This week we’re celebrating a College Hero for going back to school!
Leah Bloomberg lives in Phoenix AZ, and has a BA in Rhetoric. She recently decided to return to school to become a nurse. “I can’t even tell you how scared I was to be in a general chemistry course with recent high school graduates who are (I feared) smarter than I. I was worried I would be lost from the very first day of class. Special thanks to Sal and his chemistry/periodic table videos. He was such a big help. It’s like he was my own private tutor.” Leah is planning to apply to master’s of nursing bridge programs in October. Good luck, Leah!
We’re celebrating another college hero this week! Charlie Marsh hit a couple of big snags in high school but managed to get through and go to one of the best universities in the U.S.! Check out Charlie’s inspirational story of using KA to study to go to college. Tell us your inspirational story here.
Some of you may know Maureen Suhendra, a member of Khan Academy’s small but mighty Education Partnerships team. This week, Maureen wrote an op-ed published in The New York Times. Check it out to see how online tools like Khan Academy allow students’ learning to continue outside school. Congrats, Maureen!
We’re celebrating Mark Halberstadt as one of our college heroes! We know that getting through college isn’t always easy, so we’re sharing and celebrating this inspiring story.
In high school, Mark thought he was bad at math, and now he’s on his 2nd bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering with an A average! Check out this KA style video he made describing how KA helped him prepare for his Engineering curriculum and build confidence to go back to school. Go Mark! And feel free to share your inspiring stories with KA about your college experience.
On January 27, Irish technology entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan launched the 2014 MATHletes Challenge, a contest that will introduce students across Ireland to Khan Academy. They’ll compete for more than €20,000 in prizes as they learn math on our site. The competition began on February 1 and lasts just over three months. We’re thrilled to be part of this one-of-a-kind opportunity!
As announced on Siliconrepublic.com, “MATHletes Challenge 2014, which O’Sullivan is launching today with the Minister for Training and Skills Ciaran Cannon, aims to help students develop the confidence and competence to excel in maths by introducing Irish students and teachers to the Khan Academy. … In the MATHletes challenge, students will compete in county and provincial finals, with top scorers advancing to the national finals, which are scheduled to take place in early May. Students will also be able to connect with other contestants by attending free Saturday Khan Clubs which will be held in the National Educations Centres across the country.”
For more information, visit the MATHletes Challenge launch site. Also check out this video to see how Irish teachers and students are using Khan Academy.
Some of you may know Suney Park, a 6th grade teacher at Eastside Prep in East Palo Alto, CA and a Teaching Fellow at KA. We are so thrilled to announce that she has been awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.
Congrats, Suney! We’re honored to work alongside you on the Khan Academy team.
On Saturday, January 25, 460 students, parents, teachers and partner school principals gathered in the Center for Reading and Cultural Activities (CLAC, in french) in Yaoundé for the launch of a KA Lite pilot trial.
5th grade students from 7 schools in Yaoundé were chosen to use the program, which will run over the next 10 weeks. The main objective of this initial event was to raise awareness among parents about the Khan Academy’s potential for their children and the benefits of the offline version of Khan Academy, KA Lite, which is developed and maintained by Foundation for Learning Equality, an independent organization.
There is a big issue in the education system today. Two out of every three students are not prepared for college level math courses and over half of all 4-year college students do not graduate within 6 years. These students often take on a lot of debt and can’t finish their degrees. Worst of all, they then miss out on today’s most exciting careers because they lack the skills.
“2 out every 3 students are not prepared for college level math courses”
Given our mission to provide a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere, we’ve been hard at work to increase our college prep content. So, when the White House called (wait, did you say the White House?!) to invite Khan Academy to help students in Higher Ed reach their potential, how could we say no? We had already been creating new math and college prep materials, and saw the opportunity to make an even bigger impact.
