Little did Lawrence Olagunju know that a simple Internet search would lead to district-wide math growth. Olagunju, the K-6 Elementary Math Manager for Fresno Unified School District in Fresno, CA, started hunting for solutions that could help students improve their basic math fact skills.
Fresno Unified is the 3rd-largest school district in California, serving more than 73,000 students across 100 schools. The district’s minority enrollment is 90%. 64.5% of students are economically disadvantaged, 70% are eligible for free and reduced lunch, and 21.8% are English language learners. “A significant number of our students were having problems mastering their math facts, and we needed an adaptive program that could allow students to practice their facts while having fun,” said Olagunju.
Aftering finding ExploreLearning Reflex, Olagunju decided to pilot the game-based fact fluency program during Fresno Unified’s summer school Math Academy (grades 4-5) in 2020. “The program was purchased after great reviews from participating teachers. Reflex is now being used district-wide and is available at no cost for students.”
More than impressed
Adaptive and individualized, Reflex meets grade 2+ students at their unique levels to build addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division fluency. “I have been more than impressed with Reflex due to its fun way of helping students practice their math facts and the abundance of data to monitor students’ progress,” said Olagunju.
Students in Fresno Unified School District build math fact fluency with Reflex's game-based challenges.
“Data is readily available for teachers, students, and parents. Data shows that our students are improving in their basic facts mastery. In the 2021-22 school year, our end-of-the-year fluency was 53.6%. We are currently at 56.1% with more room to grow.”
Teachers in Fresno Unified are also seeing the impact of Reflex. “Teachers are excited about the program, and they are now able to move students to more challenging content instead of spending valuable time on math computation that goes nowhere fast because of students counting on their fingers,” said the Math Manager.
Olagunju includes Reflex in district-wide fact fluency plans with designated checkpoints throughout the school year to monitor student progress using Reflex data. Fresno Unified teachers also create their own grade-level fluency and Reflex goals.
More than math facts
“Reflex has helped our students create a growth mindset and reduce math anxiety. Fixed mindsets are often established early in life due to students not knowing their basic facts,” Olagunju said. Thanks to Reflex, more Fresno Unified students are now “loving math and choosing it as their favorite subject.”
Most schools in Fresno Unified have a designated 30-minute fact fluency period. “This is when Reflex is mostly used,” said Olagunju. But students can keep the fluency practice going outside of school hours and over the summer. “An element of surprise is that Reflex is available to students 24 hours a day. It is used in our after-school programs and summer school. Students are highly encouraged to use Reflex at home also.”
Fresno Unified uses several Reflex challenges to motivate learners and recognize teachers and students with significant growth. “We also continue to collaborate with ExploreLearning Representatives to promote excellent Reflex usage,” said Olagunju.
Fresno Unified uses themed Reflex challenges to motivate and reward students.
Olagunju celebrates Reflex math achievement with a teacher and an ExploreLearning representative.
Lawrence Olagunju is the K-6 Elementary Math Manager for Fresno Unified School District in Fresno, CA. Olagunju is an experienced educator with a passion for mathematics, with over 27 years of professional experience, 22 of those spent as a teacher and math coach before five years in administration.