The goal of the Zeroing in on Math initiative is to increase the number of schools delivering highly effective and engaging math instruction to students in Grades 3-8 with the ultimate goal to improve 8th grade math proficiency throughout the city. Our Deeper Learning Cohort is an outgrowth of our collaborative partnership with Boston Public Schools’ Excellence for All initiative, which aims to expand access to rigorous curriculum and enrichment experiences for all students. Based on teacher and school leader feedback through a survey administered in Spring 2015, and visiting high-performing schools across the city, we have created a number of strategies to impact math instruction in partnership with schools.
Here is a summary of the instructional supports and professional learning opportunities offered to participating teachers and school leaders.
Collaborative Planning and Professional Learning
It is critical that all teachers have a common understanding of the math standards in their grade level as well as the surrounding grades. Teachers across the seven participating schools will meet monthly to discuss the 3rd– 5th grade content standards, as well as the standards of mathematical practice. The goal of each meeting is to provide teachers with learning opportunities to deepen math pedagogical content knowledge and to provide useful strategies for teachers to take back to their classrooms.
Teachers in their second or third year of the partnership will have their monthly sessions on-site at their schools to allow for differentiation based on school need. These professional learning experiences may include lesson planning, looking at data/student work, and observing/giving feedback.
Participating schools will pilot a math diagnostic test at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year as a way to measure student growth across the year.
Principals and other administrative staff will be supported in developing the ability to observe and determine the difference between a well-managed and a well-taught math classroom. Principal support will be differentiated based on individual needs.