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EUREKA’S IMPACT ON TEACHER AND STUDENT PROGRESS in Jacksonville, FL


Beth Higgins is a Grade 1 teacher at R.V. Daniels Elementary School, of Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, Florida. This is their first year using Eureka Math and they’re already looking forward to how students and teachers will continue their success with the curriculum next year.


How is Eureka Math different from other math curricula you’ve used?

Eureka Math is more challenging and engaging than any math curricula I have used over many years. Eureka Math is rigorous and has high expectations, yet the alignment to the Common Core State Standards is coherent and the progression is logical. The workbooks are student-friendly. I love the fact that fluency practice is part of the package. The Sprints have a very important role in students’ mastery of mental math. The application problem, concept development, problem set, and exit ticket format are exactly what are needed.

How can school leaders and our team at Eureka help teachers make the transition?

I think that team collaboration is the key. Administrators and coaches need to encourage “buy in” from all teachers. Sometimes when forced to teach new and difficult curriculum, teachers will concentrate on the negative. It is vital to the success of the program and student mastery to be positive and to give it your best.

Training is absolutely necessary. Thankfully, I have the subscription to the Eureka Digital Suite, which includes the Teach Eureka Video Series. This has been a key element to our success.

Before teaching some of the more challenging lessons, my team watches the video together, and collaborates on effective teaching strategies. Teachers who feel confident with the curriculum can be math leaders and provide support at their school. At R.V. Daniels Elementary, each grade level meets with administrators and coaches once a week to plan the next week’s lessons and analyze data. This approach not only helps with implementation, but serves as team building as well.

What have been the biggest challenges? Biggest successes?

The biggest challenge has been learning and teaching the new curriculum at the same time. We had a one-day training several days before the start of the school year. However, we don’t have a math coach at my school, so my team immediately began researching the Great Minds Eureka Math website. Thank goodness.

How do you think next year, your second year of implementation, might differ from this year?

I am so excited for next year. We just had a vertical articulation planning session, and I felt so good when it was over. We, the first-grade teachers, told kindergarten teachers our concerns and successes, and the second-grade teachers told us their concerns and successes. Next year will be so much easier. The teachers will have the background knowledge, vocabulary, and best practices in their math tool kits.

What advice do you have for educators or administrators thinking about moving to Eureka Math?

Give it a real go. Teach it with fidelity. Be patient with team members and students. Be supportive to team members, parents, and students. You will see growth. 

What kind of learning gains have your students made in math?

The students are thinking in ways that I have not seen before. They are using strategies that are appropriate for each individual. It is amazing to see them read, draw, write, and explain their thoughts, strategies, and mathematical reasoning. The majority of our students are showing mastery with the problem sets, exit slips, and mid- and end-module assessments.

I have heard some parents and teachers comment that it is too hard. However, if taught with diligence and integrity, this curriculum can do amazing things for the young learner. My first students are understanding concepts that I have never been able to successfully teach in the past. The progression is perfect for teachers and students.

Have you used the Eureka resources, such as professional development tools, parent tip sheets, and website connecting Eureka users?

The website is outstanding. The Teach Eureka video series is so teacher-friendly and supportive. My principal has been instrumental in providing us with every single teaching material needed, from Rekenreks to rubber bands.

How do you think next year might differ from this year?

I am so excited for next year. We just had a vertical articulation planning session, and I felt so good when it was over. We, the first-grade teachers, told kindergarten teachers our concerns and successes, and the second-grade teachers told us their concerns and successes. Next year will be so much easier. The teachers will have the background knowledge, vocabulary, and best practices in their math tool kits.

What advice do you have for educators or administrators thinking about moving to Eureka Math?

Give it a real go. Teach it with fidelity. Be patient with team members and students. Be supportive to team members, parents, and students. You will see growth.

© Great Minds 2016