The Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED) has awarded Canutillo Independent School District (CISD) $75,000 to support a dramatic expansion of its middle school mathematics college readiness program.
The funding will help increase the number of students who can take Algebra I while still in middle school.
“Algebra is widely considered the gatekeeper subject,” said CREEED Chairman Richard A. Castro. “Students who complete a mathematics course beyond Algebra 2 are four times more likely to receive a college degree, but that is challenging when you don’t have any exposure to Algebra before high school. CREEED’s grant helps prepare El Paso students for high school and college.”
Under the new CISD mathematics college readiness plan, all eighth-grade students who “meet” or “master” seventh grade standards on the annual STAAR mathematics test will be enrolled in Algebra I.
In addition, some students who scored as “approaches” on the STAAR exam will be enrolled in Algebra I and provided additional assistance in the advanced coursework.
Only 24% of CISD eighth-graders completed Algebra I last year. Today, almost one-half of CISD eighth-graders are successfully completing their first semester of Algebra I.
“The question is no longer if our students should take algebra, but when,” said CISD Superintendent Dr. Pedro Galaviz. “Thanks to CREEED’s support, CISD will be able to transform expectations, making the completion of Algebra I in middle school the norm rather than the exception.”
Canutillo is also investing in advanced teacher training as part of the new program, which will be rolled out over the next five years.
With CREEED’s financial assistance, CISD plans to make Algebra I available to all students who scored at the “meets,” “masters,” and “approaches” levels by 2024.