Old Adobe Union School District has taken on the challenge of higher math expectations and has made significant gains over the past year and a half. After a fun, open-ended, adoption process, our schools recommended Bridges, from the Math Learning Center, for adoption at Kindergarten through 5th grade, and CPM at 6th Grade. In 2015-2016, OAUSD embarked on its first year of implementation of these new programs with professional development for our teachers.
Throughout the district, teachers explored the new programs and collaborated with each other. The result: Over 5% more of our students met or exceeded the standards on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test given by the State of California. These were some of the larger gains in Sonoma County.
Throughout our district, we were hungry for more learning and believed that we could do even better. Teacher leaders stepped up to attend a three day training in the late spring and a the K-5 level teachers are meeting four times during the year to prepare for each teaching unit, learn new instructional games and techniques, discuss the best technology pieces to support math learning, and analyze student work and performance. These sessions have received rave reviews and teachers are even more impressed with Bridges and CPM in Year 2. In addition to the end of the year state test, we also regularly monitor student learning through STAR math, a test that is used nationally. At the end of the first trimester our students were learning at an acclerated rate as compared with similar groups of students.
Tests are one way to measure our progress in math, smiles are another one. Students collaborate more with each other, talk math more, diagram and write more, and play more math games. I observe math classes often and students are highly engaged and clearly gaining confidence. When I ask teachers about math they will most often immediately break into a smile before launching into a testimonial about how well math is going and how engaged students are in math learning. It is not an accident. It has required establishing new, higher expectations, searching out the right materials for our students to meet those learning expectations, and extensive and ongoing professional learning to improve math instruction.