The purchase of TeamBoard’s interactive whiteboards and the adoption of Pearson’s EnVisionMATH as the elementary math curriculum have been the latest initiatives in District 116’s restructuring plan.
Phil Georgia, the Principal of District 116’s Murphy Elementary School, sees the combination of these as a giant leap forward instructionally and academically. “We have been extremely fortunate to receive the interactive whiteboards and additional student computers at the same time as the new math curriculum so that the extensive online resources for instruction, practice, and intervention can maximize student learning,” he said.
At Murphy, teachers have been busy learning how to use the interactive whiteboards in connection with the new math program and its resources. Kathy Williams, a fourth grade teacher at Murphy, has experienced a real change in her classroom. “Students are excited to use the TeamBoard and have been really engaged in learning,” she stated. “Paired with EnVisionMATH’s instructional videos, the TeamBoard has also changed how I teach. When students are interacting with content through technology, I am able to focus on their learning needs and able to determine the gaps in their knowledge.”
Knowing that new programs are only as effective as the training provided to the end users, District 116 has made a commitment to provide the necessary support and professional development to ensure the successful implementation of EnVisionMATH and the TeamBoards. Math coaches were hired for each of the elementary buildings and a yearlong schedule of workshops was created to continually build the teachers’ knowledge of the program and its resources.
The math coach at Murphy, Walter Pituc, has found his dream job. “I’m working on a Master’s in Instructional Technology so this has been the perfect opportunity to combine my passion for helping teachers with my passion for technology,” he said. “So often technology becomes just another way to present the same information but seeing teachers using technology in a way that affects what students learn and how they learn it, is truly rewarding.”
One of the benefits the program offers is the option of taking the unit tests online. Rather than waiting overnight for a teacher to grade assignments, the online tests provide instant feedback on how well students have mastered the content of the lessons and provide an opportunity for immediate intervention.
The dramatic increases in reading scores after the implementation of Pearson’s Reading Streets last year brings great excitement about the impact the new math program will have. “Using a cutting edge curriculum that aligns with the Common Core standards, connects with classroom technology, and provides a wide range of online resources for instruction, practice and intervention will undoubtedly affect students success in mathematics,” said Assistant Principal Jennifer Arroyo, “We are excited to be giving students the technology skills they will need for the future and giving them the academic knowledge that will open many career doors.”
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