Math Teacher Encourages Students to Start College Early

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EDINBURG- A new study shows U.S. students are slowly improving in math and science, but they are still lagging internationally. GEAR UP is coming up with a plan to help students and teachers.

Herberto Garza is the head of the math department at Edinburg North High School. He’s not a typical math instructor. Thanks to GEAR UP, Garza was able to go back to school to earn his master’s degree in math.

“About six years ago we went through a GEAR UP program, and I got my master’s degree,” Garza said. I also have experience through STC. I'm an agent faculty member there. I have been working there for 12 years, so I have experience as far as the courses that are taught at the college level.”

Garza said once students pass their placement tests, they are able to obtain college hours while they’re in high school.

“We have students as early as 10th grade taking college courses, college algebra,” Garza said. They take pre-cal, and that's a very big advantage that they have. It saves parents a lot of money.”

Parents are able to save hundreds of dollars even before their children graduate from high school and move on to college.

“The courses that I teach, they get credit for college algebra and pre-calculus, which is a total of eight credit hours,” Garza said. “We have books available towards this, and they don't have to buy that book. The book itself costs about $180 dollars.”

Garza said he wants his students to know it’s never too late to start taking college courses.

“We finally finished,” Garza said. “I'm excited and I’m very proud that I did it. One thing that motivated me was that I wanted to be an example for my kids. Even though time had passed, I was able to get my master’s.”

You can catch GEAR UP segments on Thursdays on CHANNEL 5 NEWS at 5.