotted resources efficiently and effectively today and in the future. The loan repayment period becomes active 6 months after a student stops college or graduates. This reality check may serve as a key factor in helping them stay the course academically as well. More on students prepping for college.

LaToniya A. Jones, M.Ed. is a mom of 3 sons (2 adults and 1 teen), the Founder/Executive Director of the educational nonprofit – Presenting Opportunities, Winning Effectual Results (P.O.W.E.R.) Organization – POWER Org Math. LaToniya is a seasoned educator with more than 20 years experience as a secondary math instructor and middle school principal, youth advocate, nonprofit leader, education consultant and college administrator. She enjoys helping families realize their earning and life potential by building solid academic careers via math. She is passionate about creating strong learning communities at home and school.

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STEM Pro Highlight: Jeremy L. Harrison – Software Engineer (part 2)

More with STEM Pro Jeremy L. Harrison (Software Engineer)  Lockheed Martin

Note:  Originally posted September 2011 – Part 2 (Part 1)

Courtesy of Jeremy L. Harrison
Courtesy of Jeremy L. Harrison

This highlight features Jeremy L. Harrison’s background that inspired his love for and support of STEM both in the workplace as well as during after school/out-of-school K12 opportunities. He also shares tips for parents and guardians to encourage and explore STEM with their children.

Jeremy’s STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) Experiences

  • Encouraged to discover STEM careers and pursue his “personal affinities” by his middle school science educator mom and chemist dad during his education in the tri-county area of Tennessee.
  • Cheered on to explore his curiosity through taking apart and putting together toys and other items.
  • Participated in a memorable extra curricular program – SECME (South East Consortium for Minority Engineers) that promoted STEM in underrepresented communities.
  • Valued hands-on learning in afterschool programs that introduced the concepts of physics via egg drop and mouse trap type competitions, water propelled rocket building, and poster/essay writing tenets.
  • Interest peeked by involvement in “fun”, out of class, away from the textbook type learning opportunities.

As a visual learner, he “liked physics because it was fun even though I didn’t really understand it at the time”.

Jeremy believed that “math was straight forward and had no tricks or secrets”.

English and history seemed too random to him and involved a lot of memorization about what had already happened in history rather than help learners understand the tools needed to unravel puzzles in life, which he preferred.

Engineering Success

As an aspiring mechanical design engineer, Jeremy had always dreamed of designing for and working with the Big 3 automakers in Michigan. Jeremy decided to take on a competitive research fellowship with the U.S. Army/Department of Defense while studying at North Carolina A & T instead. This opportunity positioned him for an internship with a Lockheed subsidiary, and later full-time roles that evolved during his 10-year tenure with Lockheed Martin.

Why Lockheed?

Jeremy chose Lockheed because it is a large corporation with several opportunities to move around and it envisions and create possibilities beyond its immediate walls for employees. I believe Lockheed was smart in choosing Jeremy L. Harrison for all of the reasons noted above. Wouldn’t you want him on your team?

Mentoring focus

Mentoring US First Robotics teams in inner-city Philadelphia, supporting summer college interns and IT apprentices that help high school students earn skills trade through Lockheed allows Jeremy to invest in future engineering success.

Jeremy’s suggestions for helping children develop personal affinities

  1. In-School Support = More outlets and activities
  • Help youth discover “who” they are and “what” they want to do by exposure to regular people like them.
  • Seek opportunities to talk to people like them in various careers.
  1. Out of School = Involve youth in fun programs
  • Lego type products and First Robotics teams
  • Build math and science skills in ways they don’t feel is learning (family games, museum visits, kits, etc.)

Jeremy L. Harrison and I were both honored at one of the luncheons while in Orlando in 2011. His comment “organizations like P.O.W.E.R. Organization influenced and helped to form who I am today” was a bonus that warmed our hearts and motivated us to move forward with our mission of “Helping Youth See, Say, and Do Math”… in as many, varied ways as possible!


