When my husband, Kevin, and I founded Ascend Math back in 2007, it was with the goal of helping to give all kids the gift of math literacy, especially those who may have fallen through the cracks. What we’ve received in return since then has been satisfying proof that Ascend is having a real-world impact on struggling learners. In particular, we’ve noticed that students in underserved communities are making impressive—even dramatic– gains. Examples include students that pass high stakes tests for the very first time sometimes in 8th grade after multiple years of failure. We recently heard from a teacher, “Ascend participants have gained confidence through completing lessons, and are encouraged through the earning of flags, fireworks and time at Base Camp. This confidence has spilled over into other areas and has manifested itself in better progress monitoring scores, better scores on common assessments and school wide universal screeners.”
The success these kids are enjoying stands for more than just better test scores. In many cases it means envisioning a successful future for the first time. This kind of vision is something that can only be achieved when schools and districts make a conscious effort to reach learners who lack the everyday support many of their peers enjoy.
In my next few notes, I will be exploring the concept of equity, an issue that is much on my mind and the minds of educators across the nation these days. The upcoming National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) conference (April 23rd-25th) offers a dedicated strand on the topic of equity, and I am eager to learn more and share my thoughts about how we might all ensure kids get equal opportunities at learning.