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 (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008; Stoutland & Coles, 2009).

In 2015, 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. Our ultimate goal: To increase equitable enrollment and student success so that all students, especially our Black and Latinx students, receive a meaningful math education that is affirming, relevant, and prepares them for post-secondary opportunities.  

To ensure a meaningful math education for Boston students, we are:

  1. Convening a diverse group of stakeholders to create and align on a vision of equitable math instruction for students, teachers, schools, and partners in Boston that enables the system to reimagine and rebuild math learning for the future
  2. Scaling educator best practices within and across schools through the Math is for Everyone Cohort 
  3. Streamlining and clarifying the math pathways in BPS with emphasis on equitable access to math course pathways
  4. Aligning with district priorities to build stakeholders’ capacity to examine racism and injustice in the math classroom and at a systemic level

During ZioM’s first six years, EdVestors invested in technology-based math interventions with the intent to meet students where they were at and accelerate their math achievement. In an in-depth evaluation of this effort, we learned that higher usage of math EdTech and sustained teacher and student participation for 3 years resulted in higher student achievement. We also learned that English language learners closed achievement gaps in some grade levels through the use of math EdTech. We are encouraged by these results and aim to build on what we learned from our first cohort of schools.

“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

Applications for the 2021-2022 Math is for Everyone Cohort are now closed.