Daily Point of Light # 2050 Dec 12, 2001

Milan Skrtic has served New Smyrna Beach Middle School for more than two years an average of 40 hours per month. He brings a unique combination of resources to the students, helps the students and teachers improve their skill levels, and he uses innovative approaches to keep the children excited and interested.

Skrtic is no stranger to volunteerism. The father of three sons, he was active with them in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Then in 1973 he, and his wife, joined the Peace Corps and took the family to Ghana, West Africa. Skrtic was a business advisor to the Ghana Business Bureau in Accra, Ghana.

Skrtic first connected with New Smyrna Beach Middle School when he became a mentor to one student. Soon he picked up another student. After that, he began to notice they had concerns with math. He worked out an innovative plan and taught them math using the stock market. Because of the success, 15 seventh graders met weekly with him for a class period, doing “Stock Market Math.” Throughout the school year, he met with 10 of the 15 and trained them to be “Stock Assistants” who in turn worked with 20 other seventh graders. This program ran for the entire semester.

Skrtic also spends one class period every Wednesday tutoring a small group of eighth graders in science. As the students’ performance improves, they can rotate out of the study group and a new student comes in to get assistance. This special time for the children not only makes them feel “important” in an adult’s eyes, but it has resulted in their science grades changing from “F’s” to “B’s.”

Because of his background as an aerospace engineer, Skrtic also began a Learning Lab that is aimed at students having continual difficulty in math and science. He uses real world concepts that involve math and science to help the children understand. He also designed a student survey to offer insight to teachers concerning patterns of students who are not passing. In addition to this, he holds an enrichment science class for high achieving seventh grade students. He developed a simulation curriculum that involves teamwork to solve current and future global problems.

As the youth see their scores improve in the classroom, they feel better about themselves. Their self-esteem as well as their report card grades are boosted, and that will help them as they continue to mature into adults. Skrtic initiated the relationship and enjoys opening the eyes of children to the wonders of math and science. He not only helps by tutoring and mentoring, he also serves on the School Improvement Technology Correlate, and he has helped to write the school’s five-year technology plan.

Milan Skrtic is an ingenious man who the children look forward to seeing during their school week. His positive attitude and consistency touch the children and let them know he cares for them. His diverse knowledge also adds to the number of approaches he takes with the studies of math and science. He is a retired senior who is giving his all to helping children succeed.