Skip to main content


See what our people are saying about Valdés...

“Mathematics for seven hours a day, four days a week, for seven weeks with middle school students? When I describe Valdés to people, they can’t believe it. Believe it. The José Valdés Math Institute is among my top experiences as a teacher of mathematics and the results students achieve are amazing.”

— Stephen McMahon, SFO, SJUSD, Former Teacher and Program Assistant


“The José Valdés Math Institute has served as a great resource in my academic career. I attended the José Valdés Math Institute in the summers of 2005 & 2006. This program gave me the opportunity to truly grasp certain mathematical concepts, while also pushing me to learn higher level mathematical concepts and excel in those areas. I was able to apply all of the skills I learned those two summers into all of my academic pursuits. In completing this program I learned how to be organized, disciplined, and to plan ahead. In high school, I was able to earn A’s in both AP Calculus (AB) and AP Calculus (BC). I believe the ease in which I transitioned into higher level math courses was a true testament to the positive influence of the José Valdés Math Institute.”

— Gabriella Herrera, Neurobiology Major, Harvard University, Class of 2015, Former Student


“I was a student for 2 summers and a Program Assistant for 6 consecutive summers. Valdés fostered my ability to love math, and kept me on track with my achievements in completing the math series in high school. I truly believed that it was due to my unique and impressive accomplishments in math that led to my acceptance to schools such as UC Berkeley and UCLA. Because of Valdes, I finished Calculus BC, the highest math course offered at Piedmont Hills High School, and passed the Advance Placement Examination with a 4 out of 5. This allowed me to receive college credit. Not only was I able to opt out on taking two required math classes for my major at UCLA, but I was able to save money! Thank you, José Valdés Math Institute!”

— Janice Yip, Former Student and Program Assistant


“I have been very fortunate to be a part of the Valdés Institute for several years now, starting from the summer of 2001. I took a three-year break after I gave birth to my daughter but came back to teach last summer of 2009. Over the years, Valdés has been true to its goals and mission in trying to close the achievement gap in Mathematics. As a math teacher, I am very confident that every year, the group of students who were being served by the Valdés Institute would come out of the program with a much better understanding of mathematics and its applications. As a mother, it is a program that I would send my own daughter to. I have seen and worked with remarkably professional and experienced teachers, office staff, and principals, and I am sure that with them, my daughter will be in good hands. I hope that the Valdés Math Institute will continue to prosper and serve our students in the coming years.”

— Rebecca Macasaet, Former Teacher


“In the past 20 years I have seen nothing but excellence evolve from students who have attended the José Valdés Math Institute. My sixth and seventh grade students have gone on to many colleges and universities after attending the Institute. My two children, Kira and Tyson, both found math success after attending the program. Kira is currently a Teacher/Administrator at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. Tyson is an Algebra teacher at the San Francisco county jail.”

— Gene Powell, Teacher, Sylvandale Middle School, Former Teacher and Parent


“From the perspective of a long time Valdés teacher, and an early student of the Valdés Institute, I know that students graduate from our program mastering that level of math enabling them to have success in the regular school year. Spending 7 hours a day on one subject surrounded by qualified staff with many years of experience, attending tutoring on Saturdays, and being on a college campus is a life transforming chapter in the book of our young people.”

— Franklin Collazo, Former Student, Parent and Teacher


“Looking at where I am in life and career, I honestly believe that Valdés has been a huge contributor to my accomplishments. I took trigonometry with Valdés the summer of my incoming sophomore year of high school. If Valdés did not exist, I would have not been able to finish Calculus BC while still being in high school. Aside from the classes that were offered over the summer, I also had help during the school year as well in the form of weekly tutor sessions held by the Valdés Institute...which again, honestly, was one of the best things any kid could ask for. I studied math and econ in college and am currently working for one of the biggest investment companies in the US. I think Valdés is just a fantastic program to support. I don’t know where my life would be if it weren’t for this program.”

— K. Ngo, Former Student


“The country needs more programs like the José Valdés Math Institute. The José Valdés Math Institute has provided a great opportunity for kids of all ages and ethnicities to succeed and advance in math. It has also provided an outlet for kids to make new friends and be productive over the extended summer breaks. As a kid, I attended Valdes twice. During that time I met friends and had great experiences I will never forget. Thank you for the memories!”

— Prosper Lu, Former Student


“Math had consistently been a subject I struggled with in school. Attending the José Valdés Summer Math Institute for two consecutive years made me more confident in my math abilities and also gave me a definite sense of discipline. The intensive program prepared me for the Geometry Pre- AP, Algebra II Pre-AP, and Honors Pre-Calculus courses I completed in high school. Having greater confidence in my math abilities and having learned unique “tricks” and strategies from the Institute helped me focus more time in other subjects (not just math). I am a student who does not usually admit to enjoying math but I can say in all honesty the José Valdés Summer Math Institute taught me to discipline myself and persevere through challenges in life that seem difficult. I am glad I attended the institute and strongly recommend that someone struggling with math or someone who loves math join this program.”

— Carlos Ocampo, Film & Digital Media Major, UC Santa Cruz, Class of 2015, Former Student


“I have personally witnessed the transformative work done at the José Valdés Math Institute for youth seeking to improve their math and study skills. This is a program that works. With the right financial support, the Institute will continue to soar and give youth a real chance at success.”

— Dave Cortese, District 3 Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Representative


“The Valdés Math Institute is a family commitment to achievement as evidenced by the thousands of students I saw succeed. My daughter, son, and I participated as student, program assistants, teachers, and/or director. The philosophy and methodologies have been valuable for my Peace Corps teacher training projects in Honduras and the Dominican Republic. This unique program must continue until equity is achieved.”

— Janet Espinosa, Former Parent and Institute Director


“This program has helped a lot of minority students, as indicated by the numerous parents, students, and volunteers who showed up to take the walk.”

— Lan Nguyen, Vice President, ESUHSD Board Member