A version of this article appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Erikson on Children under the headline "Adding up to success." More from this issue

The Early Math Collaborative recently launched the second phase of its partnership with Chicago Public Schools to improve math education in pre-k through fifth grade classrooms.

During this phase, the Collaborative will work directly with teacher leaders and administrators from 12 elementary schools to provide strategies and tools so that their students will achieve the content and practice standards of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics.

The project kicked off on February 13, when teachers and administrators from the partner schools gathered at Erikson to share initial ideas and expectations of the Common Core standards.

Creating communities of learners

Over the next five years, the Collaborative will work with the partner schools to create professional learning communities around quality math teaching. These communities of teachers and administrators will build collaboration across grades and encourage sharing of effective teaching methods and leadership strategies.

“Teachers in the early grades seldom have time for planning and coaching,” says Collaborative instructor Rebeca Itzkowich. “The professional learning communities allow them to share what works and what challenges they’re facing in the classroom.”

The Collaborative will also provide professional development and individual coaching in the classroom for 30 teacher leaders four times a year, including observing how they teach lessons. Through these activities, the Collaborative will provide strategies and tools for teachers to achieve the content and practice standards of the Common Core.

Recognizing quality math teaching

In addition to working directly with teachers during this phase, the Collaborative will facilitate leadership academies to help administrators recognize quality math teaching.

“This kind of learning looks different – it’s messy,” says Jennifer McCray, director of the Early Math Collaborative. “We want to show administrators what it looks like and how they can help make it possible in their schools.”

Phase 1 prepared math facilitators

This two-phase initiative is supported by the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust. During the first phase, which began last fall, the Collaborative trained 50 elementary math facilitators in the district, who will work with approximately 1,000 teachers to improve math instruction. Learn more

Partner schools in phase 2

Phillip D. Armour Elementary School
Luther Burbank Elementary School
Robert Nathaniel Dett Elementary School
Hanson Park Elementary School
Charles N. Holden Elementary School
Washington Irving Elementary School
George Leland Elementary School
Joseph Lovett Elementary School
Rodolfo Lozano Bilingual & International Center Elementary School
Spencer Technology Academy
Suder Montessori Magnet Elementary School
Mancel Talcott Elementary School