Educational Institutions

The Algebra Project, Inc.

  • Cambridge, MA
  • www.algebra.org

Mission Statement

The strategy of the Algebra Project for the issue of math and education reform of the country's public school systems is a marriage of, on the one hand, insights gained from the organizing traditions of the Civil Rights Movement, and on the other, the sudden appearance of math literacy on par with reading and writing literacy caused by the shift from industrial to information age technologies. The Project has used organizing techniques of the Civil Rights Movement to work the demand side of math and education reform. It has raised in the public arena math literacy as a civil right and it has raised within a nucleus of young minority students the issue of math literacy as knowledge work. Such work is long-term and requires deep-rooted commitment over the next several generations. However, it appears to have a sound historical grounding. It takes advantage of a world-wide technological evolution which will play itself out across the 21st century, and push mathematics and quantitative literacy more and more to the forefront of the literacies required for citizenship in democratic countries. It injects into this technological era the only strategy that has successfully revolutionized race relations in this country, namely, the creation at the grassroots level of a demand for change among the people most debilitated by the current arrangements. i.e. It was not until the Sharecroppers demanded the right to vote in the early 1960s that the coalition of forces advocating on their behalf were able to break through the powerful institutional obstacles to their obtaining the right to vote.

It is important and useful to point out that the subtext of the movement for the right to vote in Mississippi was illiteracy. In the Mississippi Delta following the Civil War, the institution of Sharecropping promoted illiteracy among a whole people. When SNCC field secretaries took illiterate Sharecroppers to the polls to demand their political rights, they raised the argument that a people who have been denied literacy through political arrangements could not be denied access to politics because they were illiterate. Because Sharecroppers were refugeed by the millions into every urban area of the country from the end of WWII to the end of the 1960s, Sharecropper Education, the education of lowest expectations, was spread and currently thrives in every urban school district in the country. Accordingly, it is useful to point out that the subtext for the current illiteracy in these urban schools is the historical, political disenfranchisement of African Americans.

Main Programs

  1. Algebra Project Math Cohorts
  2. Introductory Algebra Project workshops
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Atlanta Public Schools, Atlanta, GA;
Augustus Hawkins High School, Los Angeles, CA;
Miami Northwestern High School, Miami, FL;
Mansfield City School District, Mansfield, OH;
Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School, South Bronx, NY;
June Jordan School for Equity, San Francisco, CA

Graduated High School Cohorts from Jackson, MS; Eldorado, IL; Ypsilanti, MI; Los Angeles, CA; and Miami, FL. Piloting of curriculum materials: San Francisco, CA; South Bronx, NY; Berkely, MI; Petersburg, VA; Summerton, SC. Decentralized national network includes partners the Baltimore Algebra Project, Inc.; the Indianapolis Algebra Project, Inc.; the Southern Initiative Algebra Project, Inc.; the Young Peoples' Project, Inc.; One LA-IAF; and including universities U. Mich.; Southern IL U.; The Ohio State U.-Mansfield; U of So.Calif.; Florida Int'l Univ.

ruling year

1992

President since 1991

Self-reported

Dr. Robert P. Moses

Keywords

Self-reported

education, citizenship, mathematics literacy, social justice, African American, Latino/a, Hispanic, under-resourced, school reform, advocacy, policy, curriculum, teacher training, technology, civil rights, professional development, youth leadership, peer education, quality public school education as a Constitutional right, algebra, geometry

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EIN

22-3137788

Also Known As

AP Inc.

