Building math skills is especially important in younger grades.

A program at Western Kentucky University (WKU) is helping some elementary school teachers enhance how they teach math and use more technology in the classroom.

The three-year Math and Technology Leadership Academy is winding up its first year, but it’s already giving 14 teachers in Bowling Green new ideas and better teaching methods.

First-grade teacher Emily Mills said she was surprised by the response she got when she made a math video assignment. Mills told The Daily News of Bowling Green that after her students finished the assignment, they continued to make more videos on their own.

She called the program “the most beneficial graduate work I’ve ever done.”

A $500,000 grant from the Toyota USA Foundation helps cover teachers’ course fees and allows WKU faculty members to run the academy.

In addition to graduate-level online classes, teachers routinely attend seminars led by education experts and university professors. It comes at a time when educators are emphasizing the importance of math and technology.