Meeting Notes - April 5, 2016

Tonight's meeting was all about math! Almost one year ago tonight, my motion to convene a Math Task Force to formulate a plan and a process to address improvement in math performance was unanimously supported by all trustees. The motion received coverage by the Windsor Star here and here.

The report was presented at the Education Committee tonight in the form of a final draft prior to trustee reading. It was included as part of the agenda and was posted publicly on the board website. It can be found here.

For a review of the work of the Math Task Force over the last year, please see my MTF blog. I am very proud that we had over 40 members including trustees, principals and vice principals, teachers, parents, program staff, representatives from our local post secondary institutions, and key advisors from other universities. We had input from over 2000 students, and about 900 teachers, as well as 900 parents. We also had input from every administrator, amounting to around 90 principals and VPs. We conducted literature reviews, classroom visits, questionnaires, and interviews - and we even did math to remember what it is like to learn math. We wanted to walk the walk!

There was a full house at the meeting with many members of the MTF taking turns to present our findings and 14 recommendations, and many others in attendance to show their support, including Reciprocal Learning university students visiting from China. The report was very well received and we celebrated in true MTF spirit - with a math-themed cake. I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the dedicated staff on our board and in our broader community.

Next steps include operationalizing the recommendations; a short-term and longer-term plan will be developed over the next couple of months. The report and recommendations are very comprehensive and these plans will help ensure that the implementation is done right. Some changes are already occurring, such as updates to the GECDSB Math Vision, improving home and school communication, and developing position papers in 5 big areas which can be found in the report linked above:

1. Expertise of All

2. Supporting All Math Learners Through Responsive Learning Environments

3. Creating International Conversations

4. Rote versus Discovery

5. The Basics about Back to Basics.

More of these position papers will be developed as needed.

When I brought the motion forward I said that I believe math is really important for providing students with the best education they need to achieve success in life, and that math promises great things for this community. The Math Task Force was initiated with these principles in mind and I am excited to track progress over the coming years!!


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Jessica Sartori