Mr. Cook's Web Page

A little about me . . .

A Somerset resident since 2004, I have 3 children who also go to school in Somerset. They participate in activities during every season, so I am very busy attending their events throughout the year.

I am a retired Navy Veteran of over 20 years. During my Navy career, I spent 4 years on a submarine, operating the sub's nuclear power plant. I then spent the remainder of my career (15 years) recruiting for the Navy. I retired in 2013 and, after retiring, decided to embark on a career in financial services. I decided upon this career path, partly, because I was nervous about returning to school to follow my dream of becoming a mathematics teacher. It took about 3 years to realize that not being passionate about my career wasn't getting me anywhere. I, therefore decided to go back to school to be a math teacher. I had already earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN. So all I needed was to take a 1 year course called STEMTeach at UWRF. This course helps aspiring teachers with 4-year STEM degrees to earn their teaching license.

I was fortunate enough to do my student teaching in Somerset during the Spring Semester of 2017. I was then honored to accept the position of full time mathematics teacher at Somerset High School for the 2017-18 school year.

My vision for my class is to make mathematics accessible to all, while instilling a passion and a curiosity for mathematics in all of my students. I realize that some students are frightened by math, while others feel math is easy. My goal is to teach my students, not only math, but also to teach them to truly challenge themselves in any endeavor that they approach. True living comes from challenging yourself. This means being okay with failing while attempting great things.

Some notes about my classroom . . .

  1. Calculators:
    • While they are not always allowed during my class, it is essential that students have a functioning scientific calculator for class. This does not include their smart phone with a calculator application installed.
      • While smart phones are allowed in my class during lessons, they are not allowed during tests in my class. Nor are they allowed for the ACT and other exams. We keep a handful of calculators on hand as a backup in the event someone forgets theirs. But, for students to become familiar with a calculator, they must use their own machine regularly. Imagine taking the ACT or another important test and not knowing how to use your calculator!
      • ACT policy regarding calculators can be found here: http://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/ACT-calculator-policy.pdf
  2. Smart phone use:
    • Smart phones are a part of our world. Needless to say, we are still new at using them. Children and parents alike have difficulty using them appropriately, and in appropriate situations. In order to learn the discipline necessary to make these tools truly useful, I refrain from making my classroom a "smart phone-free area". I prefer allowing them for useful classroom tasks, such as looking up information. This is a privilege that I allow my class.
    • However, if I feel like this privilege is being abused, then I reserve the right to rescind this privilege, either on a classroom basis, or on an individual basis. In the case of a student's privilege being rescinded, a few different strategies will be utilized (this list is in order of escalation):
      • The student will be asked to put their phone away. The student will be allowed to continue to use their phones in subsequent classes, provided they use them appropriately within class.
      • I will confiscate the phone for the remainder of the period. Additionally, the student will not be prohibited from using their phone for a short period of time (approx 1 week). After this suspension, the student will, again be allowed to continue to use their phones, provided the phone is being used appropriately.
      • I will confiscate the phone for the rest of the day. In this case, the use of the student's cell phone will be rescinded for the remainder of the semester.
      • In all cases of escalation listed above, I will send an email to parents regarding the transgression.
    • Again, noting that parents also have challenges in how to use cell phones appropriately, please refrain from messaging students during school-time. In true emergencies, please use the front office as a means of reaching your kids. The high school front office phone number is 715-247-3355.
  3. Use of this website:
    • It is my vision to have this website as a resource for students to access their required school work, notes, and support materials. I also welcome parents to use this as a resource to stay engaged with their kid's math status and progress. My hope is to alleviate the age-old problem of, "I couldn't help my child with math once they started high-school."
    • This web page is currently, and always will be, a work in progress. If there is something in my website that is confusing, or something is missing in your eyes, please feel free to let me know. Transparency in my class is always my goal. But that can sometimes be a challenge.
    • With all this being said, please exercise patience. My ambitions for my website are large, but Rome wasn't built in a day. Nor will this web site be.
  4. Other resources: