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Texas elementary principals share their Total Motivation success stories.


Students Rise to High Expectations

Two years ago, Principal Magdalena Strickland gathered the leaders at Lantrip Elementary, a magnet school in Houston, to begin researching solutions. With the newly revised math TEKS, the school needed to significantly increase the rigor of its lesson plans. That’s when another Houston-area magnet school’s coordinator told Strickland about their success with Mentoring Minds.

“It just so happens that one of the magnet coordinators reached out and said, ‘Oh my gosh, you have to use Mentoring Minds. We’re using Reading; we’re using Math. At first the teachers thought that they were too difficult, too rigorous, but all of a sudden, the kids are rising to the high expectations!’”

After implementing Total Motivation Math and Reading at Lantrip, Strickland has had the same experience. She says, “Often it’s just the fear of something new—the fear of the new TEKS—but when you see the kids really doing well, that’s when the teachers feel like, ‘Oh wait a minute, this could really work!’”

Scores are up at Lantrip, and teachers and students are feeling more confident. For the upcoming school year, Principal Strickland plans to incorporate Mentoring Minds’ professional development resources to give her teachers more practice and knowledge with the implementation of Total Motivation.

Magdalena Strickland
Principal, Lantrip Elementary, Houston ISD, Houston, Texas


The Numbers Don’t Lie: Scores Up 26%

Teachers at Red Sands Elementary in El Paso have been using Mentoring Minds resources for nine years. Principal Michael Mackeben says, “The kids like it, and the teachers are always asking to make sure I’ve ordered again for next year.”

The shift to STAAR led Red Sands to explore other resources, and they took a year off from Mentoring Minds to try other solutions. Principal Mackeben says, “Our scores dropped severely. We returned to Mentoring Minds and saw up to 26% gain across all grades and subjects.”

Since Red Sands has returned to Total Motivation, Principal Mackeben has a different perspective. “I look at things through two lenses now, because my own kids are now in elementary school. So now I’m filtering it through a parent’s eyes and through the kids’ eyes, not just the teacher’s eyes.” From a parent’s standpoint, he says, he has confidence that his children are learning what they need to know.

Michael Mackeben
Principal, Red Sands Elementary, Clint ISD, El Paso, Texas

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