The origins of Swun Math

We believe in finding inspiration in overcoming deep, personal challenges.

Our founder, Si Swun, is like so many others, an immigrant to this country.  As a student, he often struggled to learn math, thanks to the difficult subject matter and a limited understanding of English. It was a tumultuous experience at the time, but would later prove pivotal in shaping both his outlook on teaching and empathy for the struggles of students (especially those who are English language learners).  

Inspired by his struggles, Si became a fifth-grade math teacher at Long Beach Unified School District. There, he drew on his experiences to create his own, comprehensive math curriculum. His efforts proved to be wildly successful, so much so that it caught the attention of district leaders. They presented Si with a unique challenge: take a year to develop and implement his own math program in low-performing schools in the district.

At Edison Elementary, one of the participating schools, the numbers increased dramatically: in 2004, before the advent of the program, only 23% of fifth grade students were rated “proficient.”  Three years later, 77% of students scored proficient on the statewide STAR test; by 2009, that number had jumped to 78%.

Si saw the potential of his innovative curriculum, and left to start Swun Math. [LinkedIn]

Why Swun Math? 

Data-driven, tailored curriculums

We offer highly differentiated, tailored, comprehensive curriculums. We carefully analyze and extrapolate from existing student data to identify weaknesses, needs, and the best approach to address these issues.  All of our materials incorporate multiple levels of instruction for learners of all skill levels, taking into account not only mathematical ability, but also reasoning skills, English comprehension, and even ethnicity. For us, diversity is not just a buzzword, but a key tenet of our everyday practices, a strength to be understood and built on.

Aligned, scaffolded, and tested

We incorporate all the latest in best practices and research, from Gradual Release of Responsibility to Zone of Proximal Development.  Our lesson materials are all scaffolded for proper learner development, calibrated for the perfect balance between teacher guidance and student autonomy, and aligned to the Common Core standards.  Our instructional strategies have been carefully tested across a variety of classrooms and educational settings.

Strong basics and interdisciplinary learning

At Swun Math, we believe in a strong understanding of basic math concepts, upon which students will build.  Unlike other textbooks and educational tools, we take an immersive approach, teaching specific content areas and basic skills, before moving on to more complicated concepts.

But math does not exist in a vacuum.  Through our collaborative, interdisciplinary approach, we foster the development of reasoning, language, and writing skills, which are crucial in both college and the workplace.  

A proven track record of success: Lennox Elementary School District

From Fall 2008 to Spring 2012, Swun Math partnered with the five Title 1 elementary schools in Lennox School District, located near Los Angeles International Airport–with stunning results.  After four years, students in grades 3-5 grew by a minimum of forty percent: in grade 5, for instance, only 36% of students were proficient during the 2006-2007 school year, compared with 76% of students in 2011-2012.

Further, the percentage of students rated Below Basic/Far Below Basic also plunged drastically.  For instance, 37% of 5th grade students were rated Below Basic/Far Below Basic in the 2006-2007 school year, compared with only 4% in 2011-2012.  This figure stands in sharp contrast to the Below Basic/Far Below Basic rate for the rest of California’s Title 1 students, which is 21%.

What’s in it for principals?

An all-in-one math program

Our programs are all-inclusive: not only do we provide comprehensive lesson materials including scope and sequences, pacing guides, and complete plans, we also provide regular coaching, on-site professional development, and feedback. You will have experienced, veteran teachers and administrators by your side, all of whom have extensive, successful experience in applying the Swun Math curriculum and methodology.  

In the initial stages of our partnership, our specialists will figure out the best ways to support your teachers, observing lessons, assessing test and benchmark data, and tailoring a detailed, meticulous approach to success.  We will take into account every aspect of student background and ability, from language fluency to ethnicity.  We are very strategic about our changes and revisions to any existing curriculums, and will provide an open, honest accounting of the editing process.

Collaboration as learning

At Swun Math, we believe in cooperating amongst ourselves, rather than struggling against each other.  This applies to both teachers as well as students, who are encouraged to talk through problems, consult each other on solutions and ideas, and learn (and grow) together.  By fostering an inclusive, group-centered approach that emphasizes strong basics and coordination, learning math becomes dynamic, collective, and interesting process.

Closing the achievement gap

From personal experience, we know how difficult it is to teach math in an effective way, to students with multiple personalities and backgrounds.  Let us work with you, to create a bright future for all our students.