Melissa Magyar, First/Second Grade Teacher, Eldridge School, Hayward, CA

Dear RightStart Math,

I am forwarding a thank you letter I wrote to the Hayward Education Foundation for a $2000.00 grant that was awarded to my school last year. We spent that money to expand the Right Start Math Program from my second grade class to two first grade classes and two kindergarten classes. The two first grade classes are now enthusiastically integrating Right Start Math with our District provided Houghton Mifflin Math.
More teachers are showing interest in using your program because of the extraordinary success my students have had. While looping with my class from kindergarten to second grade, I used abacuses and your first and second grade materials. At the end of second grade, my students took the California STAR test. 90% of the class were proficient or advanced. Of the two remaining students, one, who has had severe math difficulties since kindergarten, score basic. The other student, who had been in the United States for five months, scored below basic. I am extremely pleased with all of these scores and believe that your program is responsible.
I want to thank Joan Cotter for presenting her program at Asilimar in Pacific Grove many years ago. It was there that I first met Mrs. Cotter and my teaching will never be the same. I am trying my best to inspire other teachers to join me in using your fantastic program.
Thank you so much for developing and sharing this program with me.

(Letter that was attached)

Thank you so much for your generous donation of nearly $2,000.00 to the teachers of Eldridge School. This money was spent to enlarge the Right Start Math program in our primary grades and we have seen wonderful results with both students and staff. While the program of visualizing math with the use of abacuses is not being used in Kindergarten as planned, it has been adopted and adapted for use in all four First Grade classes along with my Second Grade Class. We have many more teachers who are interested in our techniques but are unable to utilize the program due to a lack of abacuses and manuals for each class. Some are currently sharing supplies between classes each day. I view this not as a negative factor but as a compliment to the effectiveness of this truly teacher and student friendly program.
As you know, the hardworking teachers of Hayward often go without the supplies necessary to achieve academic success in this time of rigorous standards and tightening budgets. The children who make up the most vulnerable portion of our society are left with increasingly crowded and transient classrooms stocked with the basic supplies the state deems necessary but which, on average, have created a proficient and advanced success rate of 59% in second grade STAR Math results for the state and 50% for Hayward Unified. After following the Right Start Math Program for two years, my class of 20 students had 18 students score proficient or advanced. This was a 90% passing rate. While I believe myself to be a hardworking teacher, I am in no way talented enough to claim these successes as a result of my personal teaching style. These results can be attributed directly to an incredible program and effective manipulatives that any teacher and class can replicate given the funds to purchase these reusable materials.
With the generous support of the Hayward Education Foundation, we, at Eldridge, have been able to help many children not only to meet essential daily needs in math, but to truly understand basic math concepts that we hope will lead to a more successful future.
Thank you again, and we look forward to your continued support.

Melissa Magyar, First/Second Grade Teacher, Eldridge School, Hayward, CA