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Jamie Carruth is the Administrative Dean at Highland Elementary School, a Title I school in East Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This is the school’s second year using Eureka Math.

How is year two with Eureka Math going?

It’s much better this year. Students have a better understanding of the instructional strategies that Eureka uses, such as tape diagrams and number bonds, because of their exposure to them the previous year. They also understand the “why” behind these strategies.

Last year, our teachers had to adjust to a different method of teaching. They were used to teaching math the way they learned math. There was a little pushback at first with teachers, but when they saw the students conceptualizing and not just learning an algorithm they loved the curriculum. Something I hear a lot from teachers is that they wished they had grown up learning math this way.

What looks different today in terms of math instruction in your school?

Students are thinking much more deeply about math instead of just experiencing rote learning. There is much more depth of knowledge and conceptualizing. Also, they’re learning to persevere. This curriculum requires a student to push through until they understand concepts.

Are you seeing early signs of success with Eureka implementation?

Yes. All of our teachers embraced Eureka Math so the transition into the second year was much easier. For example, our 1st-grade teachers taught the curriculum with fidelity last year and the 2nd-grade teachers have commented on their success because of that. That’s been a huge benefit for the students as they enter 2nd grade. Our 2nd-graders are multiplying with the help of the embedded fluencies in the curriculum!

Are there things your teachers have come to learn over their experience with Eureka that might be helpful to others just getting started with the curriculum?

We learned that you can’t wait until the day of a lesson to review the lesson. We now have vertical lesson planning across grade levels. At these meetings, teachers discuss upcoming lessons, give each other teaching ideas, and clear up any possible misconceptions. We also learned that we need to pace our lessons appropriately and consolidate lessons when necessary. The curriculum gives you more than you need, so we had to learn to trim things when necessary.

© Great Minds 2016