Math Task Force - November 10, 2017

The Math Task Force met today to discuss next steps. We did a status review of our recommendations, dug into the data, and had a great discussion about student and teacher voice.

We learned in October that our EQAO scores did not meet the targets this year. At the MTF meeting we discussed that most of the recommendations from the MTF have been implemented, but some are targeted for implementation through 2017-18. Moreover, some will be ongoing and evolving such as professional development and alignment of all departments to support math, the goal being to ensure that we are changing the math culture. To date, it appears that our efforts in this area are working well.

There is a section on the EQAO that asks students about their attitudes and beliefs about reading, writing, and math. There were some interesting findings this time around suggesting that we may be making gains in changing attitudes about math. Specifically, more students are indicating that they like math and believe they are good at math. As disposition is a factor that relates to math achievement for students, this is a good sign, and it was one of the recommendations of the MTF.  

We also heard that there is great excitement and interest from teachers and administrators receiving the math PD. We heard that teachers have a real desire for this PD and our teacher consultants are very busy with many requests, but a major challenge is getting to everyone. We do have about 3500 teachers in our board. Thus, this is a very large implementation project that does not just take a few hours of PD. The effort needs to be sustained. 

We also discussed the need to focus more of our efforts on supporting parents. Like teachers, parents also want to do their best to help students succeed. Some schools are already doing work in this area. For example, Talbot Trail is holding a Math-a-Thon with students and their parents next week. We are looking for ways that we can do something as a system so that some of the workload is lifted from individual schools. 
Every time we meet I am in awe at all the work that is being done on math and the positivity from staff! We will continue to work together to boost student outcomes. Our strategy is sought after by school boards across the province. As one of our external advisors said yesterday, "We know what we need to do at GECDSB and we are set to do it. The challenge is getting to everyone in the system."  
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Jessica Sartori