Zeroing in on Math

Almost three-quarters of Boston 4th graders like math “very much” or “quite a bit.” Across Boston schools, we need to build on this early interest in math. Our current school system does not provide all students, especially our Black and Latinx students, with a meaningful math education. 

A meaningful math education in the middle grades engages students in an affirming, rigorous, relevant, and transformative experience with mathematics. Students deepen their content knowledge, develop identities as mathematicians, and become critical thinkers and problem solvers. Research shows that math opens doors to advanced math course-taking in high school and persistence and completion of post-secondary opportunities.*

EdVestors set out to ensure every student in Boston has access to a meaningful middle grades (3-8) math instruction from empowered teachers by launching Zeroing in on Math (ZioM), a multi-year, citywide initiative, in 2015. To ensure a meaningful math education for Boston students, we are:

  1. Deepening effective math teaching and learning through a school-wide focus that includes teacher pedagogy, school leader instructional support, and tailored school-specific supports in our Deeper Learning Cohort. Currently, teachers in grade-level teams in grades 3-5 from 6 schools form the cohort. 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, especially Black and Latinx students.
  2. Increasing access to math technology tools to approximately 4,000 students and 140 teachers in 15 schools through our Blended Learning Cohort.  We support teachers and school leaders to develop the systems, structures, and pedagogical knowledge to integrate math technology programs strategically to support instruction.  Over the past 5 years, schools have benefitted from integrating math technology tools into their classrooms to support differentiation and self-guided learning. 
  3. Building a citywide community of math advocates by engaging an annual cohort of  Boston math teachers from district and charter schools as Zeroing in on Math Fellows, who work together to identify areas of need in math education and develop teacher-led solutions with potential for scale. Currently, we have over 75 Math Fellows alumni in schools across the city. We also convene a Math Advisory Board, which provides cross-sector vision and guidance to inform the work of Zeroing in on Math.

*National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008; Stoutland & Coles, 2009

“Zeroing in on Math has been a game changer for our school. I feel more supported; I’m learning as a math leader. My teachers are learning, and they are doing deeper, more exciting and impactful work with students. The culture of students around math at this school is filled with excitement.”

—Karen McCarthy, Principal, Guild Elementary

Grant Seekers

Guidelines

As part of the Zeroing in on Math initiative, EdVestors seeks to partner with charter and district schools that are committed to improving the math achievement of their students in the middle grades, defined here as grades 3-8.

Opportunites for schools to participate in Zeroing in on Math will be announced as they become available.

Blended Learning Cohort

Participants in the Blended Learning Cohort partner with EdVestors to help better understand how technology-based interventions can be part of the solution for closing knowledge and skill gaps in math in grades 3-8.

Cohort participants receive funding from EdVestors as well as opportunities to share their learning within the group with the goal of developing effective strategies for boosting student math achievement across multiple schools. Total investments per school range in size from $5,000 to $12,000 depending on the scope of the project and number of students served.

Applications are currently closed.

Eligibility

All public schools in Boston enrolling eighth grade students, or in the process of growing to include eighth grade, are welcome to apply when applications are open. This includes BPS district and charter schools of all types (Commonwealth charters, Horace Mann in-district, pilot, Innovation and traditional district schools). Within these schools, any grade(s) from three through eight can be the target of the school’s gap-closing plan.