Back-to-School Night for Needy OC Students Includes Free Backpacks and School Supplies

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BUENA PARK, CALIF., Sept. 13, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nearly 1,000 students, teachers, families, community members and the mayor gathered at Buena Park's Pendleton Elementary School yesterday for a unique back-to-school night. In addition to the traditional teacher and parent introductions, 500 high-needs students received free backpacks and school supplies like pencils, erasers and crayons, donated by community organizations. Teachers received large supply boxes stocked with pens, hand sanitizer, granola bars and other classroom essentials.

"This was a great way to kick off the school year, and demonstrate that the entire community is committed to our district theme of 'improving the lives of our students and families,'" said Renee Jeffrey, Pendleton's principal. "So many people are committed to the success of our students, making us even more excited about the year ahead."

Pendleton Elementary is among Orange County's neediest schools, with 16% of students considered homeless and 86% low-income, meaning that they qualify for free or reduced lunches.

In addition to receiving backpacks, guests enjoyed a free pizza dinner and toured the school's ST Math® lab, where students use a unique blended learning program developed by the MIND Research Institute. Grants from the Tarsadia Foundation and the Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation have funded ST Math for Pendleton's students and teachers. Across the country, schools using ST Math have experienced, on average, double or triple the growth rate in math proficiency. Two Pendleton students, Matthew Ioannou and Cindy Gallegos, received awards for scholastic achievement from the Office of Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva.

"The Tarsadia Foundation is committed to giving children in our community the best learning opportunities possible," said Shirish Dayal of the Tarsadia Foundation. "With our partnership with the MIND Research Institute, we are thrilled to bring ST Math to Pendleton. We invested in this program because we believe in the impact it can make in children's lives, and that it can help prepare them for high school and life success."

The backpacks and school supplies for 500 children were provided by the Tarsadia Foundation, Tarsadia Foundation's Youth Board, the Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation, Reverend Everett Bell of the COR Community Development Corporation, and MIND Research Institute. Additionally, dinner for the children and families was provided by Jim and Sheila Peterson.

About MIND Research Institute:

MIND Research Institute is an education nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world's most challenging problems. MIND's distinctive visual approach to math and problem-solving is the basis of its innovative, research-proven ST Math® programs for elementary and secondary schools. MIND's programs currently reach over 500,000 students and 21,000 teachers in more than 1,780 schools in 30 states. For more information, visit www.mindresearch.net.

About Tarsadia Foundation:

The Tarsadia Foundation supports non-profit organizations with programs and projects that provide educational opportunities for the underserved, support health and well-being of the community, and help to employ the employable through economic empowerment. www.tarsadiafoundation.org

A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=20943

CONTACT: Abby Daniels adaniels@mindresearch.net 949-345-8637 @MIND_Research

Source:MIND Research Institute