KDK-Harman Foundation grant boosts Mathworks algebra program
Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
April 25, 2012
The KDK-Harman Foundation has announced a three-year grant of $108,000 to support the Texas State University-San Marcos Mathworks Algebra Program (MAP) at Miller Middle School in San Marcos.
MAP is a new program in which all students at Miller will be using the Mathworks Math Explorations curriculum starting in the 2012-2013 school year. This will enable students to complete Algebra I by the end of the 8th grade or earlier, giving them a solid foundation for higher-level math courses and college readiness.
"Our board was very impressed with the results to date of the Mathworks curriculum, and excited for the potential to impact an entire school, establishing a model that could be replicated across the state," said Jennifer Esterline, executive director of the KDK-Harman Foundation.
The Mathworks curriculum carefully weaves in algebraic concepts throughout its three textbooks, giving students a rigorous pre-algebra experience before taking Algebra I. Pilots of the curriculum over the past three years have shown strong correlations between student use of the curriculum and significant increases in algebra readiness. Gerald Kulm, an outside independent evaluator of the curriculum, endorsed the curriculum, pointing to data “that attests to its effectiveness in preparing Texas students for further mathematical success.”
“Not only is it based on research, it incorporates the best ideas from research in the way that it allows students to investigate and explore ideas before they are given procedures, and then encourages the students to reflect on what they are learning,” Kulm said. “These are the critical hallmarks of the best and most effective curricula, and two of the greatest strengths of the Mathworks program. My evaluation found that the Math Explorations textbooks is impressive in its preparation of students for Algebra I.”
“Miller Middle School has fantastic teachers, a great math coach, and a supportive principal. The pre-AP students at Miller are already using the Mathworks curriculum, and extending its impact to the entire school starting this fall is a vision we want to carry out,” said Mark Eads, San Marcos CISD superintendent. “We're excited to have this partnership with Texas State University and the KDK-Harman Foundation, and hope that this program serves as a model of how districts, universities, and foundations can work together to serve the educational needs of our children.”
Max Warshauer, Regents Professor of Mathematics at Texas State, will direct MAP, working with Terry McCabe, Hiroko Warshauer, Alex White, and Sharon Strickland from the Texas State Mathematics Department.
“MAP is designed to enable all students reach their full potential in mathematics. A key is that this partnership involves teachers, administrators, and parents in creating an exciting learning environment,” Warshauer said. “I’ve loved working with students and teachers in San Marcos for the past 30 years, and this is one of the best programs we have ever put together. Our history of having worked with San Marcos students and conducting summer math camps for the past 17 years has built the foundation that MAP will now take to the next level.”
KDK-Harman grant funds will provide resources for teacher professional development, school-year support from Texas State math faculty, a mentoring program where Texas State undergraduates serve as tutors, as well as books and supplies for the students. In addition, students will be able to get a jump-start by attending the nationally recognized Mathworks Junior Summer Math Camp, with scholarships provided for 100 local students.
“This is a high area of interest to the Foundation's grantmaking priorities given the fact that research tell us that algebra readiness is so critical to college readiness, particularly for students interested in pursuing STEM degrees and careers,” said Janet Harman, founder and president of KDK-Harman.
More information about the Mathworks curriculum, Math Explorations, can be found online at www.txstate.edu/mathworks/curriculum/curriculum.
Mathworks is a center for innovation in mathematics education at Texas State University-San Marcos. Mathworks' mission is to develop model programs and self-sustaining learning communities that engage Texas K-12 students from all backgrounds in doing mathematics at a high level. Core programs include summer math camps, teacher training, and math curriculum research and development.
About KDK-Harman Foundation
KDK-Harman Foundation is a family foundation located in Austin, Texas whose mission is to break the cycle of poverty through education while promoting a culture of giving excellence. The Foundation supports nonprofits and schools that work to close achievement gaps for low-income students in grades K-12, preparing them with 21st Century skills and access to quality careers. The Foundation supports programs within Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, Caldwell, Burnet and Llano counties.