Highland Capital Management, an investment management and global alternative credit firm in Dallas, has donated $1 million to Reasoning Mind, a Texas-based nonprofit program committed to improving math education in the U.S.
About half of the gift will go toward developing Reasoning Mind’s new seventh-grade math curriculum, and the other half will go toward program expansion in North Texas.
Founded in Houston in 2000, Reasoning Mind delivers a coherent math curriculum to students through an interactive online program. It also provides teacher training and in-person support.
Access to a computer is required, but “that is no longer considered a major stumbling block, since basically every school district has a computer lab,” said Forrest Hoglund, vice chairman of Reasoning Mind’s board.
Reasoning Mind is designed to prepare students for algebra, a course widely cited as a “gatekeeper” to college.
The program serves nearly 70,000 students across eight states. Through a partnership with the Dallas Independent School District, all second- and third-graders in the district are now in the program.
“Analysis of the 2011-12 school year showed that second-grade DISD students using the program for 70 hours or more over the course of the year grew by 1.6 grade levels in math performance as measured by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills — growth equivalent to five additional months of instruction,” said Andrea Foggy-Paxton, Reasoning Mind’s senior vice president of national expansion based in Houston.
“The DISD plans to expand the Reasoning Mind program to a large number of fourth-grade classes in the 2013-14 school year.”
Because the program is Web-based, many students work on mathematics outside of school.
“Last year, one DISD second-grade student spent over 162 hours on the program, including many over evenings and weekends,” Foggy-Paxton said. “Despite being an at-risk English language learner who finished first grade slightly below grade level, this student was able to raise his ITBS math score to a 4.3, an increase of 2.5 grade levels in a single year.”
To help students access the program after school, Reasoning Mind has initiated partnerships with several community organizations, most recently the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dallas.
Reasoning Mind offers courses for grades two through six and plans to add seventh- and eighth-grade courses soon.
Since 2005, Highland Capital Management has committed more than $8 million to organizations around the world, with a focus on education and health care.
“Reasoning Mind is a perfect fit for our team’s giving strategy,” said James Dondero, co-founder and president of Highland Capital Management. “Only revolutionary ideas that improve the delivery of education have any chance of making a real impact on graduation rates and employability.”
For more information on Highland Capital Management, visit hcmlp.com. To learn more about Reasoning Mind, visit reasoningmind.org.
Full Story – Here