Operation Classroom Mathematics Workshop 2007
Dedicated To The Future of Sierra Leone: The Children

The Mathematics Workshop took place from July 9-July 13. Thirty-three teachers including 16 participants who attended the 2005 workshop and 2006 workshop participated. Hope Law and Dave Figi, both retired mathematics teachers with over thirty-six years of experience each led the workshop. Also Carol Owen introduced computer use to the participants and led two hour sessions at night at the Fatima College computer lab in which workshop teachers worked with Microsoft Word and Excel. Matthew Stolte also helped with the workshop and led a class activity dealing with Derangement theory. As in previous years the curriculum stressed practical activites in trigonometry, geometry, algebra and statistics. Since supplies were not shipped soon enough from the United States teachers did not receive mathematics materials as they had in the two previous workshops. It is hoped that the materials will be distributed to teachers and schools when they finally arrive by container ship. Each teacher received a certificate to recognize their dedication to improving mathematics education in Sierra Leone.

A new activity this year was that teachers divided into groups and planned workshops in which they would be the presenters. The workshops would be presented to primary teachers from schools that fed their secondary school with students. In preparation for this strategy three groups of secondary teachers from Makeni presented mathematics curriculum to the primary workshop which was held at the Makeni UMC Primary School during the week of July 16 - July 30. Eight other groups of teachers then wrote proposals and curriculum for workshops that they would present in their schools and towns during the 2007-2008 school year. Operation Classroom will provide funds in order to underwrite the cost of the eight workshops.







Upper left: Row 1 [L-R] Emmanuel Tucker, Patrick Bindi, Row 2 [L-R] Stephen Kpakar and Robert Turay work on games that would improve addition skills at the primary level.


Upper right: Rosetta Nancy Kargbo registers for day 1 of the workshop. Kira Gruzinski assisted in registering the teachers.


Left: Hope Law oversees an activity in which participants gathered statistical data in order to make comparisons. The comparisons were used to produce graphs using MS Excel. Practical activities that involved student participation were stressed in the workshop.


Upper left: Carol Owens uses her laptop computer to outline activites that workshop partitipants would perform during the two hour night lab session at Fatima College in Makeni. Upper right: Hope Law confers with Yusif A. Sesay about planning for a workshop that the teachers would conduct. Left: Matt Stolte discussing his topic on derangements. Right: Teachers working on one of the oputside activities. "What materials do we have that we can use to make mathematics exciting for our students" was a question addressed at the workshop.
Carol initiated lessons in computer literacy and the use of MS Word and Excel. The Excel assignment used data collected during the day when the workshop met from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. Then the teachers met at the Fatima College computer lab for their work with Word and Excel assignments. The night sessions at Fatima lasted from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Father Victor Mosele, a Xaverian missionary, was responsible for organizing the shipment of computers to the Fatima College facility in Makeni. Father Moselle is now stationed at St. Pauls University Catholic Center on the campus of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. During the war in Sierra Leone Father Mosele was captured by the rebels. He later wrote a book Running For My Life about his experiences.

Left: Dave works with workshop teachers on an assignment involving frequency analysis of messages.


Right: Workshop teacher Stephen Kpakar receives his certificate from Hope and Dave on Friday, July 13, the last day of the workshop.





During the summer of 2004 when Operation Classroom members were painting the five room UMC Secondary School in Makeni a Makeni teacher approached Hope and Les Law and said that he and his fellow teachers needed someone to conduct a workshop for mathematics teachers in Makeni. The 10 year war in Sierra Leone had caused almost total disruption of normal life. Education was a huge casualty of the war. The Makeni UMC Secondary School mathematics teacher who made the request was Abu Manasaray [pictured above left presenting a sample lesson].

Abu's idea and vision helped launch the three year workshop project in 2005. The third year saw the workshops turned over to the teachers who attended. Those teachers will now be the nucleus of the movement to revitalize mathematics education in the Makeni area and throughout Sierra Leone. Abu is pictured practicing for his presentation to the primary teachers.

Above middle: Alfred Bangura presenting his topic in a practice session in front of the other secondary teachers.

Above right: Pino Kamara presents his topic as part of the planning and practice needed to present workshops during the 2007-2008 school year..

Below left: Alfred Bangura is pictured in front of the primary teachers workshop as he presents a sample lesson aimed at the primary level.

Below right: Rev. Sumaila Sesay [at the board] uses primary teachers to demonstrate how they can engage students in their mathematics lessons.





2007 Mathematics Workshop Participants

Below are listed the 2007 Mathematics Workshop teachers. These teachers will now
conduct their own workshops in order to improve mathematics education in their schools.


