MAC-Ro, short for “Math Achievement Club by Rodel” was developed to confront a growing body of alarming research showing that:
- Students who lack high-quality math instruction in the early years are often caught in a trajectory of failure.
- Children in poverty need math interventions the most – – there is as much as a three-year difference in math skills for students in low-income vs. high-income communities.
- Early knowledge of math not only predicts later success in math but also predicts reading achievement and overall academic success even better than early reading skills.
While leading the Alhambra Elementary School District, Dr. Carol Peck moved to address these grim facts with a program focused on narrowing the achievement gap for math students in grades 2-5. The primary components of that program became MAC-Ro, which began as a pilot program in ten high-poverty schools and eventually expanded to serve over 65,000 students in low-income districts all over the state. The goal was to enhance learning, but the approach was to make it fun.
MAC-Ro was made available to schools without cost because of generous underwriting by numerous community partners. Corporations, foundations and individuals who shared Rodel’s commitment to improving elementary school math competency invested financial resources and made in-kind contributions. Students were thrilled when mascots showed up at school to reinforce the idea that math can be fun. MAC-Ro teachers and their families were treated to sporting events where they were recognized on the field and applauded by the fans. Emphasizing the important and often underappreciated work educators do was an underlying theme behind MAC-Ro and all Rodel initiatives.