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (B01)

Management & Technical Assistance (B02)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Outcomes of National Science Foundation supported research: From 2009-2014 the Algebra Project studied a cohort model designed to “harness the peer culture” and accelerate mathematics learning for students who enter high school performing in the lowest quartile on the math portion of state tests. At six high schools, cohorts of ~20 students took math together with the same teacher for Grades 9-12. They used rigorous materials designed by mathematicians and teachers to engage low performing students through a unique pedagogy, and enable them to graduate on time ready to take college math courses for credit. Research included (a) preliminary studies at Edison High School, “little Haiti”, Miami; and (b) a multi-site study of cohorts implemented “from scratch” in five demographically different high schools in Ypsilanti, MI; Mansfield OH; Eldorado, rural Illinois; and Los Angeles. Nearly all students performed BELOW “proficient” in math on the Grade 8 state test. Increased, On-Time High School Graduation: In 4 of 5 schools in the multi-site study, 4-year graduation rates were above 70% (from 71-80%). In 3 schools, graduation rates were 11-32% higher than the non-project students, matched for race, gender, math proficiency and language status. At the 4th school, rates were similar (~75%). This Cohort comprised the lowest performing students in a class of 97, so they appear to have “caught up” with their peers.
(full report at http://www.algebra.org or email ben@algebra.org)

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Algebra Project Math Cohorts

The Algebra Project's math cohorts model is designed to “harness the peer culture” and accelerate mathematics learning for students who enter high school performing in the lowest quartile on the math portion of state tests. Math cohorts of ~20 students may begin in 8th or 9th grade and take math together, and have the same teacher for Grades 9-12. They use rigorous materials designed by mathematicians and teachers (with support from the National Science Foundation) to engage low performing students through a unique pedagogy, and enable them to graduate on time ready to take college math courses for credit. The project’s classroom materials are designed to engage students who have experienced academic failure, who enter Grade 9 with conceptual foundations different from those of average- to high-performing students. The materials and pedagogy build cognitive and noncognitive skills together. Teachers are provided intensive professional development each summer, and receive follow up on-site visits and classroom coaching during the school year. Students and teachers participate in summer induction academies to build peer relationships in service of learning mathematics. Teacher professional learning communities are formed; teachers' schedules are such that they have shared preparation periods to review student work and plan lessons. Local universities, institutions, and community organizations assist in support, resourcing the program, and parent/community outreach and engagement.

Category

Elementary & Secondary Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

Budget

$1,250,000.00

Program 2

Introductory Algebra Project workshops

The Algebra Project's Height Chart Workshop: How to apply the languages we speak to the teaching and learning of elementary Algebra.

Introductory Workshop Description:
The Height Chart workshop offers a framework for introducing teachers to a language-based experiential approach to math literacy (the reading and writing of mathematics) used in the Algebra Project and the beginnings of algebra instruction. This approach to algebra is based on the observation that before our students enter school they have learned the grammar of their language, just because learning a language is to learn its grammar. Moreover, precisely because they have learned a grammar of ‘natural’ spoken language they have also learned its embedded logic. Because the grammar and logic of mathematics and the sciences is based on and derived from this everyday language, students’ everyday language provides an entry point to the language of algebra.

This workshop, centered upon an activity of constructing a height chart, is a socially interactive, empowering experience that initiates using ordinary language as a ramp onto the language of science and mathematics. Participants will develop the practice of making their thinking public by speaking and writing about information ‘encapsulated’ in their Height Charts.

This will be an introduction to the teaching and learning of mathematics in the Algebra Project; workshop participants, regardless of prior preparation, are encouraged to be actively engaged as learners in this session.

Facilitators:
Bob Moses, Founder & President, and
Bill Crombie, Director of Professional Development, The Algebra Project;
Maisha Moses, Executive Director,
The Young People’s Project

