ETA hand2mind Announces Winners of 'VersaTiles Success Factor Contest'

Bellaire, Texas middle school earns grand prize

VERNON HILLS, Ill - March 13, 2012 - ETA hand2mind - the leader in hands-on learning solutions for P-12 mathematics, literacy, and science education - has unveiled the 16 winners of its "VersaTiles® Success Factor Contest," designed to spotlight how VersaTiles enhances the classroom experience and supports student learning.

The grand-prize winner is Pin Oak Middle School (part of the Houston Independent School District) in Bellaire, Texas for its video submission, "Making Math Fun for Middle School Students," which demonstrated how VersaTiles is used with success in their seventh grade pre-Advanced Placement math and algebra courses.

Pin Oak Middle School wins the first-place prize valued at $50,000, which includes outfitting the entire school with a full range of VersaTiles, including math, science, and reading/language arts. The school also will receive the Core PD™ Professional Growth & Coaching on-site course, Understanding the Mathematical Practices, for all of its math coaches, teachers and curriculum directors.

Lisa Hale, mathematics teacher at Pin Oak, said winning the contest is "a great honor" for her school.

"As a high achieving school, the teachers and staff of Pin Oak are always seeking new ways to engage our students and promote hands-on education," Hale said. "The materials we are to receive from ETA hand2mind will have an immediate impact in the classroom."

"I am so proud of my students and so thankful that we are receiving valuable new resources to support their continued academic success," she continued. "The entire school community came together and rallied for votes. I believe the genuine enthusiasm our students showed for VersaTiles in the video helped us win, so it is especially exciting that we will be able to extend this hands-on learning tool to all the students in every classroom at Pin Oak."

ETA hand2mind also announced the contest's five second-place and 10 third-place winners:

  • Second place: Pinecrest Elementary School (Sylacauga, Ala.); Prairie Crossing Charter School (Grayslake, Ill.); Park Springs Elementary School (Coral Springs, Fla.); Circle Cross Ranch K-8 (Florence, Ariz.); Advent Lutheran School (Boca Raton, Fla.).
  • Third place: Summit Charter Academy (Modesto, Calif.); Lake County Baptist School (Waukegan, Ill.); Marion County Public Schools (Ocala, Fla.); Providence Middle School (Richmond, Va.); Field School (Wheeling, Ill.); Reedy Creek Elementary School (Charlotte, NC); Cypress Palm Middle School (Naples, Fla.); St. John the Evangelist School (Altoona, Pa.); Mary B. Neal Elementary (Waldorf, MD.); Cross Timber's Elementary (Azle, TX).

The second-place schools each will receive VersaTiles for a classroom along with the Math Fundamentals Core PD online course (each valued at $2,000), while the third-place schools each will receive a VersaTiles lab of their choice (each valued at $350).

Following video submissions, all contest entrants were encouraged to share their videos to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and solicit votes from friends, family, students, and parents. The 20 entrants with the highest number of votes qualified to have their entries judged by a panel comprised of six educational thought leaders and ETA hand2mind customers:

  • Susan Little, New Town Elementary, Waxhaw, N.C.;

  • Michelle Mikes, Cobb County School District, Marietta, Ga.;

  • Stanley L. Griggs, Owen Scholastic Academy, Chicago, Ill.;

  • Alanna Arenivas, Dallas Independent School District, Dallas, Texas;

  • Liz Curry, Sunnyslope Elementary School, Phoenix, Ariz.;

  • Dr. Sara Delano Moore, director of mathematics and science, ETA hand2mind.

"This contest has been an energizing and fulfilling experience for many people, reinforcing how VersaTiles is positively impacting student achievement," said Jude Rake, president/CEO of ETA hand2mind. "We're inspired by the creativity of the entrants and their compelling stories. They reflect why we are devoted to hands-on learning solutions - that VersaTiles and learning tools like them are proven resources for engaging students and helping teachers create a successful environment in all types of classroom settings."

All VersaTiles Success Factor Contest video submissions are available for viewing by accessing our YouTube site,

For more information about ETA hand2mind, visit

About ETA hand2mind
ETA hand2mind's mission is to support P-12 educators and partners in its quest to inspire learning and champion learning-by-doing with research-based, proven hands-on solutions. The Vernon Hills, Ill.-based company's solutions in mathematics, science and literacy are unique in the marketplace, providing instructional curriculum, custom-kit solutions for content providers, manipulatives, interactive digital applications for education, and teacher coaching and development.