03/28/19

IMS + SchoolKit = A Partnership Made in Heaven

By IMS Staff

When we decided to take the plunge and dive deep into a network-wide implementation of Eureka Math – a popular, standards-aligned curriculum – our IMS academic team knew that for our math vision to be realized, it was going to require the time, attention and commitment deserving of a project of this scale and depth. Not only would it be a network-wide change to recognize and solidify best-practices of teaching, but for the implementation to be successful, it would require hands-on engagement and training for teachers and leaders. That’s where SchoolKit came in – to serve as a comprehensive professional learning partner to Independence Mission Schools.

“Our mathematics vision is to place rigorous, standards-aligned, on-grade math content in front of every student in grades Pre-K to 5, every day, and support teachers and leaders in that effort.”

– Greg Vincent, Chief Academic Officer, IMS

A year into our partnership with SchoolKit, Ethan Mitnick, President, and his staff, have become close partners to our organization. They work very closely with the IMS academic team on everything from strategic implementation and professional learning to change management and measuring impact through data analysis.

The Inside Scoop

So, how does this partnership play out inside the walls of our schools? First, SchoolKit supported us to launch the Math Steering Committee that help lay the foundation for launching the new curriculum in our schools. Our SchoolKit colleagues can be found at our monthly school leadership meetings, providing comprehensive training around equipping their teachers with the necessary tools and practices. You will also see SchoolKit collaborators sitting side-by-side with the academic team in intensive bi-weekly planning meetings. If you walk into any network-wide professional development session, you might even mistake SchoolKit team members for IMS leaders, because they roll-up their sleeves and deliver practical training to our teachers to help build their capacity and provide the support that enables them to go deeper into math content knowledge.

Not Your Mother’s Math

Most of us were taught how to do things in math, but not why. As a result, many U.S. students have had trouble with math and hit a wall in understanding as they get older and proceed into middle and high school. This is why current expectations for mathematics emphasize rigor and conceptual understanding over following routine procedures.

Teaching conceptually is a big shift for teachers, because most of us didn’t experience it as students. To support teachers in using the materials with integrity and creating experiences that allow their students to do the deep thinking on their own – a hallmark of high-quality math instruction – IMS and SchoolKit collect data regularly on Eureka Math implementation and talk with teachers and leaders about their experiences. All the information gathered is used to make responsive adjustments to training, professional development and coaching to ensure that teachers and leaders get the support where they need it most.

“This is the most thoughtfully and intentionally designed curriculum implementation partnership that our team has ever worked on or seen in action – for math or literacy.”

– Ethan Mitnick, President, SchoolKit

Mutual Admiration

SchoolKit has really inspired us and challenged us to think differently about math, and for them, the feeling is mutual. According to Mitnick, “We admire the leaders’ and the teachers’ willingness to try out the resources and keep an open mind about growing their own knowledge of the math content. As agents of change in their classrooms, they are doing great work. It’s a really exciting partnership.”

As the partnership unfolds, we are excited to keep seeing progress and growth in our leaders, teachers and students. As grateful as we are to SchoolKit for their support and collaboration on this important undertaking – we couldn’t do it without them and it certainly wouldn’t be as much fun – it also wouldn’t be possible without the deep commitment and partnership of our teachers and school leaders who are working hard each day to bring our vision of math to life in our students.

“SchoolKit has been deeply invested in our success in using Eureka this year. Our SchoolKit coach, Andrea, has been committed to giving us and our teachers every possible support and resource to ensure strong student outcomes in math this year.”

– Stephen Janczewski, Principal, St. Malachy