Category

Elementary & Secondary Education

Population(s) Served

Adults

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

$10,000.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    The Algebra Project seeks to provide students previously performing in the lowest quartile on standardized exams, as well as students in the lowest economic quartile, with mathematics education opportunities in middle and high school that enable them to graduate high school on time in four years, ready to do college mathematics for college credit. To do this, the project works in an 'organizing mode' in collaboration with schools, school districts, universities, individuals and community based organizations to help create networks of support for students, teachers and administrators in local school communities and nationally, in an effort to demonstrate that quality public school education is doable for students in the lowest quartile, thereby "raising the floor" of mathematics literacy for all children in America.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Algebra Project math cohorts of ~20 students per class take math together, and with the same teacher for Grades 9-12. The cohorts use rigorous materials designed by mathematicians and teachers to engage low performing students through a unique pedagogy, and enable them to graduate on time ready to take college math courses for credit. The project’s classroom materials are designed to engage students who have experienced academic failure, who enter Grade 9 with conceptual foundations different from those of average- to high-performing students. The materials and pedagogy build cognitive and noncognitive skills together. Intensive professional development is offered to teachers during summers, with on-site follow up visits and coaching during the school year. Summer induction programs for both students and their teachers also occur in the summer to provide opportunities to experience a new way of learning math, develop a cooperative peer culture in the classroom, without the pressure of the regular academic year. The Algebra Project partners with its sister organization, the Young People's Project (YPP), which offers informal mathematics education opportunities in after school, Saturday and summer sessions. YPP also organizes "Family Math Nights" to provide opportunities for parents, guardians and the community to experience what their students are learning in mathematics. Collaborations with teachers, school and district administrators, university mathematicians and mathematics educators, community organizers, and similarly concerned institutions, organizations and networks locally and nationally help to expand and deepen the research and sustainable capacity of such efforts.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    The Algebra Project and Young People's Project engage in program design sessions and introductory workshop in collaboration with local schools and districts to identify and engage local resources, institutions, and people to ensure that capacity building is built in to program plans. In addition to providing experientially based curricular materials developed with university based mathematicians and mathematics educators, an Algebra Project "Teacher Resource Materials" team has developed correlations between Algebra Project curriculum and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and with the CCSS Mathematical Practices. In addition to direct teacher professional development and ongoing support, the Algebra Project's Professional Development for Professional Developers (PDPD) program works with K-12 teachers who already have taught Algebra Project curriculum for one year, as well as school and district support faculty, university mathematicians and mathematics educators who have provided at least one year support to math teachers using Algebra Project materials, with additional intensive workshops, coaching and development to become Algebra Project professional development specialists, and thereby create ongoing, sustainable human resources within schools, districts and local institutions that can sustain support for the project into the future.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Algebra Project is successful when participating
    * students are able to pass State mathematics exams at proficient level in high school
    * students do well enough on national ACT/SAT exams to qualify for college entrance
    * students accepted to college are able to do college mathematics for college credit, without remediation
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Final Outcomes of National Science Foundation supported study shows promise for High School Math Cohorts: In this research, the Algebra Project studied a cohort model designed to “harness the peer culture” and accelerate mathematics learning for students who enter high school performing in the lowest quartile on the math portion of state tests. At six high schools, cohorts of ~20 students took math together with the same teacher for Grades 9-12. They used rigorous materials designed by mathematicians and teachers to engage low performing students through a unique pedagogy, and enable them to graduate on time ready to take college math courses for credit. The project’s classroom materials are designed to engage students who have experienced academic failure, who enter Grade 9 with conceptual foundations different from those of average- to high-performing students. The materials and pedagogy build cognitive and noncognitive skills together. Research included (a) preliminary studies at Edison High School, “little Haiti”, Miami; and (b) a multi-site study of cohorts implemented “from scratch” in five demographically different high schools in Ypsilanti, MI; Mansfield OH; Eldorado, rural Illinois; and Los Angeles. Nearly all students performed BELOW “proficient” in math on the Grade 8 state test.

    Increased, On-Time High School Graduation: In 4 of 5 schools in the multi-site study, Cohort students had 4-year graduation rates (federal formula) above 70% (from 71-80%). In 3 schools, graduation rates were 11-32% higher than the non-project students, matched for race, gender, math proficiency and language status. At the 4th school, rates were similar (~75%). But this Cohort comprised the lowest performing students in a class of 97, so they appear to have “caught up” with their peers. At the 5th school, graduation rates were similar and low: 43% (Algebra Project) versus 41%. But here the Cohort kept changing -- only 7 students were present for 3-4 years. Five graduated, approximating the <70% rates of the other Cohorts.

