The Zeno Story

Zeno believes that with the self-confidence and skills gained by experiencing math in unique and unexpected ways, a person’s possibilities are infinite.

Mission:  Zeno is a non-profit organization with a mission to build a sustainable math culture in elementary school communities.

Vision:  Zeno envisions elementary school communities across the US where every child can succeed in math and experience the infinite possibilities of what math can do.

What is a Math Culture?

As a community, we wouldn’t find it acceptable to hear, “I was never very good at reading, ” or “You know, reading just isn’t my thing.” And yet we’ve come to accept a world where it’s okay to say “I’ve never been good at math.” The prevalence of statements like this is what creates a negative math culture. This acceptance creates an absence of environments and opportunities where kids can build positive relationships with math. Too many kids are closing the door on math at an early age and limiting their potential.

Zeno is changing the game.

We work directly where elementary kids learn, live and play because it’s here that our attitudes about math and about ourselves are formed. By starting at the source, by starting from the ground up, we’re creating a positive math culture. By connecting with math early and often—we can develop confident, curious kids who are Math Powered.

Why K-5?

By the time students have completed elementary school, negative attitudes about math have already been established. According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), only 62% of fourth grade students are meeting Washington State math standards, and even this level of success is not equally achieved.

  • In Seattle, a national hub of technological and scientific innovation, only 51% of low-income students are meeting state math standards, compared to 70% of their peers district-wide (OSPI).
  • Washington’s achievement gaps in math and science have not improved in over a decade and are the 12th largest in the nation (Washington STEM).

According to the Community Center for Education Results (CCER) Road Map Project, fourth grade math proficiency is a key indicator of whether or not students will graduate from high school being college and career ready.

  • In 2011, only 45% of U.S. high school graduates were ready for college work in math; 30% were ready in science.
  • In Washington State, there are currently 25,000 unfilled jobs due to a lack of qualified candidates (Washington STEM).

By connecting with math early and often—we can work toward eliminating achievement gaps across the board and develop confident, curious kids who are Math Powered!

What does it mean to be Math Powered? Imagine If…

…A seven year-old girl had been encouraged to find ways to use math in more than just math class. Would she enjoy music more? Have a deeper understanding of biology? Believe in her own ability to learn?

…An elementary teacher who struggled with math throughout her own education found a new, fun way to teach multiplication? Would her students learn more? Who would she inspire? What would her students become?

…The father of a ten year-old was able to re-learn fractions, something he’d never quite understood in school? Would his new knowledge impact his son? Could they learn together? Would it deepen their own relationship?