EVERY PROBLEM HAS A SOLUTION

EVERY PROBLEM HAS A SOLUTION
Posted on 11/20/2023

Students playing cards

After schools reopened following the Covid-19 pandemic, math scores declined sharply and did not recover as quickly as reading and English scores. Schools responded to this concerning trend by developing strategic plans to ensure that appropriate time, attention, and resources were dedicated to improving mathematics achievement. During the 2022-23 school year, Middletown Area School District hired a math coach to support teachers in grades kindergarten through eight. The role was designed to research evidence-based practices in mathematics and share them with teachers and students. These practices include curriculum development, lesson design, instructional practices, and resource selection.

Mrs. Lori Miller transitioned from her elementary teaching position at Reid to the Math Coach position. Mrs. Miller works alongside classroom teachers to provide an increased focus on math instruction and improve practices in math classes. Mrs. Miller also strives to generate enthusiasm about math among teachers and students and to show students that math can be exciting and fun. If you visit schools in Middletown, you will see examples of student math work and projects displayed in the hallways, bulletin boards promoting math, and students engaged in games and activities to strengthen basic math skills. One of the initiatives she brought to the elementary level is an after-school club known as Crazy 8s which has been a huge hit with students. Crazy 8s is the largest recreational after-school math club for elementary-aged students in the U.S. Its mission is to enable kids to enjoy math as much as (or more than!) sports, music, and other extra-curricular activities. Crazy 8s Clubs meet weekly after school at each elementary school for an 8-week period. The District is excited about this new craze that has our students enthused about math and we hope to expand participation in the coming years.

Mrs. Miller also been instrumental in the introduction and support of SpringMath, which is an evidence-based mathematics intervention designed to target student deficiencies and close the achievement gap that so many students are experiencing in math. Students work cooperatively during Spring Math, which enables them to strengthen their communication and collaboration skills. SpringMath has been implemented in many classrooms in our K-8 buildings, and we plan to expand the program to include all students in K-8 in the near future.

Mrs. Miller believes that increasing and structuring instructional time in math, improving basic math fact skills to promote fluency, and increasing students’ number sense will provide a solid foundation for students, and will set Middletown on a path to ensure that all students are “algebra ready” by their ninth-grade year. Math is being integrated with reading to improve word problem skills, and efforts are being made to develop students’ math vocabulary (as seen in a photo below). The District is evaluating the existing mathematics curriculum and core program as well as monitoring and analyzing student data in order to respond to trends that are observed with regard to students’ mathematics growth and achievement.

One of the District’s important goals is to promote a positive outlook and attitude toward math. Math is used in our everyday lives, and we want students to master basic mathematics principles. We want students to be confident and enthusiastic math students while experiencing fun, intrigue, and excitement as they explore the world of math.

Math photos

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