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Math Solutions Case Study: Summer Professional Development Courses

District Profile

Suburban school district

14,000 students

 

New York, Greece Central School District
North Greece, New York

Located in suburban Rochester, New York, Greece Central School District has a student population of 14,000. Lesley Flick, Director of Math and Science, and Judy Reed, Elementary Math Specialist, expressed an interest in hosting a Math Solutions summer five-day course that would support the New York state standards and help district leaders regain their focus on a cohesive plan for math instruction. Following the success of About Teaching Mathematics I, Steve Walts, the district’s Superintendent at the time, sought support from the local board of education for further work with Math Solutions. At that point, the district also needed help implementing adopted curriculum materials. Steve said the district needed an “outstanding professional development endeavor to get [its] teachers the help they need[ed] in teaching greater numbers of students to higher mathematics standards.” The board approved five-day courses for summer —About Teaching Mathematics I and About Teaching Mathematics II and a course designed for high school teachers.

Walts participated in the summer courses and shared some insights about his experience. “Before my eyes,” he said, “we were learning together, building connections, and gaining a greater understanding of how students develop their understanding of mathematics.”

Superintendent Steve Walts also reported that the courses have influenced the district’s goals for improving classroom teaching practices in math. “We’re moving away from worksheets,” he said, “and toward meaningful activities that help students construct meaning. Furthermore, Math Solutions complements the New York State Learning Standards in that the strategies integrate the curriculum.”

Walts felt that the best test for teachers is whether or not they implemented what they had learned through Math Solutions Professional Development. As a person who frequently walked into classrooms, he said, “The use of these strategies is spreading throughout our classrooms like wildfire. Our teachers love Math Solutions, and they are implementing the strategies with great results!”

Superintendent Steve Walts also reported that the courses have influenced the district’s goals for improving classroom teaching practices in math.

A sampling of student test score data reflects improvement over prior years. On the New York State assessments, the percentage of students in grade four scoring at level three (the second highest) increased from 48 to 50 percent. At grade eight for the same period, the percentages of students scoring at levels three and four (the two highest levels) each increased by 1 percent.

The districts’ teachers and administrators are continuing to refine instruction and build teachers’ content knowledge.