TouchMath: The Magic Elixir

Kennedy Charter Public School in Charlotte, NC, serves a K-12 student population that is high poverty (95%). Many of the students have learning disabilities and the school’s teachers and administrators strive daily to simply keep students at grade level. Despite these challenges, the ultimate goal of the school is ensuring each child earns a high school diploma by implementing innovative and successful teaching strategies and materials.

First grade teacher, Michele Horne, is one of many selfless educators at Kennedy Charter who wants nothing more than for her students to realize their potential. Recently tasked with a class that required scaffolding in mathematics, Michele incorporated TouchMath into her curriculum. Her group of eager learners included ESOL students, resource students, and students who were behind their peers in their math achievement.

“When I first introduced TouchMath, I felt like I had found a magic elixir! It was truly as if a switch had been thrown, and these students became more successful, virtually overnight,” says Michele. “For my ESOL students, it removed the language barrier and taught them a concrete way to remember the procedures required. They had a self-correcting method that did not require the vocabulary that often caused them confusion.”

Her resource students were just as successful. The children finally had a way to bridge their reliance on manipulatives to being able to work independently on paper. For the first time, math began making sense. Math was something these students enjoyed doing. Math was fun.

For one particular student with Asperger Syndrome, TouchMath was more than just a “magic elixir.” It was a way for him to finally understand a subject that for years had been daunting, scary, and abstract. Requiring a very literal process to understand the facts, the concrete, step-by-step breakdown of the worksheets enabled him to rely less on verbal cues. He soon began seeing math as something he could relate to, and perhaps more importantly, his newfound success enabled him to relate to his peers. According to Michele, “TouchMath was exactly what he needed.”

As with most schools, Kennedy Charter has a diverse student population with even more diverse learning needs. Yes, they have their struggles, but are they alone in their struggles? Not by a long shot. Countless schools across the nation face the same obstacles as Kennedy Charter, but it’s the willingness and determination to help EVERY student succeed that makes them special.

“Because TouchMath appeals to students of all abilities and learning styles, the program has been integral in our accomplishments, and in helping us achieve our goals –– It truly changes kids' lives!” concludes Michele.

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