St. Patrick Catholic School students making strides in math with help of Kumon program

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The United States ranks 27th in the world on math skills and an East Texas school says their students are on par with number one ranking, Singapore, because of a program called Kumon.

Only 12 schools in the country have it as a part of their curriculum.

Reading, writing and arithmetic. That's the focus for these Lufkin students and when it comes to math St. Patrick Catholic sSchool educators say their students have access to program that helps them rise to the top.

Principal, Jim Menz says, "Kumon really gives our students an edge. When our students leave this school they have been in Kumon for Pre-k through 8th and they know all their math facts."

The program has been a part of the curriculum for 10 years and reinforces their regular math class. All students spend the first 30 minutes of school doing their Kumon.

66th grader Jackson Tate says Kumon is actually really fun.

"It's the Kumon in the morning. It's to get us ready for school when we get math it gets our brain started and it helps you get from lower levels to higher levels. You work at your own pace. It really helps me in the morning,"said Tate.

The concept is simple: students move through 17 levels of Kumon packets. There are 20 packets in each level and each individual moves at their own pace.

Tate says, "You get a little packet every morning and you work on it and when you're done it goes to the office and someone up there will grade it and send it back to you and it'll say passed or redo and if it's redo you do it over again until you get it right and if its pass you go on to another one and it goes from A to B to C and all the way  up the alphabet so it's really fun."

7th grader Victoria Bowden says the packets tell you what you need help with.

"Sometimes there'll be Kumon questions that we already did but then when we get to math I was like oh, I already know this," said Bowden.

The program teaches students not to count on their fingers, instead it builds their ability to really know and recall math facts.

There are many Kumon learning centers in Dallas and Houston where kids can go two or three times a week outside of school but principal Menz says their students are fortunate to be able to get Kumon every day.

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