Math Task Force - September 25, 2015

On May 5, 2015 my motion to convene a Math Task Force was unanimously supported by the Board of Trustees.

The motion was:

“That the board convene a Math Task Force to formalize a plan and a process to address improvement in math performance.”

During my 2014 campaign I talked about the board’s declining scores on the EQAO in math, particularly in grade 6, and the lagging scores in grade 9 applied math. Remember that the EQAO is a measure of student outcomes. A declining score is an issue especially considering the research which correlates EQAO results in grades 3 and 6 with long-term outcomes. The purpose of the Math Task Force is not to address the EQAO scores per se, but to authentically address math achievement and challenges for kids. The EQAO math scores will be one of the most important indicators of success. This distinction is critical because the key question is then “how do we improve math outcomes for kids” rather than “how do we improve EQAO scores.”

September 25 marked the first meeting of the Math Task Force. It was incredible! There are over 30 people on the Task Force who are very passionate about math and student achievement including trustees, teachers, teacher consultants, principals, parents, representatives from the Ministry of Education, and 3 math professors.

Superintendent Clara Howitt led us through several small and large group activities to finalize the subcommittees and start to think about the issues we will address in our research and outreach. At this time, the subcommittees are:

  • Curriculum and Resources
  • Learning Environment
  • System Practices
  • Professional Development
  • Building Reciprocal Partnerships Locally and Globally

I will be an active member of the Building Reciprocal Partnerships Committee. This committee will be working on obtaining feedback from various voices in the GECDSB community including students, parents, and teachers, as well as external stakeholders such as post-secondary institutions and other community agencies. These stakeholders are “key informants” and their feedback will be used to help develop the recommendations which will come to the Board of Trustees in February of 2016.

This is a very passionate and ambitious group of individuals that have come together to work toward and advocate for student success in math. The full Task Force will meet monthly and the subcommittees will meet and work together as needed in between. Our next full meeting is on October 16 at which time all members will come together to share and discuss the work of their subcommittees. Please feel free to send me any feedback any time. I am very hopeful and excited about the possibilities!

Jessica

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