In 2010 Early Math Collaborative was one of only 49 in the nation to receive a prestigious $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation (“i3”) Fund (which was matched by funding from the CME Group Foundation) to expand programming to the primary grades. Eight Chicago Public Schools were selected to participate in the partnership. This five-year initiative helped high needs students reach or exceed state and national Common Core Standards for Math (CCSM) and created within-school math teaching expertise that will persist beyond the life of the project.
All teachers in grades pre-k through three in these schools participated in ongoing learning labs at Erikson, receiving individual coaching around mathematics instruction and participating in Erikson coach-facilitated monthly math-focused meetings with other teachers in their grade level. Video was used to support coaching practices so teachers could observe and reflect on their own teaching. Online supports for teachers included extended access to training videos and teaching resources. Innovations also included periodic Leadership Academy meetings, in which principals and assistant principals at the 8 schools came to Erikson to learn about what their teachers are studying. Over 120 teachers at these schools participated in this ongoing program.
Innovations sister schools included: Brentano, Cleveland, DeDiego, Gale, Jordan, Lorca, Manniere, and Reinberg.
The project objectives included:
Teachers will have a better understanding of how math concepts develop;
Teachers will become more skilled in implementing standards-focused math instruction;
Teachers will feel more confident about teaching mathematics;
Students will show significant improvement in ISAT mathematics scores; and
Students will show significant improvement in overall school readiness.
The project is culminating in the publication of training materials suitable for wide replication and will support research on the best methods for teaching both children and teachers.
It took us a while to adjust but now I see teachers thinking of math in a whole new way… Children are so excited about math now… They can’t wait to show me their thinking. They can explain how they are doing things and they can explain why they are doing things. That is very exciting to me. – Innovations administrator