MIND Research Institute Receives $500,000 Grant to Improve Math Education for New York City Public School Students

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Grant expands MIND Research Institute's efforts to provide blended learning program and close the achievement gap.

Students and MIND staff in an ST Math lab.

MIND staff working with students in an ST Math lab.

We see MIND Research Institute’s ST Math program as having tremendous potential to close the math achievement gap in New York City public schools....

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is providing a $500,000 grant to the education non-profit MIND Research Institute to bring its innovative, visual math education program to 6,000 New York City elementary school students in 2012, in a blended learning environment. Currently used in six of the nation’s 10 largest public school districts, students and teachers using the program have on average doubled growth in math proficiency.

The Dell family foundation grant will fund professional development for approximately 200 teachers, access to the Spatial Temporal (ST) Math® visual learning program for about 6,000 students per year, and year-round educational support services at 30 schools.

“Our Foundation is committed to improving student outcomes through performance-driven education,” said Kevin Byrne, Director of U.S. Education at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. “Based on results in other cities across the country, we see MIND Research Institute’s ST Math program as having tremendous potential to close the math achievement gap in New York City public schools, and prepare more students for life-long success.”

The grant from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation jumpstarts MIND’s New York City Math Initiative, a $5 million philanthropic investment in New York City public schools that is expected to reach 100 local elementary schools by 2014. Similar philanthropic initiatives have been launched by MIND in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, the Orlando area, Seattle and Washington, D.C., to address the need for major public school systems to better prepare students to excel in math from a young age. In New York City, as across the country, the vast majority of the schools participating in the program serve low-income students. The National Math Initiatives are reaching about 200,000 students, funded entirely via philanthropy.

“With our latest generation program, we’re seeing robust, repeatable growth in math achievement at scale in districts across the United States,” said Andrew R. Coulson, president of MIND’s Education Division. “We’re pleased that this strategic grant from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation expands the program in New York City to a large scale capable of showing major progress toward closing the math achievement gap. We expect that positive results at this scale will, over time, attract even more schools to adopt this revolutionary, visual approach to teaching and learning math concepts and skills.”

MIND’s ST Math program provides visual, computer-based math puzzles that support deep, conceptual understanding of concepts covered by New York math standards at each grade level from kindergarten through fifth grade. Because the program doesn’t rely on language proficiency, or prior math proficiency, it’s accessible for English language learners and children with learning disabilities. Students use ST Math for 45 minutes on the computer, twice a week under their teacher’s supervision, in a blended learning environment. The teachers are trained on how to connect the visual puzzles to their conventional symbolic texts, and coached on how to guide children through challenging sections by getting them to express their thinking, rather than simply solving the problems for them.

A recent analysis of eight New York City schools that fully implemented ST Math starting in 2010 showed that those schools increased the percent of students scoring in the top two levels of math achievement on the state test more than twice the rate of similar schools without the program. Specifically, the schools implementing ST Math experienced a 12.9 percentile point growth in the percentage of students in the top two levels of math achievement, whereas the other schools increased by 4.9 points.

Coulson hopes to see similar results on a larger scale thanks to the grant in America’s largest school district. He said, “The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and MIND agree that by gaining a strong foundation in math at an early age, New York City’s public school students will gain confidence in their ability to learn, be more likely to do well in higher math subjects, graduate from high school, attend college and succeed in the 21st century knowledge economy.”

MIND Research Institute
The MIND Research Institute is a neuroscience and education research-based, non-profit corporation. MIND applies its distinctive visual approach to illustrating math concepts and building problem-solving skills as the basis for innovative, research-proven math education programs for elementary and secondary schools. MIND’s programs currently reach over 475,000 students and 16,000 teachers in more than 1,375 schools in 26 states. More: http://www.mindresearch.net.

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Christine Byrd
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