Ms. Toni (LaToniya A. Jones), Founder/Executive Director

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STEM Pro Highlight: Jeremy L. Harrison – Software Architect


Courtesy of Jeremy L. Harrison
Courtesy of Jeremy L. Harrison

Jeremy L. Harrison: Software Architect, Mechanical Engineer, Technical + Systems Integration Engineer, Mentor – Lockheed Martin

Originally posted Sept 2011.

Part 1. (Part 2)




A brief conversation with Jeremy L. Harrison at the CCG Alumni Reunion and Planning Retreat in Orlando, FL hosted by the Career Communications Group during the summer of 2011 led to a glimpse of his work and his world.  

Who is he really?

Jeremy is humble, succinct, and believes in the power of individuals and teams. Mentorship from the cradle to career pathway is a norm in Jeremy’s life.

What’s that like?

Imagine a group of adult “Spy Kids”, cryptology, intelligence community communications, and surveillance techniques and you have my summary of Jeremy and the awesome private and public sector challenges (play + passion) that he and his colleagues take on daily. They watch the habits and trends of potential invaders (spies) and activate preventive measures to keep them from “taking what does not belong to them”.

Typical Projects

His new security technology designs improve inefficient systems and permit quick responses to potentially bad emergencies that may occur in governmental agencies called “advanced persistence threats” (APTs).

APTs are well-organized, high-level security threats with the goal of preying on and stealing sensitive information from military technology entities, political election details, as well as electrical, gas, and oil secrets.

The designs keep resources safe all while these systems provide information about what happened, when, and why to exploit new threats.

He creates platforms of multi-level codes that are like invisible, virtual gates, or matrices that ease the customers’ experience and help the company’s infrastructure remain secure.

He’s also using his engineering and testing genius to influence the upcoming debut of one of the new “Smart Meters” projects via the United States Department of Energy. Jeremy helps to coordinate security measures to use these mini-computers to protect the utility company against consumer fraud and theft from its foreign competitors.

The meters also collect user habits and usage that lead to more efficiency. If Software Engineer (Architect) is a career that someone you know is interested in, start early be understanding how talent is supported and recruited in leading corporations at Black Engineer.

Jeremy L. Harrison and I were both honored at one of the luncheons while in Orlando in 2011.

His comment “organizations like P.O.W.E.R. Organization influenced and helped to form who I am today” was a bonus that warmed our hearts and motivated us to move forward with our mission of “Helping Youth See, Say, and Do Math”… in as many, varied ways as possible!


Ms. Toni (LaToniya A. Jones), Founder/Executive Director

Blog     Site

We are Seeing Saying and Doing Math

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POWER Org Math is an educational nonprofit based in Detroit–but serving beyond Michigan.

POWER Org Math was founded by a former math teacher (middle and high school) and principal, LaToniya A. Jones, who decided that Family Math Nights should be experienced by more than just those she serve in school buildings.

The See, Say, Do Math with POWER Org Math blog is way of sharing our passionate work with families in schools, neighborhoods, and faith based communities with the world.

Hey, we are new to Word Press!  You will see several posts from our previous host over the next week—that chronicles our journey…as well as current updates. Join the conversation.

Share our site! We invite you to volunteer (in-person or virtually)—and definitely make a donation in any manner you deem appropriate or complimentary to your goals in order to help us fulfill the POWER Org Math mission.

A few ways you can get involved immediately:

  • Volunteering with your corporate group
  • Hosting a tour for youth to explore math in your career
  • Sharing your professional journey and how it includes math
  • Sponsoring an event or program
  • Receiving a professional review of your math or education related product/service
  • Inviting our youth/families for a focus group of your products

Our children deserve an opportunity to continue learning math in meaningful ways during non-school hours, at convenient times and in high interest venues.

Learn more at www.powertheyouth.org or

phone us today at 313.415.8575.

Meaningful Minds On, Hands On Math