Typically, we think of student learning as taking place within and because of the instructional core—the relationship between teachers, students, and instructional materials that drives learning. But in 2021 the Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) at Columbia University published a study that highlighted the ways COVID-19 fundamentally transformed and expanded the instructional core to include families as a fourth anchor.
(Chu, Clay, and McCarty 2021)
For many schools, outside of periodic parent–teacher conferences or curriculum nights, families have historically largely been left out of the day-to-day instructional process. But in 2020 teachers became dependent on families’ engagement with academics, effectively overnight, to support daily learning as students’ homes transformed into classrooms. The CPRL study set out to understand these evolving family–school dynamics and to examine the role high-quality instructional materials played in the process (Chu, Clay, and McCarty 2021).
The study began with a systematic literature review on the instructional core, high-quality instructional materials, professional learning, family engagement, and emerging research on school operations during the pandemic. The researchers then identified and recruited school sites that were using high-quality instructional materials in at least one subject to provide insight into teaching and learning with families as part of the instructional core (Chu, Clay, and McCarty 2021).
We were thrilled to see that six of the nine sites selected for the study used Wit & Wisdom® and/or Eureka Math® and to read about ways our curricula and embedded resources improved families’ ability to support student learning at home during COVID-19.
(Chu, Clay, and McCarty 2021, 18)
At Great Minds®, we are proud to support families as learning partners and take great care to build transparency and family support resources into all our curricula. Features including Family Tip Sheets, Homework Helpers, grade-level and module maps, and at-home activities allow families to be informed and active participants in their child’s learning. The vital importance of family–school partnerships was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this expanded instructional core is likely here to stay as families continue to play a greater role in their child’s education than ever before. That’s why family engagement and support have been, and will continue to be, at our programs’ core.
(Chu, Clay, and McCarty 2021, 15)
Decades of research show that when families are involved with schools, students learn more and are more likely to advance to post-secondary education. High-quality instructional materials—such as Eureka Math, Eureka Math2™, Wit & Wisdom, and PhD Science®—can provide an essential coordinating and educative structure that guides educators and families to deepen their partnership and grow their capacity to support instruction (Chu, Clay, and McCarty 2021).
(Chu, Clay, and McCarty 2021, 10)
Join us on September 21 at 4 P.M. Eastern for a free webinar on family engagement. The one-hour webinar will begin with an overview of the research out of CPRL followed by a moderated panel discussion on successful family engagement.
Check out the following resources for more detail on how Great Minds curricula support families.
Curriculum-Specific Resource Pages
- Eureka Math: https://greatminds.org/eurekamath/families
- Eureka Math2: https://greatminds.org/eureka-math-squared-family-resources (English); https://greatminds.org/es/eureka-math-squared-recursos-para-la-familia (Spanish)
- Wit & Wisdom: https://greatminds.org/english/families
- PhD Science: https://ww.greatminds.org/en/science-familyoverview
Articles and Blog Posts
- Engaging Families in Wit & Wisdom
- Eureka Math at Home: Supporting Families from the Start
- Extending Your Classroom Community with Family Resources
- Why Parents Will Want Eureka Math
- 4 Ways to Address Your Child’s COVID-Era Learning Gaps
- Why Letting Your Child Struggle with Math is Okay
Chu, Elizabeth, Andrea Clay, and Grace McCarty. 2021. "Fundamental 4: Pandemic Learning Reveals the Value of High-Quality Instructional Materials to Educator-Family-Student Partnerships." Columbia University Center for Public Research and Leadership. July 2021. https://cprl.law.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/content/Publications/CPRL_2021_Fundamental%204_Final.pdf.
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Alyssa has nearly a decade of education research experience. She has led equity and student success research to support K-12 public school districts across the country in addressing their most pressing challenges, including college access, mental health, social emotional learning, and racial justice. Alyssa holds a B.A. in Psychology and Global Studies and an M.Ed. in Globalization and Educational Change from Lehigh University.