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Math Specialist Pilot Boosts Students’ Confidence and Skills at Caudle Park Elementary

Earlier this year, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development asked for input through Ideas for Education. The purpose of this ask was to listen and learn from educators on the front line, who know the system best. Now, those ideas are being put into action.

Through Ideas for Education, Caudle Park Elementary welcomed a Math Specialist this year to work directly with Grade 3 students. Principal Emilie Tsirigotis says the most significant benefit to the pilot has been the addition of an experienced math coach in the school. 

“Looking at provincial and school-based assessment information collectively has led to deeper conversations and strategy sharing among teaching staff,” says Tsirigotis. “In classrooms, we are seeing increased confidence and risk taking in students who have been hesitant learners.” 

In the pilot role, Elementary Mathematics Coach, Tina Egan, works directly with students and teachers in learning and teaching mathematics. She works daily with the Grade 3 teachers and students, consults with administration on the School Success Plan and school-based math goals, and supports professional learning opportunities for staff. 

The collaborative work between the coach and the teachers ensures guided practice in the classroom – one teacher moves around the class to support the independent workers while the other pulls a small group to work on specific strategies. 

Grade 3 classroom teachers Kaitlyn Mitton and Jodi Gordon, appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with each other and the math specialist on their lessons. They meet as a team weekly to plan and daily to review progress. The teachers identify students who are having difficulty with specific concepts and work closely with them in the following lessons. 

They note that the biggest advantage is having another adult in the room to help assess learning. Small group instruction has been valuable for students who are behind in meeting math outcomes. 

Egan supports the work of the Grade 3 teachers through:
•    Supporting teachers where they are with content knowledge and pedagogical practices
•    Co-planning with teachers using student evidence (balanced assessment) to guide discussions on what students were able to do in relation to the goal and possible next steps
•    Using curriculum documents, pacing guides and formative assessment to inform these next steps when developing lesson plans

Egan is pleased with the results so far. “Students are showing growth in how they see themselves as math learners – taking more risks with their learning, participating more, and an improved level of engagement.”

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