“The mission of Valdés Math is to contribute to the development of the whole student by advancing their math skills and enabling them to flourish in a diverse community.”

Who We Are

Pioneers in math preparation, Valdés Math’s impact on Santa Clara and San Mateo County is unprecedented. 30 years, 30,000 alumni, 3 degrees of separation: someone in your family, neighborhood or group of friends has a Valdés connection. What will your connection be to help more kids in math?

What We Do

The Valdés Math Program provides a full year of math during the summer, as well as free, year-round tutoring. The ultimate goal is for our students to pass Calculus successfully before graduation from high school.

The Philosophy That Guides Valdés Math

• ALL students can learn math • Teachers MUST believe that all students can learn math • Evidence-based pedagogical techniques work with all students • Minoritized students do not need “watered down math” in order to succeed, rather they should engage in rich and rigorous math in order to be prepared for success in college-level mathematics • Caregivers need to be partners with their students to ensure success • All students should enter high school PREPARED to succeed in at least Algebra 1/Integrated Math 1 • Teachers must be included in curricular, instructional, and assessment decisions • A collective effort by elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, parents, and community members is essential to solving complex educational problems • Math is a vehicle to teach students how to think critically; success in math leads to success in other academic areas • Truly equitable classes will be achieved when the number of students from historically marginalized communities taking college-level math is proportionate to their overall numbers
Year of Valdés Math
Valdés Alumni
Degrees of Separation
Days during summer

Our Story

Mr. José Valdés

After receiving a substantial grant from the Lucille Packard Foundation, Mr. José Valdés started the José Valdés Math Institute™ in 1989. The Institute was the result of his work as a Calculus instructor at Andrew Hill High School. Within his higher-level math courses, as well as those of his colleagues, the number of Latino and African-American students was abysmally low. He started the Institute to make a huge impact to improve enrollment and subsequent success.

Unfortunately, Mr. Valdés passed away at a relatively young age. His legacy continues through the work of the José Valdés Math Foundation. In early 2019, our Foundation embarked on a plan to honor his illustrious work by recognizing the more than 30,000 Valdés alumni and acknowledging and celebrating the long list of Valdés supporters who have changed the lives of thousands of San José and Mid-Peninsula students. Our students have markedly improved their math skills, completed high school with advanced math course success, and matriculated into colleges and universities (most with a STEM major); they are now working and contributing to our economy within their profession.

Pioneers in math preparation, Valdés Math has had an unprecedented impact on Santa Clara and San Mateo County, with more than 30 years in continuous operation over 30,000 alumni; someone in your family, neighborhood, or group of friends has a Valdés Math connection. What will your connection be to help more students in math?

Success Story

Meet Miguel and Alex Cruz, twins, current college STEM majors. and Valdés Math Alumni. Here is more about their journey in their own words.

“We knew we needed help in math, but didn’t know how to ask for it. Luckily for us, our mother learned about Valdés Math from another parent whose kids were successful after completing two summers and recommended she sign us up. “…

Miguel Cruz: Valdés Math alum ’12, ’13, ’14 summers – Current Chem Engineering Sophomore, UCSD
Alex Cruz: Valdés Math alum ’12, ’13, ’14, ‘15 summers – Current Econ Sophomore, UOP

“We didn’t see the value in committing to the inordinate time required for Valdés Math and actually viewed it as a form of ‘punishment’ by our parents. Our attitudes toward math, in general, were poor, which impacted the low grades we received in 5th and 6th grades. We knew we needed help in math, but didn’t know how to ask for it. Luckily for us, our mother learned about Valdés Math from another parent whose kids were successful after completing two summers and recommended she sign us up.  

We were very nervous before beginning Valdés Math as we thought everyone who registered for Valdés would be really good at math and that we would struggle.  We also thought that math would get much harder, not easier. We were intimidated for sure! 

Shortly after beginning Valdés math as rising 7th graders, our attitudes changed for the better. Our teachers were actually the best math teachers we had ever had. They helped transform our perspectives about math and school in general. While the amount of math homework was certainly substantial and difficult many times, it allowed us to realize that we were capable of much more than was expected of us in our East Side schools. 

There was more to [Valdés] than math alone. Valdés Math helped us to develop a strong sense of character, discipline, organization and the ability to persevere in the face of adversity in the classroom., while holding us to higher standards than our high school classes ever did. Our confidence in math grew stronger and stronger.  

Because of Valdés Math, we both successfully chartered a difficult math pathway that most (in Alex’ case) and none (in Miguel’s case) had achieved at our high school. Miguel took Pre-Calc as a freshman, AP Calc AB/BC as a sophomore and junior and AP Stats as a senior. Alex in Alg 2 as the only freshman, took pre Calc as a sophomore and AP Calc 1 as a junior and AP stats as a senior.  The head of the math dept told us, “so you’re the famous twins everyone is talking about.”  

Now that we are sophomores in college (Alex at UOP as an Economics Major/Data Science Minor; Miguel at UCSD as a Chemical Engineering major), we can do our math in the fraction of time it used to take even on the quarter system.

We are very grateful to Mr. Jose Valdés for starting the Program and to our many excellent teachers we had over the 3-4 summers we were students in the summer institute. For that reason, we immediately agreed to help tutor young students in the Valdés Math tutoring program at Notre Dame High School and look forward to helping out again during our breaks as a way of ‘giving back.’ We cannot recommend more highly Valdés Math to any student who is struggling in math like we were in the beginning. They will certainly be happy that they committed this time to invest in their future.” 

Accreditation & Recognition

WASC Accreditation

Through ACS WASC’s evaluation of institutions, ACS WASC accreditation assures the educational community, the general public, and other organizations and agencies that an institution has clearly defined objectives appropriate to education; has established conditions under which their achievement can reasonably be expected; appears in fact to be accomplishing them substantially; is so organized, staffed, and supported that it can be expected to continue to do so; and demonstrates that it meets ACS WASC’s criteria and accreditation standards. ACS WASC encourages and supports institutional development and improvement through an institutional self-evaluation using the accreditation criteria and policies, as well as mid-cycle, follow-up, and special reports, and periodic evaluation of institutional quality by qualified peer professionals.

Chan Zuckerberg

We will also be supporting Aim High, a free academic summer program for middle school students, and the The Official José Valdés Math Institute, which provides low-income middle school students the equivalent of one full year of math instruction through an intensive summer program at Stanford University.


From the White House

“Today, nearly one in four students in our nation’s public schools is a Hispanic youth. Making sure these young people have the opportunity to achieve their dreams isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s also a matter of our shared success as a country. In just the next few decades, Hispanics will represent nearly one in three American workers. It’s clear; the future of our nation is closely connected to the future of our Hispanic communities. When we lift up the Hispanic community, we strengthen our nation. When we create more ladders of opportunity, we provide the chance for all Americans to reach their greatest potential.”

The White House Initiative On Educational Excellence for Hispanics