Hyundai Motor America and MIND Research Institute Team Up to Promote Math Education: ST Math Generates Significant Increase in Student Math Skills and Scores at Spring ISD

District Administration, September 2013 | Go to article overview

Hyundai Motor America and MIND Research Institute Team Up to Promote Math Education: ST Math Generates Significant Increase in Student Math Skills and Scores at Spring ISD


As we start the 2013 school year, 6,000 students in four districts in New York, Illinois, Texas and Florida will be learning problem-solving skills using ST Math, thanks to a partnership between Hyundai Motor America and education nonprofit MIND Research Institute. Each district will receive ST Math instructional software, along with teacher training and ongoing educational support from MIND Research.

This latest grant builds on Hyundai and MIND Research's three-year relationship, during which the partners have brought ST Math to six schools in Los Angeles, Orange County, California, and Washington, D.C. On average, using ST Math, these districts' schools have doubled students' growth in proficiency on state math tests.

"Hyundai's support has been critical to our ability to expand," says Ralph Draper, superintendent of Spring (Texas) ISD. ST Math was implemented at one school in the Spring district last year and five are being added this year.

The district is currently coping with two budgetary issues: a reduced overall budget, and sequestration, which is limiting its federal title funds. "If the latter situation is not resolved, we won't have those funds reestablished," Draper says. "Having corporate partners such as Hyundai helps us move forward despite our financial situation."

The partnership came about when Hyundai, which is a member of MIND Research's diversity council, was looking for a way to promote STEM. "They looked around and saw a lot of science fairs, robotics, and other initiatives being created to promote STEM education, but not as much emphasis being placed specifically on math skills," explains Matthew Peterson, Co-Founder & COO of MIND Research Institute. "Recognizing that math is at the heart of STEM, the leadership at Hyundai felt it was important to promote deep math learning."

Management at Hyundai saw that MIND Research Institute was making progress in that area and the two began to talk about how, together, they could help achieve MIND Research's mission of giving every student the math skills they need to solve the world's toughest challenges.

"Hyundai, and indeed our nation, needs problem-solvers who can develop innovative solutions to difficult challenges," says Zafar Brooks, director of corporate social responsibility and diversity inclusion at Hyundai Motor America. "That's exactly what we're training students to do with MIND Research Institute's ST Math program."

Elementary problem-solving

Draper attended Peterson's presentation at the District Administration Leadership Institute Superintendents Summit in Colorado Springs last year, and saw an immediate connection to fulfilling a need in his district." I came back and shared my thoughts on ST Math with my curriculum staff and we introduced it at Thompson Elementary School mid-year." It's too early for hard metrics, but anecdotally, Draper says test scores there have already shown a significant improvement.

One of the largest benefits to ST Math, Draper feels, is that it introduces problem-solving at the elementary level. "Algebra is generally a high school subject with a high level of failure," he says.

"But I believe that algebra failure is rooted at an elementary level, because we're not teaching conceptual math at that lower level. I think it's going to take public-private partnerships such as these and technology like ST Math to make this possible. …

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