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Advancing Student Achievement MATH Grant Success Stories


The Actuarial Foundation believes that when actuaries and educators work together with students in math, every student wins. These innovative programs are designed by the school to meet each schools' specific needs. Whether you’re considering an after-school math club or a mentoring program that includes actuaries who can bridge the gap between school math and real world math, a grant through the Advancing Student Achievement (ASA) program, will benefit your students. Schools implementing an Advancing Student Achievement math grant include:

Addison Middle School

Math in the Community will begin with fall testing via MAP tests administered by the Northwest Evaluation Association. This will provide a baseline by which to evaluation program success in math concepts. This initial testing will be following by curriculum dedicated to workplace skills, money management, investing and business math. These skills will be reinforced on a continuing basis using a piece of online software called IXL. This is situation-based software in which student’s review and practice state standards using games and online activities. This will provide as close to real-life situational application as we can achieve before testing concepts in the field. Finally, there will be field trips to local businesses at which students will be placed in real situations in which application of math concepts will be expected. Assessment will be made by teachers at the site, via available actuarial volunteers and host-side business contacts.

Anderson School District 5 -for Lakeside and McCants Middle Schools

Research efforts in STEM education depict a trend of female students under-performing in mathematics courses when compared to their male counterparts, ultimately yielding decreased participation and interest in mathematics. This leads to a decrease in female participation in higher level STEM education and math-based careers. To change this, Anderson County School District 5 is using their Advancing Student Achievement math grant to implement It’s a Girl Thing (IGT) – a yearlong mathematics course enhancement aimed at increasing participation and improved understanding in mathematics to heighten the success among female middle school students. By introducing mathematics in a safe and encouraging learning environment, It’s a Girl Thing (IGT) aims to expose girls to nontraditional educational and professional career fields while also increasing self-confidence.

Bay View Academy

The Math Club at Bay View Academy provides enrichment activities and practice for 5th and 6th grade students competing in math contests. The goal for these students is to successfully compete in the local Math League competitions and ultimately the national Mathletics competition. The Club hopes to support and challenge these higher-level math thinkers with logic and deductive reasoning sessions and mock contests so they feel comfortable during the competitions.

Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science and Engineering

With an Advancing Student Achievement math grant, Columbia students have the opportunity to join an innovative math enrichment program like nothing offered before at CSS. Math teachers have developed a fully organized math club that will expose interested students to advanced thinking and problem solving as well as prepare them to compete in various math competitions throughout the school year. The middle school math club emphasizes rigorous yet doable math problem solving. Patterning, data collecting, predicting, testing, research and problem solving will be tackled by students. Mentors will help the high school club members prepare their work for competitions. In addition, this group will receive lectures and lessons on solving advanced math concepts such as in probability, geometry, number theory, writing proofs, series, real world math situations such as in the financial sector, etc.

Thomas Edison Charter School

Thomas Edison Charter School will use their one-year sustainable grant for the selection and acquisition of math manipulatives to support student math knowledge in both traditional classroom settings as well as with interventions. The school has adopted and purchased new Common Core aligned mathematics texts and technology resources, but is in need of additional manipulatives to complement the curriculum.


Grande Innovation Academy

The Innovative Math Academy is a program that takes place at the school every Friday from 2:00-4:00 p.m. The bottom 25% of students will be taught by level, not necessarily grade. Mastery of math facts to increase fluency and operational consistency, as well as problem solving skills will be the focus. Teachers will use the data collected during school hours, such as Math AIMS Web, Galileo, formal math program assessments, and classroom observations to design lessons for students that attend the academy.  


Grant High School

Algebra Innovations is a course taught in a double block format by a team of math and business educators. The first block is dedicated to mathematics instruction, while the second block is used to apply these math concepts to business projects. Students will develop and market products for the school store and events by applying the following concepts: pricing strategies, engaging in market research, managing budgets, and forecasting for sales. Additionally, students will manage a small investment portfolio using financial analysis tools to assess stocks to invest in, as well as track investment performance.

Greenville Junior-Senior High School

The purpose of Keystone Algebra I Recitation is to foster students’ algebraic understanding by providing a technology-based approach to learning algebra. Participating students will use a Casio FX-CG10 Prizm color graphing calculator along with lessons crafted around the Pennsylvania Core Standards using the Fostering Algebraic Thinking with Casio Technology workbook.  In the second year of the grant, students will participate in an after-school mathematics computer laboratory to further develop their algebraic skills on the Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) learning platform.

