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Math instructional coach for Antioch Public Schools Karen Nuxoll recently discussed the school’s experience after one year of using Eureka Math. Antioch Public Schools is a 3,000-student district in Illinois, near the Wisconsin border.

How did you get started with Eureka Math?

During the 2013–14 school year, we explored various tools and resources that were Common Core-aligned, provided support for teachers, and had the required rigor indicated in the standards. Teachers discovered EngageNY and suggested using [it]. Teacher feedback indicated they liked the comprehensiveness and rigor of the materials. The district decided to pilot the program, becoming early adopters. Grades 2–5 used the Eureka materials for the 2014–15 school year.

What were the results?

We liked the modeling, support, and structure, but we had trouble with pacing. We didn’t want to move on until kids had mastered material in [each] module, and there were gaps in knowledge. As a result of using the materials over time, math instruction delivery was changing. We looked at using the tools to differentiate and meet student needs, and focused on encouraging the practice standards while teaching the content standards. We quickly identified student knowledge gaps as we implemented the materials, [so] we focused on filling those gaps and are becoming more vertically aligned.

What’s changed for you going into year two?

Several teachers attended the Skokie [professional development] training over the summer, which was incredibly helpful. We have more understanding of how to adjust lessons, allowing us to personalize the materials. We don’t always have to teach whole lessons during each class. We have come to realize that mastery at the end of the year is the focus, rather than mastery at the end of each module. We are fortunate to have extra time during our school day that we can use to focus on addressing gaps. If students haven’t mastered everything after Module 1, that’s okay. We need to ensure exposure to these standards throughout the year.

How did students perform?

Our students have done very well. The problem sets are an opportunity to work independently or in small groups, providing practice and homework support.

What was the response from parents?

Parents often struggle to find the support to help their children. They are used to materials that explain the focus of the lesson and provide examples. This is not a new feeling, as our districts’ previous math program presented a similar challenge when using different algorithms to solve problems. We have discovered a variety of parent tools/support from Louisiana, California, and New York. We were also very happy when Great Minds unveiled Homework Helpers. Having these resources will help our parents support their children.

© Great Minds 2016