Sisters of Mercy funding expands math education for Middle School youth

Seventh grade math instruction at Erwin, Enka and Owen Middle Schools is going high-tech this spring, thanks to a $75,000 Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation grant awarded to Buncombe County Schools.

Grant funds have enabled the district Mathematics Department to enter into a two-year partnership with Texas Instruments for the implementation of a technologically based mathematics approach called TI Math Forward. Under TI Math Forward, 7th grade students in six math classes will utilize TI Inspire calculators to create and solve equations, word problems, and graphs. The calculators, which are connected to a navigator system, send student answers immediately to the teacher’s computer. The data are then used by teachers to adapt instruction to student needs.

TI Math Forward is a research-based program that has significantly improved student math proficiency among high poverty youth in other school systems. In one case study, the percentage of students proficient in math jumped from 63% as 7th graders to 80% in 8th grade. The use of hand-held tech resources allows the students and teacher to more effectively show and identify areas of weakness and provide immediate interventions, thereby removing the stigma that many youth feel when they are too embarrassed to admit that they cannot understand mathematics concepts.

Buncombe County Schools is excited to partner with Texas Instruments and the Sisters of Mercy of NC Foundation to provide a new wave of improved mathematics learning for youth in three high-poverty district middle schools. For more information contact Dr. Margaret Small, Buncombe County Schools Math Specialist (


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