See how this Texas district goes the extra mile to give its math teachers the resources they need to succeed.
Success Spotlight 3 of 3 in our series celebrating Spring Independent School District. See Part 1, Success Spotlight: Phonisha Hawkins Revitalizes Math Education, and Part 2, Success Spotlight: Teacher Creativity Shines in Texas Middle School Math Classrooms.
Professional learning communities.
Each of these is a vital component of professional learning that empowers teachers to facilitate classrooms where deep learning happens—and the middle school math program of Spring Independent School District in Houston, Texas, has found just the right combination to succeed.
Check out the creative and effective ways Spring ISD helps their teachers (and coaches!) feel confident and prepared to help their students. We hope their story inspires you just as much as it inspires us to continue supporting teachers in the crucial jobs that they do.
Math Professional Learning Communities
Teachers work better when they work together, and Spring ISD has taken this to heart by giving their staff a wealth of opportunities to gather in professional learning communities (PLCs). Whether they’re working together to dig into the curriculum or discuss best practices, Spring ISD’s middle school math teachers have some of the best PLCs we’ve seen!
Internalization of the math is where good teaching starts.
That’s why the middle school teachers of Spring ISD began the 2022-23 school year with a bang when they met in early August to work through the math and intentionally plan instruction to ensure that students would have high-quality learning experiences.
As Phonisha Hawkins, Middle School Math Specialist, tweeted, “Love to see the results of internalization because it yields unmatched instruction for your kids!”
Curriculum Sneak Peeks are held throughout the school year to allow teachers time to preview and explore upcoming topics in the Texas Math Solution, and it’s working wonders for their teachers.
Amber Devasier, 6th grade math teacher, said it all in her reply to Mrs. Hawkins’ tweet: “It was so much fun! It’s amazing that even though I have taught ratios for 5 years, I am still learning something new!”
Collaboration at it's best! Thank you @evo_newso for joining me at our 2nd @SpringISD MS MATH Sneak Peek. Ratio table strategies, slope on the stairs, emoji scale factor...all using our @carnegielearn curriculum @rlc1908 @DueittEagles @TwinCreeksMS1 @BaileyMSBucs pic.twitter.com/zG14x762fA— Phonisha Hawkins M.Ed (@HawksMathamagic) October 19, 2022
Math Coaches Support Professional Learning
Spring ISD is lucky to have a group of nine middle school math coaches who are always on hand to support the professional learning and classroom practices of their math teachers. And as with PLCs, coaches’ support takes many forms.
Math coaches need their own time to gather, plan, and internalize, too, right?
Cue the Coaches Collaboratives, sessions that Mrs. Hawkins organizes throughout the school year.
In October, they covered topics such as small group instruction, intervention, and assessments.
Glad to spend the day with all 9 @SpringISD MS Math Coaches! Assessments, @carnegielearn coaching with Dr. Wil, small group instruction, intervention...we did it all today! @rlc1908 @SISD_CoA @LaTracyHarris @teacher_jessie @coachdwhitaker @TheRealCandaceJ pic.twitter.com/0Z03oWmtZj— Phonisha Hawkins M.Ed (@HawksMathamagic) October 12, 2022
Coaches also met with Carnegie Learning Managers of School Partnerships, Wil Simpson and Maggie Queen, and Customer Success Manager, Iqra Beg, in November to examine the Texas Education Association Classroom Observation Tool.
So proud of the work the @SpringISD MS Math coaches did today in the purpose of purposeful coaching! ❤️— Phonisha Hawkins M.Ed (@HawksMathamagic) November 15, 2022
Learning in the AM, Living it in the PM #mathlearningwalks @carnegielearn @Shuester @rlc1908 @LaTracyHarris @SISD_CoA @teacher_jessie @MrsPrimeMath @TheRealCandaceJ pic.twitter.com/MdM39oQGp7
And after February’s session, Gifted and Talented Specialist Shontel Newsome tweeted, “My biggest takeaway was how to support productive struggle.”
When the Spring ISD middle school math coaches and instructional specialists take their talents on the road, Dueitt Middle School Principal Kimberly Dussette can’t help but exclaim that their teacher moves are magical!
Here, math instructional specialist Alexis Denton models a lesson to re-engage students with a previously taught concept.
“Love it!” Mrs. Hawkins replied. “Intervention and active monitoring for all students!”
A special shout-out to the Spring ISD middle school math coaches:
Caregivers Try the Math, Too!
Spring ISD has also gone the extra mile to involve parents and caregivers in the math education of their children, a practice that research identifies as crucial to student achievement.
During these events, called Parent Collaboratives and Cookies and Curriculum (who can say no to a cookie?), caregivers were invited to schools to experience what their children are doing in the classroom.
Thank you to all of our parents, faculty, and staff who came out to support Cookies & Curriculum!!! We appreciate all of the coaches, leaders, and teachers who made it happen. pic.twitter.com/RnOOHKHqJ8— BaileyMSBucs (@BaileyMSBucs) December 17, 2022
They got to try out MATHia (the online math platform that personalizes instruction based on how students learn over time), check out STAAR practice questions, and even participate in collaborative learning activities.
MS Curriculum supporting @teacher_jessie and @TwinCreeksMS1 on their parent collab day! Parents experiencing @carnegielearn with @Wondrousepp and STAAR 2.0 ⭐— Phonisha Hawkins M.Ed (@HawksMathamagic) February 17, 2023
Parent: "Is this what my kid has to do?" Yes ma'am and that's why you're here today! Great work TCMS!@evo_newso pic.twitter.com/oJLLK5xYbk
Professional Learning Support
The best leaders seek opportunities for continuous improvement, and sometimes getting support from a professional learning team outside your own district can bring a fresh perspective and new skills to the table.
When you show up to Saturday learning and #Wil from @carnegielearn says let's internalize over Olive Garden ��❤️. So proud of the discussions! @SpringISD @rlc1908 @Shuester @SISD_CoA @LaTracyHarris @BMSPatriots @BaileyMSBucs @TwinCreeksMS1 @DueittEagles pic.twitter.com/5TyQsKL6iv— Phonisha Hawkins M.Ed (@HawksMathamagic) August 27, 2022
So whether Manager of School Partnerships Wil Simpson gets to spend a Saturday afternoon digging into math over some yummy Italian food, or Manager of School Partnerships Koko Sims starts the new year with planning for small group instruction, we’re always honored to support Spring ISD staff.
@SpringISD MS Math starting 2023 with planning for small group instruction and supporting our special populations. "When we plan for our most vulnerable students, we plan for ALL students." -@rlc1908— Phonisha Hawkins M.Ed (@HawksMathamagic) January 3, 2023
Thank you to our math coaches and our @carnegielearn reps @wondrousepp Maggie! pic.twitter.com/PKEC9fIAQe
We’ve had a blast shining the spotlight on Spring ISD’s implementation of the middle school Texas Math Solution throughout this series. The passion that Spring ISD’s teachers and administration bring to math education is unmatched, and it’s our honor to support their endeavors.
Be sure to check out Spring ISD's other Success Spotlights—maybe you’ll find some inspiration for math program implementation in your district!
Before joining Carnegie Learning's marketing team in 2022, Karen spent 16 years teaching mathematics and social studies in Ohio classrooms. She has a passion for inclusive education and believes that all learners can be meaningfully included in academic settings from day one. As a former math and special education teacher, she is excited to provide educators with the latest in best-practices content so that they can set all students on the path to becoming confident "math people."Explore more related to this author
It was so much fun! It’s amazing that even though I have taught ratios for 5 years, I am still learning something new!
Amber Devasier, Spring ISD 6th Grade Math Teacher