Aldine ISD’s students have blown Algebra 1 STAAR scores out of the water, but their teachers see them for more than their testing success.
"100% STAAR Pass Rate in Aldine ISD Algebra 1 Pilot Program."
That impressive headline starts our 2023 Aldine Independent School District case study.
And while we’re honored that our Texas Math Solution was part of these Algebra 1 students’ success, the true heart of the story is the passionate educators who made it happen.
How did Jennifer Everson and Samuel Ramirez lead a group of underdog kids–who were chosen for the pilot program based on their low STAAR scores–to a perfect pass rate? Keep reading to find out.
Texas teacher Jennifer Everson teaches students, not just Algebra
Jennifer Everson, a fourth-year Algebra I teacher at Aldine ISD Ninth Grade School, has traveled a non-traditional path to education. But after a lengthy career in engineering, Ms. Everson knows she’s landed right where she’s supposed to be: with the students of Aldine ISD.
“Teaching has grounded me,” she says. “It’s my peace. There’s no more empty feeling.”
Her students are happy to have her in the classroom, too.
“Ms. Everson has a really fun vibe,” says Katherine, one of Ms. Everson’s students. “We had a good time, but she expected us to work hard. I never liked math, but I grew so much in her class. Now I know I can do it.”
It’s easy to see why Katherine’s words ring true. Ms. Everson brings a palpable, artistic energy to every room she enters and channels that into long-lasting and meaningful connections with her students.
“My big thing is relationships,” she shares. “If you treat them like human beings and show them you are one, then that’s it. That’s all it takes. It’s when you feel like a stranger, and you’re being taught by someone you don’t think cares about you—that’s when there’s no heart in anything.”
Ms. Everson believes in her students deeply, telling them, “You’re going somewhere in this life. Whether it’s around the block or around the world is up to you.” In turn, her students believe in themselves—as evidenced by their winter 2022 STAAR Algebra 1 results.
“The kids blew our expectations out of the water!” enthuses Ms. Everson. “They ALL passed the Algebra 1 STAAR in December. One hundred percent of the students in the first-semester pilot group passed the Algebra 1 STAAR on their first try.”
It’s obvious that Ms. Everson couldn’t be more proud, but the STAAR scores are just the icing on the cake for her. She values the relationships she has with her students the most.
“I became invested in them, and they became invested in me,” Ms. Everson shares with a big grin. “I get in trouble if I don’t go to a quinceañera I’m invited to, all of that stuff. I love it.”
Texas educator Samuel Ramirez sees beyond test scores
If Jennifer Everson is the energetic tour de force behind Aldine Ninth’s pilot program success, Samuel Ramirez is the rock-solid foundation it’s built on.
Mr. Ramirez, now in his second year as a math instructional specialist, started his career as a high school math teacher at Aldine Ninth. He faced an uphill battle when Texas schools returned to post-pandemic, in-person instruction. With multiple vacancies and the new Texas Math Solution to implement, Ramirez went above and beyond to ensure every Aldine Ninth student got the Algebra 1 education they deserved.
At one point, Mr. Ramirez was teaching Algebra 1 to a packed cafeteria of 9th grade students. He also recorded himself teaching every lesson from the Algebra 1 Texas Math Solution, so any student and teacher could access the lessons anytime.
Talk about dedication!
Mr. Ramirez put in immense time and effort, but the rewards have paid off in spades. Now, as an instructional specialist, he has the experience and knowledge of the Texas Math Solution to support his teachers.
“Our math department meetings are amazing!” says Ms. Everson. “We share lessons, rehearse them with each other, team teach, and Mr. Ramirez always knows where students will need extra help. Or where they’ll shine.”
On top of acting as the bedrock of Aldine Ninth’s Algebra 1 team, Mr. Ramirez is always there to provide an optimistic outlook for his students. He’s far from the typical administrator who rarely sees children. When I was walking with him in the halls, it became obvious that Mr. Ramirez knows all of their names and that they know him, too.
Mr. Ramirez has big dreams for his students, well beyond STAAR. “I’m not even thinking about STAAR! Let’s get them ready for college. Let’s get them ready for the future. Let’s see if we can make more engineers, more data analysts, more computer programmers. They can go further than the STAAR.”
And what’s Mr. Ramirez’s biggest hope for his students? He wants them to see the potential within themselves.
“I want them to think, ‘I’m going to be able to do things I didn’t even know I was capable of,'" he shares.
Learn more about Aldine ISD’s accomplishments
The accomplishments of Aldine ISD’s students and educators don’t stop with the Algebra 1 STAAR success of Ms. Everson and Mr. Ramirez’s students. Aldine ISD’s middle school programs have also seen significant success with the Texas Math Solution.
Be sure to check out our in-depth case study for a look into how Aldine ISD has leveraged the Texas Math Solution to let every student in their district uncover their inner math person.
Before joining Carnegie Learning's marketing team in 2022, Karen spent 16 years teaching mathematics and social studies in Ohio classrooms. She has a passion for inclusive education and believes that all learners can be meaningfully included in academic settings from day one. As a former math and special education teacher, she is excited to provide educators with the latest in best-practices content so that they can set all students on the path to becoming confident "math people."Explore more related to this author
I want [my students] to think, 'I'm going to be able to do things I didn't even know I was capable of.'
Samuel Ramirez, Math Instructional Specialist, Aldine Ninth Grade School, Aldine, TX