Dr. Cone’s Perspective

Math (numeracy) has always been a cornerstone in receiving a quality education. Natalia has set one of its three student outcome goals to focus on numeracy: The percentage of 7th-grade students at or above the college and career readiness level (Meets) on STAAR Mathematics will increase from 17% to 32% by the end of the 2021 school year. There are incremental improvements for each year leading to 2021: 2019- 22%, 2020- 27%, 2021- 32%.
The first observation that someone might make is that the percentage of students referred to in the goal is low. Yes, it is low, compared to the percentages we have looked at in the past. Why is there a difference: the state no longer classifies a student’s score into just two categories: 1) meeting expectation or 2) not meet expectation. The state now classifies each student’s score into one of four categories: 1) does not meet grade level, 2) approaches grade level, 3) meets grade level and 4) masters grade level. While the approaches grade level is still passing, a student is not deemed to be performing at the college and career readiness level. Wanting our students to be college and career ready, we set our goals around the “meets grade level” performance level.
So, what are we doing to reach our new student outcome goal in numeracy? We have provided new resources and extensive professional learning for our teachers. First, we have updated many resources: 1) a new aligned math curriculum (GoMath) in grades K-5, 2) adopted a vertically aligned resource (SpringBoard Math) in grades 6-8, and 3) implemented a new adaptive intervention software (Imagine Math) in grades 3-12. Second, we have provided extensive professional learning for our teachers: 1) research based problem solving model, 2) deep dive into mathematics strands and 3) Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID).
Furthermore, we have provided processes for preparing high quality research based instruction and utilized specific protocols to timely review/act upon student data throughout the year.
Next week, I will discuss our Literacy (reading and writing) goal and what we are doing to address Literacy.