Support Math for Trauma #ACEmath

Trauma makes it difficult for kids to learn.  But #ACEmath not only helps effectively teach math, but it also addresses the negative effects of trauma.

What is ACE?
                ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences and 45% of American children experience at least one ACE within their lifetime.  At three -- you’re at a categorically higher risk for negative outcomes such as obesity, heart disease, depression, unemployment, lower educational attainment, and poverty. However, children from diverse, low-income communities experience ACEs more often than children in suburban neighborhoods.

Who do we serve?
                We currently serve high school students of color in South Central Los Angeles. (Though we hope to expand soon!)
John’s Business, Entrepreneurship and Mathematics Class

How does ACE Mathematics help?
                By incorporating breathing and other various coping skills directly into our math curriculum, we are addressing the negative effects of ACE and trauma while teaching our kids math. Ultimately, through ACE Math, we aim to make our students better (mentally, physically, and emotionally) both in and outside of class.

What does ACE Mathematics do?
                We teach mathematics through a trauma-informed approach to best serve the contemporary needs of our student. #ACEmath is being piloted in four different classes with varying math levels. A total of over 85 students. Our approach incorporates mindfulness, self awareness, and grounding breathing techniques to provide students with tools to cope with trauma in their lives. To provide better mathematics instruction, we apply critical thinking techniques with relevant examples to improve student engagement and interest. Below is one of many 1 minute breathing videos demonstrating various breathing techniques. These videos are used every day to start each class.

Where is Synergy Quantum Academy and what does it do?
                Located in South Los Angeles, Synergy Quantum Academy is a public charter school with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and math.
John's SAT Prep Class

Who are you guys?
                We are a team of educators and designers focused on improving the delivery of education.  John is a math teacher. Christine is a counselor. Willie is a medical device engineer and certified yoga instructor.  We care because we share similar childhood experiences as these students. We believe education must evolve to stay relevant.  We begin with mathematics because we see the most opportunity for improvement. The urban student population is important to us because we want to close the achievement gap.

What have you guys done so far, and what are your next steps?
                We rolled out a handful of pilot lesson plans and physical exercises in our first year with some success on each individual lesson.  Since the conclusion of the 2017 school year, we built out lessons and exercises for a full year’s worth of instruction for trial in the 2018 school year.  
John’s Math 180 Class

What would you do with my donation?
                We have been bootstrapping our curriculum development from our savings since the summer of 2017.  In the last year, we have put emphasis on creating a prototype curriculum that can complement existing math instructional tools.  We have learned a lot from small pilot studies of lesson plans and exercises. Our spending will be focused on the development and distribution of our lesson plans and resources for educators, and furthermore we want to conduct formal research studies on our method to demonstrate its efficacy and apply relevant best practices we learn along the way.

                To create the most relevant content for our primarily Latinx student population, we have identified the need for translational services of the content we are creating in English to Spanish and potentially other languages.  Additionally, part of our mission in the long term is to set up a web portal for other educators to distribute the resources that we are developing. Finally, we would like to produce higher quality videos and instructional material with the help of professional videographers and designers.

                To help ensure we are at the forefront of educational development, we have already initiated data collection to measure the efficacy of our programs both qualitatively and quantitatively.  Your generous donations would help us formalize our data collection into published studies that can both validate our methods and share best practices with other educators. We hope to travel to educational conferences to learn from others and share our methods with others.  Lastly, we want to invest in state of the art devices that are commonly used in therapeutic practice such as heart rate monitors and alpha brainwave EEG monitors. These devices will allow us to further advance our trauma-informed lessons and exercises by quantifying otherwise qualitative end points.  Since ACE Mathematics is still in the startup phase, all donations will be withdrawn and managed by John.   

Contact Information
John Tsai:  [email redacted]
Willie Du: [email redacted] 
Christine Lee: [email redacted]

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John Tsai 
Torrance, CA

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