The Maine Department of Education’s Office of Special Services is pleased to report the accomplishments of the Math4Maine (Math4ME) project, and announce plans for scaling up. Currently, the initiative is concluding the second year of implementation and planning for year-3.
Maine’s State Systematic Improvement plan, a requirement of the federal Office of Special Programs, Math4ME is designed to implement evidence-based professional development to improve math proficiency of students with disabilities in grades 3-8 and to improve instructional practices of teachers of these students.
Math4ME training is grounded in hands-on activities and interactive professional learning experiences that allow participants to gain a deeper understanding of core concepts of mathematics and strategies. Program content includes operations with whole numbers, fractions and decimals, and algebraic and geometric reasoning; problem solving skills and processes; and assessment, diagnostic probes, and formative feedback.
The Maine DOE developed a 5-day training module that includes a 3-day summer training and 2 training days during the school year. Throughout the year, teachers receive support from the Department, differentiated according to teacher experience in the program. All teachers receive support cycles, which include classroom observation and written feedback. In addition, participants have access to many resources, including a Math4ME Informational Padlet Website and a monthly newsletter.
Over the last two years, the project has trained two cohorts that comprise 34 teachers, 1 teacher mentor, and 3 district math coaches. These participants represent 17 schools from 7 School Administrative Units (SAUs). To date, findings on the effectiveness of Math4ME on student and teacher performance has been positive. Year-1 student data shows that students taught by a Math4ME-trained teacher performed better on the Maine Education Assessment for math compared to students who were not taught by Math4ME trained teachers. In addition, teacher surveys and evaluation results indicate that the training has had a positive impact on teachers’ knowledge and equipped them with multiple ways to represent mathematical ideas.
Feedback from Math4ME participants and an administrator include:
“The Math4ME work has allowed me to view math in a whole new way. I find that I am less focused on a student’s ability to solve a problem correctly and more focused on understanding and exploring that student’s decision making process in solving the problem. This allows students to understand and appreciate the work they do in class, as well as give them the real-world skills they will need in the future. It has also helped me to evolve as a teacher, to take a step back and ask myself what I want students to get out of a lesson. I would highly recommend the Math4ME program to all. – Shannon Wooten, Teacher, Greene Central School
“Math4ME has trained me how to strategically question students in order to get them thinking mathematically. Math4ME training and resources provide the insight teachers need to encourage mathematical behaviors such as logical thinking, testing conjectures, and meaningful reflection while problem solving.” – Bridgette Ortiz, Teacher, Bowdoinham Community School
“The feedback from my teachers has been extremely positive. They love having the coach come into their classroom to observe and offer feedback. The rich 1-on-1 discussions about their mathematical teaching practices that followed the lessons were some of the best professional development they have ever experienced.” – Danielle Harris, Principal, Leeds Central School
A Cohort 3 training is scheduled for August with teachers and coaches from returning schools as well as participants from three new schools from two SAUs. The Office of Special Services will continue to support scale up of Math4ME by building the infrastructure and capacity needed to improve math proficiency for Maine children with disabilities and improve the instructional practices of their teachers.