Thursday morning, officials with the Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED) announced an additional grant commitment of $150,000 to continue their partnership with Canutillo Independent School District (CISD) and its innovative early Algebra program.
“Students who complete Algebra 1 in middle school are four times more likely to receive a college degree and are also more likely to major in a STEM field,” said Richard A. Castro, Chairman of the CREEED Board of Directors. “CREEED is committed to supporting efforts that increase the number of college ready students in our region, and giving students an early opportunity to study advanced mathematics is key to creating a pathway to college success. We are excited to expand our investments in this innovative program.”
The goal of the effort is to have 100 percent of Canutillo 8th graders passing Algebra 1 by the 2023-2024 academic school year before entering high school, positioning them for academic and college success.
The expansion will make Canutillo ISD the first district in Texas, and just the 76th school district in the country, to enroll all of their 8th grade students in Algebra 1.
Algebra 1 is the first in a series of sequential math courses that lays a foundation for studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and is an indicator of post-secondary success.
Studies show that students who do not take Algebra 1 in eighth grade are unlikely to take Calculus before graduating high school.
In a pilot program launched in 2019 with CREEED’s financial support of $75,000, CISD’s early Algebra program enrolled 40 students with at-risk academic backgrounds in Algebra 1, a course they would not normally be able to access until high school.
Officials say that thanks to a hybrid program that provided personalized learning and allowed students to advance at their own pace, all 40 students successfully completed the course. The program hopes to more than triple that number by 2021.
“With greater opportunity comes greater achievement,” said CISD Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz. “This initiative allows our students to invest in their futures at a young age. With CREEED’s continued support, Canutillo will become a local leader in setting high expectations for all students and giving them the tools they need to meet those expectations and excel in their future studies.”
Together, CREEED’s investment will help the district expand its middle school math classrooms by hiring four additional teachers qualified to teach these courses, offer smaller student-teacher ratios, support teachers’ professional development, and provide advanced math students with specialty software, calculators, and other technology to aid in their studies, as well as targeted interventions for students with special needs.
CISD will be investing $237,000 into this initiative in order to ensure sustainability well into the 2021-2022 academic school year, and beyond.