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Santa Ana School District Closing Dramatic Achievement Gap in Math Using Distinct Visual Approach

Santa Ana, CA, Dec 12, 2011 The non-profit education researcher MIND Research Institute today announced significant success by the Santa Ana Unified School District in closing the math achievement gap of its predominately minority, high English learner student demographic. Using MIND’s unique, visual math instructional software in 36 of the 38 school district’s elementary schools, the district’s 25,000 K-5 students have closed a 16 point gap and now match the California state average math scores on the 2011 California Standards Test (CST) math assessment.

Santa Ana elementary teachers have steadily improved student math achievement over the last seven years while gradually rolling out MIND’s visual math education software program to grades K-5. The Santa Ana Unified School District, which began implementing MIND Research Institute’s visual math program with five schools in 2004, scored at 35 percent proficiency, 16 points below California state average. Now in 36 schools, students’ proficiency increased to 67 percent on the latest CST scores, matching California students’ average CST math aptitude levels and nearly doubling the district’s 2004’s math achievement.

“What’s truly noteworthy about Santa Ana students’ math proficiency is that we’re seeing remarkable results at the scale of a large urban district—not just one high-achieving class or school—where the predominantly Hispanic student body has closed the achievement gap ,” said Andrew R. Coulson, President of the MIND Education Division. “This accomplishment is a testament to the profound commitments made by Santa Ana Unified School District’s teachers, principals and administrators, who truly understand MIND’s visual learning program and reaps its rewards in their classrooms.”

With a Hispanic student population of nearly 95 percent and 87 percent of students participating in the district’s free and reduced-price meal programs, Santa Ana Unified School District is Orange County’s largest school district and the sixth largest district in California. Language proficiency is challenging for many students, with approximately 60 percent classified as English language learners.

“The MIND Research Institute’s program is invaluable in preparing our students to become an important part of our country’s future workforce,” said Herman Mendez, assistant superintendent of Elementary Education for Santa Ana Unified School District. “By overcoming language barriers and elevating their math proficiency with this distinct visual software, our students are maximizing their ability and demonstrating they can truly compete with their peers when given the proper tools to succeed.”

Orange County Math Initiative
The Santa Ana Unified School District sites have benefited from start-up grants from the Orange County Math Initiative. The Orange County Math Initiative is a community partnership to help teachers elevate student math achievement in the county. The Initiative is a partnership between the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE), participating corporations, foundations and individuals, and the MIND Research Institute. Orange County corporations are funding the partnership to meet their ongoing needs for employees at all levels of business who possess math skills. The five-year effort will continue until the total budget of $5.9 million is met. Over $4 million has been raised to date. For the 2011-2012 school year, the Orange County Math Initiative will impact 14 districts, 108 schools, more than 2,600 teachers and more than 61,000 high-need students.

For more information contact:
Abby Daniels

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