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MIND Blog Rewind: March 2020

Each month on the MIND blog, we share stories of how our organization, our partners, and educators across the country are advancing the mission to mathematically equip all students to solve the world’s most challenging problems. We also share resources for educators and students, and cover some of the exciting events we take part in across the country.

Welcome to the MIND Blog Rewind! A lot has changed since our last round-up in February. There have been huge changes here at MIND Research Institute, and not just in our organization, but across the world.

One of my favorite quotes is from Fred Rogers, the compassionate host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" Many of us are feeling scared or worried in these uncertain times and I'm sending you all virtual hugs and a reminder to be gentle with yourselves.

But what has inspired me most are the helpers. From brave healthcare workers, to dedicated grocery store employees, to the innovators in the education space. I'm humbled by the way that administrators, math coaches, teachers, parents, caregivers, and students have pivoted to remote learning models, continuing to show up and adapt for education! Thank you for all of your hard work.

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With school closures due the coronavirus, COVID-19, MIND felt driven to act. As a non-profit, social impact organization, our mission is to ensure that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world's most challenging problems.

On March 10, we announced our decision to provide resources and no-cost access to ST Math for families, schools, and districts so learning can keep happening at home. This included both our ST Math program and our ST Math Homeschool program. Check out our Coronavirus Resource page for more information and resources around this.

“We must take care of the need wherever it is, however we can.”

Our CEO Brett Woudenberg spoke these inspiring words, "We must take care of the need wherever it is, however we can." On a recent blog post The Week that Changed Everything, he reflected on school closures due to COVID-19 and shared MIND Research Institute's efforts to help families, teachers, and students.

In his words, "I wanted to pause and share with you what’s been going on inside MIND, and how proud I am of our purpose-driven team. It’s absolutely inspiring and, to be perfectly honest, a little bit scary."

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We're also incredibly thankful to our philanthropic partners and Board of Directors who have stepped in to help, offering financial support. As a non-profit, our organization is primarily supported by revenue from ST Math. Making this program free in the face of this crisis was the right thing to do. We are so grateful to several of our corporate and foundation supporters, seeing that an entire generation’s education was in imminent danger, accelerated or reallocated their gifts to meet the urgent need as well. We are profoundly grateful for their philanthropic support.

Thank you for all that you do to help MIND, and for all you are doing to support your communities during this unprecedented time.

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We're also celebrating our partners, like Cisco and Verizon, who have stepped up to support remote learning in a time of need. Verizon recently announced its commitment to provide internet connectivity for all students who have no internet connectivity at home, in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

One of the steps our partner Cisco has taken to keep people connected, is to offer free usage of its Webex platform for remote work and communication. Cisco has also put together resources for remote teaching, learning, and communication so that everyone can stay connected while learning remotely. Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins recently issued a letter of support that outlined the efforts Cisco is taking in response to the COVID-19 situation.

His letter spoke to how Cisco is going beyond customers and partners to help communities as well. “We will do whatever it takes to support those whose lives have been impacted by this pandemic and those on the frontlines,” Robbins wrote. 

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Remote Learning and Other Resources for Families

We are so thankful for parents and their critical role in a students’ learning ecosystem, and a lot happened this month around parents and support. It’s no secret that this month has been an adjustment for all of us, whether it’s working from home or becoming your students’ teachers.

Edith Esparza, Education Engagement Specialist, shared helpful tips, STEM activities, and free resources to help parents navigate remote learning. Parents also have their own resource section on our website that includes helpful blogs, free tools, and fun games that also inspire learning. 

Additionally, we know that to be successful and support student learning, we need to support our ST Math parents. Which is why we also created a new Facebook group for parents who are leading their children's learning  at home. You are invited to join that community and become a part of the conversation. Just click this link!

Looking for a fun, mathematical, and delicious way to keep learning? Nina Wu, Educational Game Designer at MIND, shared a pi day recipe on the blog for students of all ages. It doesn't need to be pi day to enjoy pie! Her blog includes information on Pythagoras and a yummy study of fruit. Make the delicious and educational decision to try it yourself.

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We also shared recaps of several notable events prior to the Coronavirus outbreak. The MIND Research Institute family got a front row seat to Disneyland Resort's Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance STEM panel event and Engagement Assistant, Tatiana Hernandez, took the time to share!

The best part? We were able to bring some of our local ST Math students located in Santa Ana, CA along for the ride. Not only did students hear from Disney Imagineers, but they also got the chance to ride the new Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride before it was open.

This experience was about so much more than riding Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. It was about our students hearing how pursuing math education can lead to becoming storytellers, artists, and whatever else their imaginations dream up. Thank you to our partner, Disneyland Resort, for this amazing opportunity!

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We also shared a recap of our experience at ESEA 2020. Previously known as the National Title 1 Conference, the ESEA conference brings together federal program directors, administrators, and educators. This year was focused on how working together will lead to equity, and ensure that students have access to the education and resources that they deserve.

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Ki Karou, Director of Product of ST Math Content, also presented at ESEA. His presentation, "The Neuroscience of Edtech Learning," served to educate and discuss how to distinguish edtech products that sound good from those that are effective and increase learning.

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We have so many wonderful, inspiring, and educational resources in the works to help teachers, administrators, parents, and students. Stay tuned and subscribe to the blog so that you don't miss them. I can't wait to share them with you. 

We'll get through this together.

Additional Highlights:

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Jolene Haley

About the Author

Jolene Haley was the Content and Community Specialist at MIND Research Institute. In addition to creating content for MIND, she is an author, avid reader, and lover of iced coffee.

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