SANTA ROSA – The Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce is kicking off another session of the Mike Hauser Algebra Academy—and is helping other cities have their own programs.

“Mike’s dream was always not just to expand the academy locally but to have other programs elsewhere,” said Kelly Bass, director of workforce development for the Santa Rosa chamber.

The academy is for English Language Learners going into eighth and ninth grades. The Santa Rosa academy will once again have 60 students and will be hosted by Agilent, Medtronic, JDSU and PG&E.

Cynthia Murray, president and chief executive officer of the North Bay Leadership Council, has been following the program since its inception.

“It is our hope to bring this to all the cities in the North Bay,” she said.

Novato is launching a program in the fall, which the leadership council is helping to fund.

“We raise the money to pay for the teachers and incidentals and the partner companies provide the space as well as the context,” she said. “It helps connect the dots as to why it is important to learn algebra.”

Business partners for the Novato program are Infineon Raceway, North Marin Water District, Novato Sanitary District and the Buck Institute for Age Research.

In both programs the students go to one of the places of business every day.

“Not only do the students not necessarily realize that these companies exist, but in one company you see people in varied levels of education and skill sets,” said Ms. Bass. “This is really answering the question of ‘why am I never going to need to know this?’”

Sonoma Valley’s school district is looking into starting a program in the fall also, said Ms. Bass.

“But theirs will be coordinated through the school district. We are able to provide them with not just advice, but also materials and our best practices and act as an answer center,” she said.

The next Santa Rosa academy is launching June 13 and will have 60 students from four districts: Santa Rosa, Roseland, Piner-Olivet and Wright districts.

The Novato and Sonoma Valley programs will be in the fall.