Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Nick Badalato, and I am a teacher and coach at Kington High School, in Kingston New York. Kingston, incidentally, was where I was born and raised by my parents who were also teachers. After graduating from Kingston High School in 1986, I attended the Air Force Academy for 1 year before transferring to Brown University where I became a tri-captain for the football team, and later graduated with a degree in Business Economics. Being a former collegiate athlete, I volunteered to coach football at Liberty High School in Colorado Springs, where I decided that I wanted to make teaching and coaching my career.
I earned my Teaching Certification at CU Boulder, and received my first teaching position at Centaurus High School, in Lafayette, CO. It was there, 25 years ago, that the Bracket Method was pioneered. My pre-algebra classes included a great number of ESL students, and as I did not speak Spanish, it was necessary that I find a way to teach algebra without all the rules and vocabulary of PEMDAS. With the help of my students, we tweaked and refined what would later be known as the Bracket Method: a simpler, easier approach to algebra. In fact, we had so much success, the math department created a “catch-up course” so that these successful kids could jump “tracks” (from the slower track to the regular track). The following year I taught over 25 students algebra and geometry (they actually chose to take a double block of math. If THAT doesn’t speak volumes, nothing does!) Many of these students went on to take Algebra 2 and even precalculus by the time they were seniors.
Over the years, I have used this method to teach algebra to all levels of students: 8th, 9th and 10th grade; including Resource, Special Education, Integrated, ESL, and Honors. The system is instinctive to good math students, and makes sense to kids who typically struggle with math. Many of the audio/visual cues used in this method were created by students. Most kids grasp the concepts within the first 3 lessons, and their initial success motivates them to become “algebra geeks” (as we call ourselves).
As an educator, I have come to realize how much a privilege and an awesome responsibility it is to work with kids. To shape minds and lives is a blessing. I am truly excited to be able to share this new way to teach and learn algebra. There is no better feeling than to see kids who have never had success in math, light up with pride as they realize they “really” can do algebra.