Our Original Collaborators


Front: Prof. Randolph Phillipp
Second row (left to right): Dr. Osvaldo Soto, Trang Vu, Christina Ada, Esmeralda Orozco, Leslie Dietiker (CPM), Prof. William Zahner
Back row: Prof. Michael O'Sullivan, Daniel Crooks

The Discrete Math Project began in 2016 when the California Department of Education  awarded San Diego State University (SDSU) and the Sweetwater Union High School District a $1.28 million California Mathematics Readiness Challenge Initiative grant.  Only five such grants were awarded state-wide. The scope of the project was two-fold. (1) To design, implement and evaluate a 12th grade mathematics course aimed at preparing students for placement into college-level mathematics courses. (2) To develop and implement a set of in-depth professional learning opportunities for collaborative teams of secondary educators and their school-site administrators. Once funded, a team of educators set out to write a robust curriculum, ultimately creating the Discrete Math Pre-Collegiate course. 

The Discrete Math Project is composed of educators with various backgrounds. Project Director and Principal Investigator, Dr. Osvaldo Soto is a mathematics education researcher who holds a doctorate in mathematics education from SDSU-UCSD and an MS in applied mathematics from SDSU. He is the director of the UC San Diego Math Project, as well as the executive director of Math for America San Diego. 

SDSU professors played a crucial role in the project’s inception. Dr. Randolph Philipp and Dr. William Zahner (Center for Mathematics and Science Education) served as the project’s co-PI’s. SDSU Department of Mathematics and Statistic faculty, Professors Michael O'Sullivan (Dept. Chair) and Vadim Ponomarenko served as curricular consultants. 

The project’s curriculum authors include; Trang Vu, San Diego Unified secondary math teacher; Clara Mateo, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at San Diego City College; Kris Siy, Curriculum Developer; Andre Mathurin, secondary teacher and math education consultant; Elise Lockwood, Professor of Mathematics at Oregon State University.

The Discrete Math Pre-Collegiate (DMPC) course was piloted in the Sweetwater Union High School District in the 2017-18 school year. While piloting, teachers taught in pairs. Each pair taught two classes together, followed by a common preparation time. This incredible model was supported through the initial grant funding. In its first year, 22 teachers in SUHSD taught the course, introducing Discrete Mathematics to over 1200 students. DMPC continues to be taught at high schools throughout the Sweetwater district as a 4th-year A-G math course.  

The DMPC has received attention at both the CA state and national levels. To grow and sustain the project, Dr. Soto has procured additional funding through: private philanthropy (College Futures Foundation), state agencies (CA State University), and service agreements with individual school districts. 

A key feature in course adoption is professional development (PD). PD is offered each summer in the form of a two week training in San Diego, CA. Follow-up sessions are offered throughout the year. The PD is focused on the course content, curricular sequencing, and our pedagogical approach. Two Sweetwater Unified teachers, Melody Morris and Anne Marie Almaraz, have used their knowledge as DMPC teachers to provide a window into what new teachers can expect when presenting the course to students. Since its pilot year, over 50 teachers have been trained to teach the course in approximately 10 school districts across the country, with over 5400 students.

Since its inception, the need for a third-year A-G eligible math course has come to light.  We responded by developing the Discrete Math Problem Solving (DMPS) course, geared towards students seeking an alternative to Integrated Math 3/Algebra 2.