How Everyday Mathematics helps turn around underperforming schools
When the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, wants to turn around elementary schools, it looks to Principal John Haynal. He’s already improved outcomes at two elementary schools in this, the country’s fifth largest school district. In Clark County’s Franchise School program, principals who have demonstrated academic growth supervise an additional school using the same or similar practices that have led to success while continuing to supervise their original or “flagship” school. “You take your flagship school and seed a second school with staff from that flagship school” he explains. And he always brings in Everyday Mathematics, if it isn’t already in place.
Everyday Mathematics is an instructional program that helps students master key concepts by continually revisiting content in a variety of contexts over time. While Everyday Mathematics is designed for pre-K through grade 6, in Clark County, 15 of 20 elementary schools are using Everyday Mathematics in K5.
“We’re not cookie cutter schools, we are change agents. Everyday Mathematics is the change agent tool for children” says Haynal, noting that with Everyday Mathematics, which was first piloted in 2001, students learn that no one algorithm is the “right” way to do math.
“Everyday Mathematics shows students that there are three or four ways to multiply, and no one way is wrong” he adds. “I believe in sustaining consistency. The only way to be successful is if what you taught them in first grade reaches to fifth grade.”
“Everyday Mathematics has clear-cut guidance for teachers, whether you’re a first-year teacher or have 20 years of experience. You can differentiate instruction to support highs and lows as well as support kids right on program” says Emily Miles, a fifth math grade teacher.
“With smart boards, we can pull up fact fluencies or math messages, and the students can interact with their etools” adds Hali Davis, also a fifth-grade math teacher.
Everyday Mathematics has both offline and online tools for students and teachers. Students can log into the platform to get extra practice with eTools or to play games online—games that reinforce what they’ve learned in class. Teachers can see students’ work and ascertain how students are doing understanding concepts. This information is useful if they have to adjust what they’re teaching or to identify students who might need extra help.
Beyond the math classroom
Everyday Mathematics isn’t just about teaching math. It’s about connecting math concepts to real-world activities, Haynal says. One of the real-world activities Everyday Mathematics helps with is literacy and using research tools, and that’s because of the Everyday Mathematics Student Reference Book. This textbook contains explanations of key mathematical concepts students are learning in class. It’s a place students can go to get answers to their questions.
“It helps support our reading teachers in teaching the students how to utilize reference books correctly” says Miles. “If they don’t understand a math box, we don’t want to start on Page 1. We want them to go the glossary, or we’re going to use the table of contents. We can support our reading instruction, and we can do this through Everyday Math. It’s an outstanding tool.”
This piece was produced for McGraw-Hill Education by District Administration. For more information, visit www.everydaymath.com