After just one full year using Eureka Math®, the 750 students who attend South Milwaukee Middle School have a reason to be proud.
“Our principal is ecstatic. We’ve not had scores like this before,” said Joe Giera, the math coordinator for the 3,300-student School District of South Milwaukee in Wisconsin. “We’re a struggling district where only 40 percent of students are proficient on the state tests. Eureka Math is helping us close the gaps.”
Based on national norms for the Northwest Evaluation Association’s (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress test, 100 percent represents the typical growth in academic performance for each grade level. South Milwaukee Middle School’s students exceeded that mark in math, with two grades almost doubling the expected growth. On average, the school’s 6th graders scored 171.7 percent of expected growth, 7th graders scored 175.5 percent, and 8th graders scored 117.5 percent.
Giera said a handful of teachers were first exposed to Eureka Math through training offered by the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, which was using modules downloaded from the EngageNY website. The teachers started using a few lessons in their classrooms during the 2013–2014 school year, which were so successful that they convinced the middle school to adopt the curriculum for all classes for the 2014–2015 school year.
Principal Jim Hendrickson said adoption started with three 6th grade teachers and then expanded to the entire 6th grade. “We thought we’d ease it into 7th and 8th, but there was so much excitement from teachers, we basically said we’re going all in. It’s just been snowballing since,” he said.
A select group of elementary and high school teachers in the school district also used Eureka Math last year and reported similar positive results. And Giera said the district is considering using the curriculum in more grades as well at some future date. “Teachers love it, how the lessons develop, the rich and deep content, how kids are learning more and can understand the hows and whys of what they are learning,” said Giera.
A major challenge: not enough time to teach all of the content-rich lessons. In response, the school has decided to extend its daily middle school math classes from 55 to 75 minutes, starting this fall. “Teachers are excited,” Giera said.
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Jenny has over a decade of experience in education policy and research. She has worked with states and districts on the development and implementation of college and career readiness policies, especially around the implementation of rigorous standards and high-quality instructional materials. She has extensive knowledge about K–12 standards, graduation requirements, assessments, and accountability systems nationwide. Additionally, she has conducted research for school districts to address pressing needs in those districts. Jenny received her B.A. in English and education from Bucknell University and her M.Ed. in education policy from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.