Jaime Escalante Math Program Propels Student Success

Nearly 400 rising ninth and 10th-grade GEAR UP 4 LA students participated in a challenging five-week summer math enrichment program that allowed them to get ahead on math classes and prepare for taking college-level math courses while in high school.

Of those who participated in the Jaime Escalante Math (JEM) enrichment program, 290 students – or about 74% – successfully passed the course with an A or B and advanced to the next level of math for the 2021-22 school year.

The accelerated program – which was conducted virtually from June 22 to July 26 – compresses a math class that is normally taught over an entire school year into five weeks.

“We have so many go-getter GEAR UP kids who have been through a pandemic and have been online so long,” said Site Coordinator Danny Tran, who also taught a Geometry class. “Yet, they still have the grit to hang on for five more weeks to get ahead. That’s how much they believe in us, our program, and themselves. I’m so proud of them for their achievements.”

“We have so many go-getter GEAR UP kids, who have been through a pandemic and have been online so long. Yet, they still have the grit to hang on for five more weeks to get ahead. That’s how much they believe in us, our program and themselves. I’m so proud of them for their achievements.”

Danny Tran, GU4LA Site Coordinator

JEM included 13 classes covering Geometry, Algebra 1 and Algebra 2, as well as a math boot camp to prepare students for their next math course.

“I’m a slow learner, but some tutors are super helpful and make it easier for me to understand,” said Emely Curiel, a 10th-grader at Huntington Park High School. “There are some days where JEM is really overwhelming, but I keep going. Knowing I can do this, I’m confident I can take on the next math level.”

Classes were taught by math teachers with support from GU4LA staff and college student tutors. Students also had access to Tutor.com, a 24/7 online tutoring service that covers a variety of subjects and is free to GU4LA students through their first year of college.

“Math is one of the subjects that frustrates me the most, but Tutor.com makes it so simple,” said Santee High School sophomore Linda Olivarez-Hernandez, who spent over 500 minutes on Tutor.com. “I know a lot of students have trouble asking for help and this is an amazing resource.”

Over the summer, students engaged in nearly 660 hours of Tutor.com service. Many, like RFK Community Schools 10th-grader Abisola Afun, were first-time users.

“I would tell students that JEM might seem difficult at first, but it gets easier,” said Abisola, who logged over 1,330 minutes on Tutor.com. “They should use Tutor.com to help. They make math more understandable and make it look so easy.”

In partnership with East Los Angeles College, GEAR UP offers JEM exclusively to GU4LA students.

“These kids are often overlooked – those who can excel and would benefit from the enrichment,” Tran said. “This program meets them where they are and helps them be competitive. We know they will succeed in the long run.”