Hyundai Motor America and MIND Research Institute today announced a grant to expand a proven math program in Philadelphia public schools. The grant brings MIND’s ST Math®, a unique visually-based software program, to 6,300 students and 280 teachers at 19 campuses in the School District of Philadelphia this school year.
The program, already used in Philadelphia and other districts across the country, helps students gain a deeper understanding of math concepts through computer-based puzzles featuring JiJi the penguin, beginning in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Research shows that early math skills are the greatest predictor of later academic success and high school graduation – a primary focus of Hyundai’s charitable investments.
“Hyundai aims to improve graduation rates, and through our partnership with MIND, we’ve seen ST Math jumpstart math skills and build children’s love of learning in districts across the country,” said Zafar Brooks, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity Inclusion at Hyundai Motor America. “We’re pleased to expand the Hyundai ST Math Initiative to help Philadelphia teachers and students improve their odds of success.”
Developed by neuroscientists, MIND’s ST Math instructional software program provides visual, computer-based math games that support deep understanding of concepts covered by Common Core math standards at each grade level. Because the program doesn’t rely on language proficiency or prior math success, it’s accessible for English Language Learners and children with learning disabilities. Students use ST Math on computers or tablet devices in a blended learning environment. The teachers are trained on how to connect the visual puzzles to their conventional symbolic texts, and coached on how to guide children through challenging sections by getting them to express their thinking, rather than simply showing them the solution. In numerous analyses over the years, schools using ST Math have experienced two to three times the growth in math proficiency compared to similar schools not using the program.
As a social benefit organization, MIND works with funding partners like Hyundai to bring ST Math to more high-needs schools. The Philadelphia schools serve some of the district’s highest needs students — 92% are from low-income families and qualify for the federal Free and Reduced Price Lunch (FRPL) program; 17% are English Language Learners; and 18% require Special Education. The students are also ethnically diverse, with 35% African-American and 51% Hispanic or Latino.
“Hyundai continues to be an outstanding partner for MIND Research and for those districts committed to changing the way their students learn math,” said Matthew Peterson, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of MIND Research Institute. “We’re excited to expand our efforts with Philadelphia through Hyundai’s generosity.”