Do the math: Students gain access to digital education tools

Published 5:19 am Tuesday, November 22, 2022

The Calcasieu Parish School Board has been added to ST Math and Phillips 66 Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex’s grant program.

Through their partnership, four Calcasieu Parish elementary schools — Western Heights,  Kaufman, Ralph F. Wilson and DeQuincy elementary schools — will receive full-site access to the ST Math program.

ST Math has been described as an “instructional program that leverages the brain’s innate spatial-temporal reasoning ability to solve mathematical problems.” Its exclusive approach creates equity in math education by giving students all the opportunity to learn state math standards through puzzles, non-routine problem-solving, and explanatory feedback.

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The digital tool allows for enhanced STEM education by providing a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts.

Megan Hartman, Phillips 66 public relations director, said the organization has partnered with the MIND Research institute since 2013 to bring ST Math to schools throughout the country — including schools in Texas, Louisiana, Washington, California, Illinois, Oklahoma, Montana and New Jersey.

She explained the benefits of ST Math are evident. “The program has had a positive impact in the schools we have sponsored, and we often get requests to sponsor the program in additional schools in the district or surrounding districts,” she explained. “Before COVID-19, schools that consistently used ST Math outgrew similar schools in statewide ranking by 14 percentile points… 3 years post implementation, the shift in math culture has been so profound that one campus went from being identified as at-risk by the state to earning the district’s top third grade math scores.”

According to Dr. Jill Portie, CPSB Elementary Administrative Director, this program creates room for success for students of all learning levels. “ST Math gives students a personalized journey that allows them the time they need to achieve mastery and equip them with the foundational knowledge to solve unfamiliar math problems in the future,” she said. “We are excited about the opportunity to explore ST Math and look forward to the growth it will have in Calcasieu.”

“ST Math is proven, measurable and scalable so we are excited to be able to activate it in Calcasieu Parish,” said Scot Tyler, Phillips 66 General Manager.

CPSB chose to implement ST Math in schools with a greater population of students who speak English as a second language, according to Hartman. “This program is all inclusive and benefits every level of student no matter what their first language is, whether they are struggling and want to become proficient or are students seeking to advance,” she explained. “ST Math removes any barriers.”

Phillips 66 donated $144,000 to financially support CPSB. This donation will fund the program’s 3-year run, as well as provide continuous professional training, personalized curricular support and 24/7 access to educational resources.

Hartman stated that this funding is an investment in the future workforce. “Phillips 66 invests in education because we believe literacy and workforce preparedness are the foundation of individual achievement and our economic future,” she said. “We desire to build a more diversified and equitable workforce in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines, so we seek and support academic training and education opportunities.”

There are 6 action items on the ST Math Roadmap: implementation, progress monitoring, professional learning, administrator review, goal setting and family engagement. These items will occur throughout the 3-year running period.

There are plans to expand the program to other schools in the coming years.