Improving math achievement for Maine’s students with disabilities

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Education will provide five days of intensive Foundations of Math training to 35 educators in the Lewiston-Auburn and Turner areas this week and in early August. The training, which begins today, is an integral piece of Maine DOE’s “Math4ME” initiative, designed to improve math achievement for all Maine students.

The greater focus for the first few years of this program will be on students with disabilities in grades K through eight. Trends from the past five years show that students with disabilities score significantly lower on math assessments than their peers who are in regular education. As proven in North Carolina, the Foundations of Math program has resulted in greater gains for students with disabilities.

The program complements existing curriculum by using hands-on explanation, coupled with the verbal interaction which allows teachers to teach math through showing by doing. The Foundations of Math program is about solving problems and improved number sense. “Number sense” is to math what “reading comprehension” is to reading (Journal of Special Education).

Jan Breton, the State Director of Special Services says, “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to work with these schools to offer professional development that is designed to improve instructional practices resulting in improved math achievement for students with disabilities. Evidence from North Carolina causes us to have a strong belief that we can improve math results in Maine as a result of this project.”

Co-developers Drs. Chris Cain and Valarie Faulkner will be on site for all five training days to provide hands-on Foundations of Math training. On Wednesday, June 29, Maine DOE’s Deputy Commissioner Bill Beardsley will join the training at the Tripp Middle School Media Center in Turner.

Maine DOE envisions long-term growth and expansion of the project over the next five years, with more educator training provided in school districts throughout the State. Foundations of Math training is funded through the US DOE Office of Special Services for Maine’s State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG).

Media members are welcome to attend the training on Wednesday, June 29, at the Tripp Middle School Media Center, 65 Matthews Way in Turner at 11 a.m.

For more information, contact Maine DOE’s Consultant for Children with Disabilities Jayne Chase at or call 624-6668 or Director of Communications Anne Gabbianelli at or call 624-6747/592-4439.