Our Model and Methods

The Importance of Middle School Math

Math ClassRecent research shows that middle school is a critical time for mastering core math skills, especially in algebra. Students who do well in algebra will have the confidence to take advanced math and science courses in high school and continue on to college.

  • California students are struggling to learn math required for college admission.
  • College students who want to major in science or engineering need algebra proficiency.
  • Statistics show that 80 percent of California community college students require remedial math and 50 percent of high school students admitted to California State Universities require remedial math.

The Algebra Academy Model

  1. Summer Immersion Course

    algebra academyThe Algebra Academy brings together college mathematics faculty, middle school students and teachers for intensive immersion in algebra. During a week-long intensive study course, students devote six days of their school vacation to 40 hours of mathematics. Mornings are spent learning core topics and working on problems individually and in small groups. Afternoons are filled with challenging math game activities followed by problem solving sessions, review and individual tutoring by teaching assistants and instructors. Classes include inspiring presentations from young professionals who use math in their jobs. One afternoon all students take a field trip to a local university campus to help them envision their own possibilities after high school. On the final day, families are invited to celebrate graduation with their students.

  2. Math Clubs and Field Trips

    Algebra AcademyOnce the school year begins, students are helped to form Algebra Academy Math Clubs in their home schools. These clubs feature lunchtime or after-school meetings where teachers help students sustain math interest with entertaining games of strategy, and spatial awareness. Tutoring helps students prepare for tests and competitions, and field trips to college campuses build student interest in attending college. Club activities culminate in student-led Math Festivals held in the spring.

    Click here for more information on Math Festivals.

  3. Ongoing Encouragement and Follow-up

    Algebra AcademyWhile in high school, university admissions counselors and Graniterock representatives follow up with Academy graduates to remind and encourage them to stay on track for college and continue to take the challenging mathematics courses that will qualify them for the best universities. These high school students are also encouraged to volunteer to help with current Algebra Academy programs. This gives them a great opportunity for community service and makes them role models for younger students.

Program Goals

  • Improve students’ ability to understand, use and evaluate quantitative information.
  • Prepare students for success in high school mathematics and readiness for college.
  • Support a culture of mathematics excellence among students in partner schools.


Program Methods

  • Give teachers new tools for algebra teaching success.
  • Provide students and parents opportunities to see and meet college faculty and campuses.
  • Increase collaboration between local school districts, business and collegiate partners.
  • Expose students to the professional world and potential career opportunities.
  • Implement fun, active, problem based and cooperative learning methods.
  • Mentor Math Clubs in partner schools.