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LEXINGTON, Ky. – April 2022 – Herald Whitaker Middle School students will be receiving $50 as an incentive for meeting or exceeding math goals over the past school year. The incentives are part of Advance Kentucky’s Access to Algebra program, which supports math achievement in Kentucky middle schools under a partnership between Kentucky Department of Education and Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation.

Herald Whitaker Middle School in Magoffin County has participated in the Access to Algebra since the 2019-20 school year. AdvanceKentucky awards student achievement in math for either meeting the college readiness benchmark of 430 or for showing aggressive growth of 70 points from their 7th to 8th grade year. Herald Whitaker Middle School students who met either the benchmark or their growth goals will receive $50 incentive checks. In all, 63 students will be awarded checks for their achievements, with 55 of those performing on college readiness level. These results surpassed the target goal set for the school, earning teachers financial bonuses.

Anthony Mires, Executive Director of AdvanceKentucky, expressed pride in all the Access to Algebra program schools. “Student and teacher performance is exceptionally commendable given what schools have experienced the last few years because of COVID.”

The Access to Algebra program promotes and supports a school culture of high expectations for rigorous student learning by targeting greater access to Algebra by 8th grade and increasing the number of students on track to meet college readiness math benchmarks by the time they enter high school. Success in middle school math has proven critical for students to be able to successfully pursue STEM coursework in high school, thus increasing students’ post-secondary and career options.

The three-year program provides schools with 72 hours of content-specific teacher training, instructional support, classroom equipment and supplies funding, and incentives for students and teachers. Strategically focusing on student access, engagement, and success, the ‘Elements of Success’ model for this program can be found at

Schools who have participated in the Access to Algebra program have seen a 30% increase in the percentage of 8th grade students at or above PSAT 8/9 college readiness benchmark after two years, and despite an interruption due to COVID, a 20.3% increase after three years.

Additionally, after completing the three-year program, schools saw a 29% decrease in the percentage of students more than one grade level behind in math.

As of the 2021-22 school year, the Access to Algebra program has served 43 schools, 16,903 middle school students, and 338 teachers.

Those with questions about the program or inquiries about applying to AdvanceKentucky’s Access to Algebra program should contact Annette Williams at and may access the application information online at

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