Teacher School Town
Hindowa Anthony Polytech Student Makeni
Abdul R Bangura UMC Secondary Makeni
Alfred S Bangura UMC Secondary Makeni
Saidu Kelvin Bangura UMC Primary Makeni
Raymond S. Barzey Yonibana Sec.Sch Yonibana
Emmanuel M Bassie Walter Schultz Mem Rotifunk
Patrick Bindi Baoma Sec. Sch Baoma
John B Fofanah UMC Primary Makeni
Alhaji Brima Gogra UMC SS Girls Freetown
Emmanuel Sahr Hinckley UMC Sec.Sch. Freetown
Rev Phillip L Kamara Centenary UMC Bo
Ahmadu B. Kamara UMC Primary Lunsar
Mohamed A Kamara Northern PolyTech. Makeni
Pino M Kamara UMC SS Makeni
Abu Bakarr S Kanu Alharkan Islamic Makeni
Moses B. Kargbo UMC Primary Mabolleh
Rosetta Nancy Kargbo RTCI Waterloo
John Emmanuel Koroma UMC Primary Makeni
Martin Koroma UMC SS Makeni
Stephen T Kpakar UMC Secondary Makeni
Abu Mansaray UMC Sec.Sch. Makeni
Gibrilla Pratt Fergusson SS Moyamba
Nyakeh Sandy Jaiama Sec.Sch Jaiama
Uzziah M.H. Sankoh UMC Primary Makeni
Raymond M. Sannoh Baoma Sec. Sch Baoma
Sheku Seisay UMC Sec.Sch Makeni
Emmanuel A. Sesay Polytech Student Makeni
Rev.Sumaila Sesay Comprehesive Acad Makeni
Yusif A Sesay UMC SS Makeni
Solomon Keister Thorlie Northern PolyTech. Makeni
Z. Yao Narcisse Traore UMC Sec.Sch. Makeni
Emmanuel B Tucker Harford Moyamba
Robert M Turay UMC SS Makeni

Mathematics Workshop Leaders

Hope Law

Received Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics Education from Teikyo-Westmar University in 1965.

Received Masters Degree in Secondary School Administration from University of Northern Colorado in 1978.

Completed course work in an additional 60 hours of graduate work in Mathematics and Cultural Studies beyond the Masters Degree.

Taught Mathematics, Music, Physical Education and Commercial classes as an Expatriate Contract Teacher at Harford School for Girls in Moyamba, Sierra Leone from 1965 through 1968.

Taught Applied Mathematics, Algebra I and II, and Geometry, in grades seven through nine for 32 years in Arvada, Colorado, U.S.A. In addition taught Social Studies classes and coached girls sports teams.

Was recognized by her peers as one of the Teachers of the Year (1985) in the State of Colorado and retired as a Master Teacher in the year 2000.

Currently is tutoring students in Math, serving as a Western State University (Colorado) Mentor for new teachers, training substitute teachers for the Jefferson County School District in Colorado, and serving (with her husband) as the Rocky Mountain Coordinator for Operation Classroom (a United Methodist Church program for assisting education in Sierra Leone and Liberia) and serves on the Board of Directors of CITA International (an organization formed to develop and maintain health and education facilities in Sierra Leone).


Dave Figi

Received Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater in 1965.

Received Masters of Science Degree in Teaching from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater in 1975.

Completed course work in an additional 51 credits of graduate work in Mathematics, Computer Education and Computer Science.

Taught Mathematics and History classes as a Peace Corps Volunteer at Harford School for Girls and the Moyamba Boys School in Moyamba, Sierra Leone from 1965 through 1967.

Taught Mathematics and Algebra I, in grades eight and nine for 15 years at Marshall Junior High School and Algebra I, Algebra II and Computer Science for 22 years at Parker High School in Janesville, Wisconsin, U.S.A. In addition coached boys football and basketball sports teams.

Currently is retired from teaching but still coaches sophomore football at Parker High School and compiles track and field statistics for a website that promotes girls track and field in the state of Wisconsin.


Carol Owen

Carol lives in Hawaii and has worked as a programer for IBM . Carol initiated the computer education part of the Operation Classroom 2007 trip. Received Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics and Psychology from Teikyo-Westmar University in 1963.

Taught Mathematics at South Division High School in Milwaukee Wisconsin from 1963 through 1966; and in Des Moines in 1967.

Worked at Pioneer Hybrid Corn Company in Des Moines Iowa and Pioneer System, Inc from 1967 – 1971 as a computer programmer, system analysts, and technical marketing. Carol was prompted to Vice President of Pioneer Systems in 1970.

Completed additional graduate work in Accounting at Drake University, Des Moines Iowa.

Received Masters Degree in Accounting from the University of Iowa in 1973.

Was an active member in the IBM User’s group COMMON in the planning & coordinating of meetings and assistant to the President of the user’s organization.

Joined IBM in 1973 in Moline, Ill as a Systems Engineer; a technical marketing and support position. Developed an application for IBM customer John Deere Tractor Dealers. The project was reviewed by the Industry’s professional development team in Palo Alto, Calif.

Moved to Los Angeles and became the team leader of the LA Metro Branch midrange customer marketing and support team.
Became the Project Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers system installation and application implementation.

Moved to Honolulu, Hawaii in 1984 and continued to work for IBM until 1996.

Currently the Manager of Information Systems Department at Unicold Corp. in Honolulu Hawaii.
Project implementation includes a three site VPN network with firewalls, 40 PCs and two IBM systems. All system applications are written and managed from the IS Dept in Honolulu. All PCs are ordered, configured and managed from the IS Dept. All ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and communications providers are selected and managed by the IS Dept. The Company Web site is maintained and enhanced by the IS Dept.

Current Organization actively supported:

  • Central Union Church of Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Teacher, committee chairperson, choir member
  • CITA International
  • Financial and organization awareness supporter
  • Operation Classroom
  • Financial and onsite supporter

Matt Stolte

Matt is a seminary student from Denver, Colorado. He has a degree in mathematics and helped teach special topics at the 2007 mathematics workshop in mathematics.