Harlem Academy

Since 2012, with support from the Actuarial Foundation, actuary mentor (Jeffrey Newman) has worked with students at Harlem Academy. This year, he is piloting a significantly revised program that strengthens the focus on real-world applications of math. Students in fifth and sixth grade now study probability, as well as the following:
• Dependent vs. independent variables.
• Conditional probability.
• Probability multiplication rules for independent events.
• Factorials.
• Combinations and permutations, with probability outcomes.
• Multinomial, Poisson, hypergeometric, and normal distributions.
• Calculation of standard deviations by hand and electronically.
• Z functions for determining probability within the standard curve.
Grades 7 & 8:  will be introduced to three new modules to supplement the financial education course Mr. Newman has been teaching for  the last several years (which follows the first three of The Actuarial Foundation's Building Your Future books), including:
• Loan modeling using Excel spreadsheets for credit card debt.
• Loan modeling for home purchases using fixed and variable rates.
• Investment allocation and market simulation using “How the Market Works” website, allowing students to research companies and invest in real time, and to measure their results vs. overall market performance.

Hope Academy Charter School

In the Math Stars Program, students in grades 4-8 complete different challenges/quests and work their way through levels in order to earn medals (bronze, silver, gold and platinum). The 8th grade honors class will also have an overnight math retreat, workshops with 2-3 speakers in mathematics fields, and an end-of-year trip to Six Flags Great Adventure for their annual Physics/Math day, as a reward for their participation and hard work. A weekly math blast, prepared by the math honors class students, will be presented to all students in grades 4-8. Each grade will have their own weekly challenge and all questions will be based on real world math. The school is also hosting two math events for students in grades 4-8th, featuring speakers from the community to address students on how math is used in their businesses.

Immaculate Heart Central Schools

IHC new After-School Math program is designed to give struggling students extra instructional time to master mathematical applications. Once a month, an extra session of the program will convene for whole group activities and games. This session will allow for peer mentoring to broaden the social interaction students receive from the program. For lower ability level students, it is an opportunity to learn and explore with the aid of a higher ability peer who may model math skills in a different way. For our higher ability peers, the whole group sessions give them an opportunity to articulate their knowledge which helps deepen their understanding.

Lowell Elementary

The program at Lowell involves fourth and fifth grade students and began in October 2012.  Titled “Mathletics”, which is defined as the combination of brain power and brain speed, Lowell focuses on improving basic math facts using stopwatches and flash cards.  Students partner with each other and practice reciting math facts in different time increments using the stopwatch.  John Adduci, FSA, is generously offering his time as an actuary volunteer at Lowell. The goal is not only to have students master math facts and improve math achievement, but to learn the importance of working together.

Pacific Beach High School

The Skateboard Building program at Pacific Beach High School is designed specifically to engage students in a project that teaches the usefulness of understanding mathematical concepts. One of the goals of the Skateboard Building Program is to shift the view of math class from being something that is boring and package it as something that is viewed as being "cool" to know. Previous Skateboard Building Programs have proven to be very effective at bridging the gap between the classroom and the students' real world. Through this project based learning approach, students gain a mastery of Common Core math standards that prepare them for the California High School Exit Exam, as well as learn to model with mathematics, use appropriate tools strategically, and attend to precision. The class is led by Chris de Firmian, a former high school woodshop teacher who has designed and led numerous classroom based woodworking projects with an emphasis on promoting mathematical understanding.

Roberge & Woodside Elementary School

Working in small groups, students will operate architectural firms to create strong, economical bridges as they keep a record of their costs. This hands-on approach to learning will let them apply such topics as the strength of different shapes as they estimate special configurations, estimate costs (in thousands of dollars), use mathematical operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing), and measurement including the use of graph paper and rulers (which is very under-utilized in elementary school). Additionally, practical skills will be addressed such as “writing” checks (potentially this could be an online checkbook), balancing an account, maintaining a schedule, and meeting a deadline, all while working with others.

Southington Public Schools (SPS) District

The Southington Public Schools (SPS) District has implemented an enrichment program called Like Learners. The Like Learners program places motivated, high-achieving students with similar abilities and interests together for remediation, instruction, and development. These students are currently not receiving needed enhancement activities to assist with math challenges. Using their Advancing Student Achievement grant, the Southington Public Schools District is implementing a Math Olympiad program for their eight elementary schools. During weekly Like Learners after-school meetings, students explore a variety of math topics or concepts, using materials provided by Math Olympiads, and they practice in preparation for monthly online contests. In addition to the Like Learners meetings, field trips to museums with math exhibits and presentations on math related careers by invited guest speakers are planned.

UIC College Prep

UIC College Prep, a four-year charter high school, began its program, “UIC Mathletes” in September 2012.  The grant allows students from all levels to attend high-level math competitions throughout the state of Illinois. The UIC Mathletes team helps build in students a passion for math specifically and tackling challenges in general. They work during the entire school year to prepare for both the City of Chicago Math League (CCML) and Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) competitions. They have been quite successful, winning the division of CCML and winning several team honors at the ICTM state level.

Worthington Park Elementary School

The participating students of Worthington Park Elementary School write and create a virtual math magazine for their school and peers. All of the articles written by the students for the Worthington Park Math Magazine are mathematical in nature. Students spend time with mathematical guests before each edition that serve as inspiration for articles in each edition of the virtual math magazine. Additionally, actuary mentors arrange time each month to visit the classroom to provide descriptive feedback to the student authors about their articles.