Math Learning at PAS

Developing conceptual understanding in mathematics is an important life skill, and our faculty and leadership have been engaged in a number of important actions as we continue to review and update what and why our students learn what they learn in each grade level, and introduce systems to help support their learning.

Updated PYP Math Curriculum

Starting in May, our Secondary Math Coordinator, Carlos Cortez, and PYP Coordinator, Nikki Merval, reviewed our PYP scope and sequence document which outlines the progression of learning for all learners from PlayKids to Grade 5.  Working on the recommendations from Jennifer Watnall Chang, an international math consultant who worked with the school in 221-2022, they use the IB Scope & Sequence, and New York State Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards to:

  • Articulate the continuum of learning from PlayKids to Grade 5
  • Provide greater guidance for how to develop mathematical understanding during each year of learning.
  • Provide guidance about what it looks like when learners:
    • Construct mathematical understanding
    • Transfer  meaning into symbols
    • Apply their understanding

An important component was looking at the transition from Grade 5 to Grade 6, and ensuring that students graduate from Primary equipped with the understanding and skills to have success in Middle School and beyond.

In June and July, Nikki worked with all  PYP faculty to review the updated scope and sequence to:

  • Align the areas of learning with the Units of Inquiry (UOI) at each grade level.
  • Identify which aspects will be integrated fully into the UOI, and which will be delivered as “standalone” areas focused solely on math.
  • Determine the best timing of when specific areas are taught to ensure that it aligns with the context of each grade level.

This information was completed prior to starting classes, and the teachers will be using this new scope and sequence to ensure that our students are learning in a way that is appropriately rigorous, developmentally appropriate, aligned across the grades, and aligned across each grade level. 

Enhanced Professional Collaboration

This year, we have expanded our math team to welcome Maureen Harder to our MYP team, joining Carlos, Kattia, Lisa and Molly. Bringing an additional person to this department provides us with the opportunity to implement new structures to support math learning across the school by:

  • Providing for co-teaching/ push-in models in Secondary School to support in-class differentiation and
  • Providing specialist math support from Secondary in the PYP collaborative planning sessions and after-school professional learning opportunities.

Our colleagues in the Math and PYP teams will be working together over the coming weeks to develop and embed these new ways of working together, with a view to improving our support for all learners in mathematics.

Tiered Intervention Teams

This year, we will be implementing Tiered Intervention Teams which will meet systematically to review each student and propose next steps in their learning journey.  These teams will involve the

  • Homeroom Teacher
  • Learning Specialist 
  • Classroom Assistant (PYP)
  • Member of School Leadership Team 
  • Other specialists (math expert, psychologist etc.) as appropriate.

This team will work to identity:

  • Tier 1: Universal Supports: which are focused on providing universal support to all students within the general education setting. 
  • Tier 2: Targeted Interventions: which provide targeted support to students who require additional assistance beyond what is provided in Tier 1.
  • Tier 3: Intensive Interventions: for students who require significant and individualized interventions beyond Tier 1 and Tier 2. 

The teams will meet each rotation to analyze 6 students to:

  • Review evidence of their learning progress
  • Review evidence and impact of strategies that have been (un)successful in support that child’s learning 
  • Identify which tier of is appropriate for each and 
  • Establish agreements for next steps in that child’s learning journey, who is responsible for specific strategies, interventions, or supports (Teacher, Learning Assistant, Learning Specialist etc.), and how learning growth and impact will be measured.

This new structure represents an important approach to supporting student learning and will ensure:

  • Each student receives targeted, personalized focus over the course of each 3 or 4 rotations.
  • A team-based approach which uses the range of expertise in our teaching and learning support teams.
  • Systematic support and intervention systems which are agreed and measured over time.
  • A systemic approach to supporting learning across our programs.

Individual Action Plans

To complement the above, our teams have developed an Individual Action Plan to support students in Tier 2 and 3; these action plans will provide specific support strategies and provide for a common and consistent approach to supporting students.  

Online Platforms

Our PYP team will be using IXL, and our MYP and DP teams will use iMath to complement in-class learning, and provide students with important diagnostic information, and pathways to deepen understanding of important mathematical concepts.  If you have any questions about these platforms, please contact your classroom teacher who can provide you with login details for your child.  Next week our PYP team will be running diagnostic assessments via IXL which will provide important baseline data as we start the year.


Alan Wrafter

General Director

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