The Mamie D. Lee Experience

describe the imageBy Dr. Aimeé Cepeda Pressley

Mamie D. Lee is a Special Education Center in the District of Columbia, which has served students with severe and profound intellectual disabilities for the past 42 years. The student population ranges in age from 5 to 22. In 2012, the Principal at Mamie D. Lee implemented the Spatial-Temporal (ST) Math program as  an intervention to make math instruction more engaging and interactive for the students. For the 2012-2013 academic year, twenty-five students were selected to participate in ST Math as an intervention tool. This selection was inclusive of grades 3-10 and started all students at the Kindergarten level.  ST Math was selected as the intervention of choice because the program consists of an animated learning environment (computer game metaphor), minimizes the use of language and mathematical symbols, minimizes distractions on the screen, provides frequent scaffolded feedback, and draws upon spatial cognition to advance learning outcomes.

ST Math was implemented twice a week for 45 minutes for each class, in a computer lab with 12 computers. One Technology Coordinator and at least one instructional aide monitored student progress during each period. The Technology Coordinator ensured that students made up all missed ST Math sessions. Additionally, some homeroom teachers gave students additional “play” time in the classroom during math instruction.  

Eighty percent (20/25) of the students participating in ST Math met the comprehensive school goal of completing 60% or more of the assigned syllabus. Eleven students completed 100% of the Kindergarten syllabus within the academic year and 1 student completed 100% of the Kindergarten and 1st Grade syllabi within the academic year.

The outcome of implementation was so promising that this academic year, we are using ST Math as an intervention tool for 38 students, ranging in ages from 9 to 22. Since August 2013, 5 students have completed 100% of the Kindergarten level (continued from the previous year), 2 students have completed the 1st grade syllabus, and 1 student completed the 2nd grade syllabus. 

While we continue to implement the intervention twice a week for 45 minutes, students play JiJi any chance they get in the classroom using iPads. Our Technology Coordinator continues to ensure that students make up missed sessions and assists struggling students to grasps the more abstract concepts by using manipulatives and real world examples.

Dr. Aimeé Cepeda Pressley is Principal at Mamie D. Lee School.


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