Today, Sal was honored to discuss our higher education efforts at the White House and Khan Academy launched a new college prep initiative.We plan to expand this resource over the next few months, and especially look forward to providing college study aids to help students prepare for math placement tests and courses.
“Already, Khan Academy’s free math resources are helping college hopefuls…today, Khan Academy launched a new college prep initiative.”
Already, Khan Academy’s free resources are helping college hopefuls. Our team was particularly inspired by this young man, whose story was captured on the Humans of New York blog.
"I was born in Egypt…The first time I went to an actual school was middle school, but the whole school was in one classroom, and I was working as a delivery boy to help the family. It was illegal for me to be working that young, but I did. When I finally got into high school, my house burned down. We moved into a Red Cross Shelter, and the only way we could live there is if we all worked as volunteers. I got through high school by watching every single video on Khan Academy, and teaching myself everything that I had missed during the last nine years. Eventually I got into Queens College. I went there for two years and I just now transferred to Columbia on a scholarship."
We would find our efforts well worth it just to impact one student’s life. But what’s incredibly motivating for our team is that we hear of stories like his every single day.
We are humbled to be partnering with the White House on such an important initiative, and are excited about the potential these free resources will unleash.
At the start of the year, Chris Vaios started an evening program with a group of NYC public high school students, who also happen to be stellar athletes. Recently, he shared an update with our team, and gave us permission to share with you!
The students who attend the Armory Foundation’s programs are *exceptional* athletes - and they are dedicated and hard-working. However, this past Fall, they discovered that their SAT scores were suffering (averaging 350 out of 800). So, Chris proposed they team up two nights per week: Chris + Khan Academy + Armory Track students. So far, that equation seems to be working. Chris shares that he’s already starting to see improvement - with the current average up almost 50% to 524. The students are continuing to invest time and effort to get to their goal of 650-700. Not only that, it’s apparently a popular class, with the group growing from 42 to 54 students! Chris says that already “it has been a rewarding experience to say the least.”
We wish these students all the best on getting to their goal! Keep up the hard work.
The Armory Foundation is a nonprofit in New York City that oversees an indoor track and field center, as well as the US National Track and Field Hall of Fame, They operate a school activities center, providing college prep and academic counseling services to NYC public high school students from multiple districts, and offer a variety of community support programs.
“Whoa.” Several visitors simultaneously whispered the same assessment upon entering Burnett Elementary’s Room 303 in Milpitas, CA.
The teacher, Ms. Alison Elizondo, greeted our tour group. Behind her, 33 4th graders were sprawled in groups across the room. Two huddled around a Chromebook listening to a third explain some point of a paused Khan Academy video. Another pair used an iPad to record their own math lesson. Half a dozen typed away independently, writing, as we soon learned, narratives of how to solve sample word problems they themselves had developed. A large bulletin board displayed each student’s personal math objectives for the year. Elizondo herself was coaching one single student when we entered, with her back to the class. She prefers sitting that way to show trust.
As we milled about the room, visitors began exchanging furtive glances like prospectors discovering the Mother Lode. A purposeful buzz permeated the tech-heavy class as 8- and 9-years olds taught each other the finer points of arithmetic.
Burnett Elementary is a Title I public school with 50% immigrant population in the Milpitas school district, whose bottom-up approach to going blended we profiled earlier this week. That approach, which gives teachers a big say in what tech to use and how, seems to be yielding positive results in Room 303. Eighty percent of Elizondo’s students were proficient by the end of last year, and the 4th grade as a whole had the highest math proficiency rates in the school.
The district let Elizondo take the lead on creating her blended rotational model, even allowing her to dictate hardware requirements. She ended up with a rather fine-tuned setup: 18 Chromebooks and 2 iPads, with access to Khan Academy and EduCreations. Elizondo developed the model with a single goal in mind: free the teacher up for more one-on-one coaching time. Along the way, she’s training her students to teach themselves, focusing on skills like goal-setting, progress tracking and checking for mastery…