Math Program Update March 17, 2016


Dearest Colleagues,
Allow me to take this opportunity to share...
My wife has been reading a book titled Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright which draws parallels amongst modern day organization leadership with tribal leadership and uses ancient principles to help us better understand ourselves as well as individuals we work with. In her readings, she shared with me an African term in the Bantu language, ubuntu. There are many translations for this term but the one that resonates with me most is "I am because we are." Your thought by now is probably, "What does this have to do with me?"
If we examine closely, each and every one of us are leaders in our own classrooms. Ubuntu brings to light the understanding that we must work together with our students to garner success. We must build a community with our students to provide our students with a sense of belonging. We must show our students that we care so that our students can reciprocate and care for us. Building a positive rapport with our students can work wonders!
At the start of this new semester, South El Monte High School and Mountain View High School decided to offer Integrated Math 1 Fall make-up during the spring for students who received an "F". The level of success that has been generated by this intervention has been staggering. Maria Vera, math teacher at SEMHS took on the challenge of teaching all of the Integrated Math 1 Fall make-up classes (5 periods). Based on the 6-week grades, 83/125 = 66% of her students earned a C or higher. Her students scored an average of 70% on the Unit 1 Test. Again, keep in mind these were students who failed the first semester. According to Ms. Vera, a huge contributing factor for her students' success revolves around the positive community she has built with her students. Many of her students have reported a shift in mindset where they now believe success in math is possible.
Additionally, Paul Heinrich, math teacher and Department Chair at Mountain View High School, has also seen significant progress with his students enrolled in the make-up course. Mr. Heinrich reports many students given this opportunity have also experienced a shift in mindset. Many students have stepped up to the plate and are now actively engaged and are showing positive gains.

What does this all mean???

As we enter the last 12 weeks of the 2015-2016 school year, it is important that we stay focused with providing our students with the necessary support. As much as we think that we are burnt out, imagine how our students feel! Continue to build that community and trust with our students. Let them know that we are all in it together...whether we sink or swim. We must help our students believe they can still make it!
Below is a short video to help remind us just how important it is for us to show our students we care.
Dear Teacher: Letter from a Student

Testing, Testing, Testing

Testing season is just around the corner. Most sites are beginning SBAC testing mid April. AP testing will follow in May. In preparation for SBAC, Math Content Specialists have been trained in administering the Interim Assessments and will be sharing this information with all of you very soon. I understand that time is very limited and the results we obtain from these Interim Assessment cannot be used formatively due to time constraints as well as limited information provided by the Interim Assessment reports. However, the primary focus and purpose for now is to expose our Juniors to the testing interface. This will allow our students to practice using all the available tools as well as practice inputting methods for various solutions (ie using the provided virtual keypad to input equations, fractions, square roots, etc.) If possible, please reserve time in your instruction to administer some of these Interim Assessments.
I've included tutorial videos for administering the SBAC Interim Assessments below.

(Requires Google/Gmail Login)

PT Training

SBAC Math Performance Task Training has been ongoing. So far, math teachers from RHS, EMHS, and MVHS have gone through the training. AHS and SEMHS math teachers will be trained in the coming weeks. The training has provided teachers with an opportunity to experience performance tasks in the perspective of a student. The training also provides an insight to the hand-scoring process as well as understanding the instructional implications of performance tasks. Many teachers who have gone through the training have expressed that the training was truly helpful in understanding the instructional demands for performance tasks.

Important Dates

Integrated Math District Benchmark #3
  • IM1 - March 23rd/24th
  • IM2 - April 16th
  • IM3 - April 13th

Spring Break (Time to Rest & Relax)

  • March 25th - April 3rd

SBAC Math Performance Task Training

  • SEMHS - April 6th
  • AHS - April 7th

SBAC Summative Assessment

  • Varies by site (Window opens April 12th)

AP Test

  • AP Calculus AB/BC - May 5th
  • AP Statistics - May 12th

Final Words...

“it’s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest.”
Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential