African American: 8%
Brazosport ISD wasn't necessarily looking for a new math program when they learned that Phillips 66 wanted to donate ST Math to their schools.
“We blew it off a couple times because we thought it was just another sales call,” explains Sandra Consilio, Brazosport’s math curriculum coordinator. But the tide turned in this district on the Gulf Coast of Texas when they visited a nearby campus where they saw students doing math with a little penguin named JiJi. “Ok, the kids love this,” she realized.
"Students see ST Math as a game. It’s been a way to make math fun."
In fact, 28 districts and more than 94,000 students in Texas learn math with JiJi. Upon further investigation, Consilio and her colleagues began to believe that ST Math’s visually based learning program could help their district meet the needs of its diverse students who speak over 20 languages, while also fitting in nicely with the 1:1 device program they were launching.
"Phillips 66 is committed to supporting STEM education in our communities to give students the brightest future," said Claudia Kreisle, director of philanthropy and community engagement for Phillips 66. "By providing Brazosport ISD with ST Math, we know we're giving students a strong foundation in math to enable and equip future leaders."Keep Reading...
So in 2014, Brazosport piloted ST Math in five of its most at-risk schools, including Gladys Polk Elementary, which was on “Improvement Required” status from the state. “I had never heard of ST Math before, but when we piloted it, the teachers loved it,” says principal Tara Fulton.
“It helped a lot with our students who are not necessarily reading fluently,” says Fulton. “We have third graders reading on a first grade level but they can still do ST Math because it’s not based on reading, it’s all visual.”
Word spread throughout the district and soon the rest of the schools were competing -- literally -- to get ST Math on their campus. “The culture shift in the community was incredible,” says Consilio. “When I go to the grocery store I overhear kids talking about JiJi and how much time they were able to play at school. It became a way of life almost.”
Today, all Brazosport students have access to a Chromebook through their 1:1 device program and, thanks to Phillips 66, all 10 of its elementary schools and two of its middle schools use ST Math.
“Part of our success is the value that we put on it in our district offices,” says Consilio. That means setting certain “non-negotiables” such as regular usage, and districtwide monthly meetings with principals to review schoolwide ST Math progress and award the school with the most progress.
“It holds us all accountable,” agrees Fulton. Many schools in the district, including hers, have created incentives for students to push themselves through the program, ranging from announcing their names on the loudspeaker to presenting “math team” t-shirts to students who complete their grade level content.Keep Reading...
From an analysis of Brazosport's districtwide elementary performance on STAAR.
Perhaps nowhere is the impact of ST Math more profound than at Polk Elementary. Not only did the campus dramatically swing the pendulum from being “Improvement Required” to a model Professional Learning Community campus, but it also earned the highest third grade math scores in the district on STAR assessment last year. “I would definitely say that ST Math contributed to that,” says Fulton, whose cohort of high-testing third graders used ST Math since first grade.
The program also helps students build persistence and grit in the face of challenges through productive struggle. “Students are more willing to try again and work through it if they don’t succeed,” says Christie Burns the digital coach at OA Fleming, an early education campus that serves pre-k through first graders. “I really see growth in our students in their ability to persevere and work their way through problems.”
The enhanced growth mindset that Burns describes leads to pure joy in learning. “I see kids who struggle with other aspects of learning or just being in school. ST Math allows certain students to achieve success in ways they haven’t been able to in traditional settings,” she says. “When they finish their arms go up, and there are days they just burst with excitement.”
That intrinsic motivation to learn and persist through challenges even helped Brazosport students keep up their ST Math syllabus progress this year, despite having a two week “hurrication” from school after Harvey devastated their region.
“Students see ST Math as a game. They like getting JiJi across the screen, they like the little ding sound, and they like seeing their progress,” says Fulton. “It’s been a way to make math fun.”