    Growth in Mathematics Proficiency: (a) Concept of Function: Mathematicians Ed Dubinsky (FIU) and Robin Wilson (CSU/Pomona) studied Algebra Project Cohort students’ development of the function concept at three schools. Cohort students acquired the concept at a level similar to college students (Dubinsky & Wilson, 2013).
    (b) Proficiency on State Tests in Ohio: At Mansfield Senior High School, the Algebra Project and nonAlgebra Project students entered Grade 9 averaging the same math proficiency: in both groups only 17% were < “proficient”. Cohort student’s proficiency rose from 17% in Grade 8 to 82% in Grade 10, and averaged 30.2 points (+ 2) compared with only 19.3 (+ 2) points for all noncohort students, and 20.6 (+ 2) points for a noncohort sample matched on race, gender and Grade 8 top score.

    ***
    The Algebra Project still must increase its effectiveness in preparing students for college mathematics for college credit.
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Atlanta Public Schools, Atlanta, GA;
Augustus Hawkins High School, Los Angeles, CA;
Miami Northwestern High School, Miami, FL;
Mansfield City School District, Mansfield, OH;
Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School, South Bronx, NY;
June Jordan School for Equity, San Francisco, CA

Graduated High School Cohorts from Jackson, MS; Eldorado, IL; Ypsilanti, MI; Los Angeles, CA; and Miami, FL. Piloting of curriculum materials: San Francisco, CA; South Bronx, NY; Berkely, MI; Petersburg, VA; Summerton, SC. Decentralized national network includes partners the Baltimore Algebra Project, Inc.; the Indianapolis Algebra Project, Inc.; the Southern Initiative Algebra Project, Inc.; the Young Peoples' Project, Inc.; One LA-IAF; and including universities U. Mich.; Southern IL U.; The Ohio State U.-Mansfield; U of So.Calif.; Florida Int'l Univ.

External Reviews

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Financials

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THE ALGEBRA PROJECT, INC.
Fiscal year: Oct 01-Sep 30

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

The Algebra Project, Inc.

Leadership

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  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014
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President

Dr. Robert P. Moses

BIO

Robert “Bob" Parris Moses received his BA from Hamilton College (1956), and his MA in Philosophy from Harvard University (1957). Moses was a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement as a field secretary for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1961, Moses initiated SNCC's Mississippi Voter Registration Project, and was appointed its director in 1962. He helped to lead the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) into the Mississippi Summer Project (1964 Freedom Summer), which parachuted the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) to the National Democratic Convention in Atlantic City. He received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1982-87), and subsequently started the Algebra Project, which uses mathematics as an organizing tool for a Quality Education as a Constitutional Right (QECR) for all students. With support of the National Science Foundation (NSF) since 2002, the AP has been working with cohorts of high school students who previously performed in the lowest quartile on standardized exams. This work has led AP to propose a math high school “benchmark" for bottom quartile students: that they graduate high school on time, in four years, ready to do college math for college credit. To this end, the Algebra Project is exploring collaborations around a concept of “Math Cohort High Schools." Moses is co-author of Radical Equations—Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project (Beacon, 2001) and co-editor of Quality Education as a Constitutional Right-creating a grassroots movement to transform public schools (Beacon Press, 2010). In 2011-2012, Moses was the Distinguished Visitor for the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University, and has been a visiting lecturer at NYU School of Law during the fall semesters, 2012, 2013, 2014and 2015. Dr. Moses is Founder and President of the Algebra Project, Inc.


See more at: http://www.facebook.com/TheAlgebraProject and http://www.algebra.org
E-Mail care of ben@algebra.org
Ben Moynihan, Director of Operations
The Algebra Project, Inc.
99 Bishop Richard Allen Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139
Tel. 617-491-0200
Cell 617-901-3231
Fax 617-491-0499

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Khari J Milner

Cornerstone Foundation

Term: Oct 2014 - Sept 2016

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


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BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?