Math Resource Grant: Developing Professionals and Cultivating a Love of Numeracy
by Anita Brown, Program Officer
“Our students’ love for mathematics and curiosity in approaching mathematical tasks needs to be harnessed starting at the foundation of our LUCHA leaders’ education…. If we can foster in our students the belief that they can be great at math, that mistakes help them learn, that they can use their reasoning skills to solve problems, then we know students will develop deeper levels of mathematical understanding.” –Kasturi Basu, Instructional Coach, LUCHA Elementary
PVF’s Mathematics Resource Grant program is open to infant, toddler, and preschool teachers in programs serving low-income families and TK-3rd grade public school teachers in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. Funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation, the program provides grants of up to $500 for math books, materials, software, manipulatives, etc.
While we like to focus our grants on classroom tools and materials, we also do support resources for professional development, as in the case of LUCHA Elementary. Ms. Kasturi Basu, an instructional coach at the school, wrote in her request: “As our staff took the time to analyze 2016-2017 achievement data, we found large gaps in our students’ performance in mathematics…. With the onset of the Common Core Standards, we have found that our teaching practices did not push students to the deeper levels of conceptual understanding…. During our Instructional Leadership Meetings, our teachers recommended the idea of engaging in a book club as a staff around Jo Boaler’s book Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students’ Potential through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages, and Innovative Teaching.”
PVF’s Mathematics Resource Grant allowed each teacher to purchase a copy of this book for their staff book club.
Ms. Basu reported, “Since October, our grade levels have been meeting each month to discuss what they have read in the book and put the ideas in action in their own classrooms. We have focused on redesigning our fact fluency practice and strengthening our mathematics instruction to engage students in deeper thinking about math. This work is impacting 315 LUCHA students as we help them to see themselves as mathematicians and cultivate their love of numeracy!”
Thanks to the Heising-Simons Foundation, we are able to get critical math materials and professional development for public school classrooms and teachers who often struggle with limited resources. We are proud of the impact we are making!