Campaigning for coherence in math

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A group of Kentucky teachers at an October 2015 Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers meeting at Kentucky State University engaged in the coherence card sort activity that inspired deep discussions about the mathematical standards. Photo submitted by Dee Crescitelli
A group of Kentucky teachers at an October 2015 Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers meeting at Kentucky State University engaged in the coherence card sort activity that inspired deep discussions about the mathematics standards.
Photo submitted by Dee Crescitelli

By Staff

Kentucky teachers have been engaged with the Kentucky Core Advocate network, established by the nonprofit Student Achievement Partners, to support the implementation of Kentucky’s Academic Standards and help bring math coherence to the state’s classrooms.

The new statewide coherence campaign in mathematics is designed to engage teachers and deepen their understanding of Kentucky’s mathematics standards as a set of concepts that progress coherently from grade level to grade level. Through this understanding, teachers are able to assist students in making meaning and developing connections between mathematical topics from year to year. This campaign will equip educators to lead vertical teams within their school community to investigate the interconnectedness between concepts and select the instructional practices best for student learning.

Kentucky's Core Advocates convened in December 2015 for a state coherence campaign in mathematics. Photo submitted by Michelle Ruckdeschel
Kentucky’s Core Advocates convened in December 2015 for a state coherence campaign in mathematics.
Photo submitted by Michelle Ruckdeschel

With Student Achievement Partners’ team members Sandra Alberti and Joanie Funderburk, both the mathematics and English language arts teams created the statewide coherence campaign to equip teachers with tools for driving student success.

“The Kentucky Core Advocate State Convening last December offered teachers the opportunity to reflect on the necessary shifts needed within our own instructional practices that are essential to implementing the math and English language arts standards,” said Jana Bryant, Kentucky’s core advocate captain.

Core advocates, which are selected by Student Achievement Partners, are educators who hold different roles, come from different communities and areas of expertise, yet they are united around a few key principles. All core advocates:

  • believe in the potential of high quality standards grounded in evidence to prepare all students for college and careers.
  • understand and embrace the shifts in instruction and assessment required by the new standards.
  • are eager to support their colleagues and communities in understanding and translating the shifts into instructional practice.

Kentucky’s Mathematics Team, led by Michelle Ruckdeschel (Daviess County) designed four initiatives to engage teachers in the mathematics coherence campaign:

  • Teachers will understand how the major work of their grade level connects to the major work of the previous and subsequent grade(s).
  • Teachers will be familiar with and connect instruction to the standards’ progression toward Algebra and how concepts build and are developed in grades K-8.
  • Teachers will be able to identify connections within and across grades as they plan units and lessons.
  • Students will be able to verbalize connections between the mathematics concepts they are learning and connections to their previous learning.

Since the Kentucky Convening, the Mathematics Team has presented at meetings of the Kentucky Center of Mathematics, Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers, and the Kentucky Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The Mathematics Team has led district and school professional learning through professional learning communities (PLCs).

The team also held a statewide meeting in December 2015, where 40 teacher-leaders from all over the state engaged in mathematical discourse around the tools of Student Achievement Partners. These tools are free, ready-to-use classroom resources designed to help educators understand and implement Kentucky’s Academic Standards for Mathematics and other college- and career-ready standards.

Join Kentucky teachers as they share their story of this work in implementing the coherence campaign:

Dee Crescitelli, Kentucky Center for Mathematics, Kentucky State University
Dee Crescitelli, Kentucky Center for Mathematics, Kentucky State University

“I have been an educator for 25 years, and during that time I have taught multiple content areas for students ranging in age from 7 to 67. I feel very strongly about the connections that are inherent in all subjects across all grade levels.

Education as an institution has to stop creating silos; pre-K through college are all in this together! I feel so strongly about coherence in Kentucky that I wrote a cheer:
Coherence –
Coherence –
That’s our game!
Across the grades
And between the same.
Connections we need –
And our students, too.
It’s now my mission –
How ‘bout YOU?!”

 

Michelle Ruckdeschel, director of Heritage Park High School (Daviess County)
Michelle Ruckdeschel, director of Heritage Park High School (Daviess County)

“Learning about and working with coherence just makes sense. It helps a teacher to be able to know what students have been exposed to in previous grades while planning for their future mathematics journey in later classes. It also allows the teacher to be able to make connections to the content throughout the mathematics within their grade.

“Exposure to these ideas helps eliminate the blame game that teachers sometimes place on others when working with struggling mathematics learners. Coherence allows teachers to see that we are truly all in this together and that we should support all levels of the mathematics curriculum and our fellow teachers.”

 

Samantha Sams, 4th and 5th grade GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) teacher, Southside Elementary (Woodford County)
Samantha Sams, 4th and 5th grade GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) teacher, Southside Elementary (Woodford County)

“The Kentucky Core Advocates Convening was a fabulous experience for me as an educator. It allowed me to work through the Kentucky Academic Standards with the support of other Kentucky educators and core advocates representatives, enhancing my understanding of the standards to better implement them in my classroom.

“One resource that was very impressive and a fabulous classroom tool was the Coherence Map. The ability to see all the math standards linked from K-8 was powerful. It showed how every teacher – from kindergarten on – has a very important role to play in making sure every student has a strong mathematical foundation to truly understand math and be successful through the progression from kindergarten to graduation and beyond. If you have not seen the Coherence Map, it is a must!”

 

Jana Bryant, Kentucky Core Advocate team captain, math instructional coach, Daviess County public schools
Jana Bryant, Kentucky Core Advocate team captain, math instructional coach, Daviess County public schools

“Our campaign focuses on how we must set the expectation high for every student and use the time we have within our school day most effectively. We are honored that Student Achievement Partners continues to select Kentucky as one of the many states to support as we build a Core Advocate Network. Any Kentucky teacher wishing to find out more about our network is encouraged to fill out the survey link below.”

Advance your professional learning and become a #CoreAdvocate. Find out more information and take the Core Advocate Survey! http://www.tfaforms.com/362186

 

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