Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative recently celebrated the success of its Innovations in Early Math professional development program at a year-end event for participating teachers.

After two years in the Innovations program, the eight intervention schools substantially raised students’ math achievement. These schools also had substantially higher percentages of students who meet or exceed grade-level expectations in math than comparison schools.

“We have begun to see the effects of our work on children’s learning,” says Jennifer McCray, director of the Collaborative. “Children in Innovations schools are making clear and significant strides.”

Teachers use each other as learning resources

With workshops and poster presentations by participating teachers, the event highlighted the gradual but important shifts that have occurred in their classrooms.

Guest speaker William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired), applauded these efforts and encouraged teachers to use the “wisdom in the room.”

The program’s goals include teachers learning from and collaborating with each other, and respecting children’s thinking in the classroom.

All teachers in grades preK through third grade in Innovations schools participate in ongoing learning labs at Erikson, receive individual coaching around mathematics instruction, and join monthly math-focused meetings with other teachers in their grade level.

The program also includes Leadership Academy meetings, where principals and assistant principals learn about what their teachers are studying so they are better able to support them. More than 120 teachers participate in the Innovations program.