East LA Schools Receive ‘Fun’ Math Tool

By Gloria Angelina Castillo, EGP Staff Writer

Wearing penguin paper hats and cheering “JiJi! JiJi!” elementary school students in East Los Angeles last week treated a math software character like a celebrity.

East Los Angeles children were enthusiastic about the math program’s mascot “JiJi” the penguin. (EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

Students at Belvedere Elementary School and Eastman Elementary School are now participating in an educational program that makes math less intimidating by presenting puzzles and slowly introducing symbols and words, it was announced on Oct. 25.

A three-way partnership between Hyundai Motor America, East Los Angeles-based TELACU and MIND Research Institute has brought the program to the schools.

“MIND will be providing all the software and teaching guidance on the system, Hyundai provides the financial resources to have that program,” and TELACU will continue to collaborate on the project to insure that programs like this support K-12 education, so students will go on to college and even graduate school, TELACU President David Lizárraga told EGP.

Children described the video game-like program as fun. “Math is easier than we think,” Melony Robles told her peers during a school assembly that also serves as a press conference.

The MIND Research Institute’s ST Math program uses visual learning to teach math concepts. It is equally accessible and challenging for native English speakers and English Language Learners alike, Christine Byrd, of the MIND Research Institute, said in a press release.

MIND Education Division President Andrew R. Coulson said the company’s strategy is to “put radically improved digital learning tools in the hands of teachers and students.”

“Visionary community and corporate partners like Hyundai and TELACU are leading this charge to math success for all students, changing attitudes about math and creating the next generation of problem solvers, innovators, and critical thinkers,” Coulson said.

Hyundai Motor America Director of General Affairs Zafar Brooks said the STEM curriculum in the math program would help the children reach graduation.

“With our non-profit partners MIND Research Institute and TELACU, we are honored to invest in an ST Math program to benefit children in East Los Angeles,” Brooks said in a written statement.

During the assembly, Lizárraga told the children he uses math every day and having a strong education will help them realize their dreams—just like he fulfilled his dreams.

“We have to do everything in our power to ensure that our students are all proficient in math,” LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia said in a written statement. “Thank you Hyundai, TELACU and MIND Research Institute for your support in making this happen, we need more programs like this in every school.”

About 30 teachers will also be receiving professional development to incorporate and build upon the program in the classroom.

For more information and to download sample games, visit www.mindresearch.net

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November 1, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


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