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Summer Institute

Mission & Purpose

The mission of the José Valdes Math Institute is to provide comprehensive math education to middle school and high school students, particularly the math under-represented within our community to achieve academic success through basic skills, grade level and advanced courses.


The Program

Since its initial concept in 1988, the José Valdés Math Institute has met its challenge to improve the mathematics education landscape in the East San Jose community and other Silicon Valley communities with high levels of under-represented students. The ultimate goal of the Institute is for our students to successfully pass Calculus before graduation from high school.

Our first step is to prepare them for success in Algebra before entering high school.  We accomplish this by having students in grades 5 through 8 attend summer sessions for seven hours a day, four days a week, for seven weeks during the summer.  Approximately two hours of homework are assigned each day which not only reinforces skills, but also builds the habit of continuing work outside the regular school day.

We also attempt to place as many students as possible on college campuses to encourage them to see college as a real option rather than an unattainable dream.  Each Valdés classroom has a teacher and two skilled program assistants to provide as much individual support as possible.

Why we're different (and why we're the best!)

  • Our program is 180 hours in length.  It is the equivalent of 1 full school year versus other programs that are typically in session for fewer than 80 hours.  
  • With the extra time, Valdés Teachers are afforded the opportunity to provide an in-depth learning experience rather than just skimming the surface of a variety of topics.
  • Classes are held on college campuses to increase familiarity and remove the fear that college is unattainable or out of reach.

Program Description: What it Looks Like from Different Perspectives

The Student

  • 7 hours a day, 4 days per week, 7 weeks of study
  • Full Common Core implementation
  • Preparation for future math courses as well as opportunities for enhancing study and other academic skills

The Teacher

  • Opportunities to "go deep" with concepts, incorporate personalized, and project-based learning
  • Professional development
  • Strong team/small learning community environment
  • Program Assistants provide an additional support person in the classroom to provide one-on-one and small group instruction.

The School District

  • Bringing students to grade level (and higher) at the time they need it reduces the need for costly school-year remediation and support programs
  • In addition to improved math skills, students completing the Valdés Institute are successful in other academic areas due to increased academic confidence and study habits
  • Improved test scores by which schools and districts are often judged

The Program Donor

  • We run lean and efficient. At least 85% of funding goes directly toward students in the classroom rather than to program administration and oversight

Want to support our programs?  Click here to find out how you can.