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HOUSTON, TX, October 27, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- District and site administrators from more than 50 elementary schools in the Houston Independent School District (HISD) convened today to learn about the Houston Area Math Initiative. Using unique instructional software based on brain research and developed by the nonprofit MIND Research Institute, the Math Initiative has demonstrated impressive results in boosting student achievement. The program, which began in Southern Calif., is spreading to districts nationwide and 22 schools in Harris County are already enrolled in the Math Initiative for the 2009-2010 school year.
In Orange County, CA. where more than 15,000 students participated in the program, the percentage of participating students testing into the Proficient or Advanced level increased by more than 12 percentage points, compared to the state average of 4.5 points. MIND's program, which uses non-language software games, has shown particular success among English Language Learners (ELL) and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Orange County and Harris County share similar demographics in that they each include districts that are among their states' largest and have some of their states' highest populations of ELL and Title 1-eligible students. The Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) in Orange County and Houston Independent School District (HISD) in Harris County have ELL enrollments of 60 percent and 39 percent, respectively. The percentages of students eligible for Title 1 are 80 percent in SAUSD and 93 percent in HISD.
"After the exciting achievement gains we have witnessed in California, we worked aggressively to bring this engaging and research-proven program to more Houston students," said Andrew Coulson, president of the Education Division at MIND Research Institute. "The Math Initiative is leveling the playing field for low-performing students by reducing language barriers that frequently prevent students from mastering fundamental math concepts. Expanding the program to additional Houston schools will provide thousands of additional students and their teachers with the instructional support they need to foster a deeper understanding, and confidence in math."
District and site administrators, as well as business and other community leaders, met with representatives from MIND Research to learn how the Math Initiative enables students to use their innate visual reasoning skills to learn math concepts. Given its proven success in increasing achievement for all English learners, the program has the potential to help Houston increase the number of ELL students who graduate from high school, recently reported at just 22.6% and a critical focus of HISD.
The math program features a carefully engineered Math Education Process based on the use of MIND's ST Math instructional software for students, customized professional development and training for teachers, and leadership institutes for administrators. Born out of decades of neuroscience research at the University of California, Irvine, MIND's unique approach accesses the brain's innate "spatial temporal" reasoning ability to visualize and solve math concepts and problems. Students solve math problems presented as visual puzzles, before being introduced to abstract math language and symbols. They are fully engaged, through fun-to-play software "games" with instant feedback about why a solution works, or doesn't. Students work at their own pace to solve increasingly difficult problems, eventually requiring them to think multiple steps ahead in space and time, and developing confidence in their ability to learn math and a desire to advance their mathematical knowledge.
About 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 concepts and building problem-solving skills as the basis for innovative, research-proven math education programs for elementary and secondary schools. The programs include the ST Math patent-pending instructional software for K-5 students, ST Math : Algebra Readiness for intervention at the secondary level, and Algebra Readiness: A Blueprint for the Foundation of Algebra a comprehensive program featuring a tightly integrated textbook and courseware. MIND's visual approach taps into each student's innate ability to do spatial-temporal (ST) reasoning and problem-solving, and is effective at engaging students at all levels of language or academic proficiency. There are currently 450 schools in California, Texas and 17 other states, and more than 100,000 students and 4,500 teachers participating in the program. For more information, visit http://www.mindresearch.net.
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