Rice University logo
Top blue bar image
For Math Teachers by Math Teachers

Mathematics Transforms Hirsch Elementary School

Wednesday evenings during the 2014 fall semester, the faculty at Hirsch Elementary School in the Spring Independent School District gathered in the school’s library for the popular RUSMP course “Exploring Algebraic Reasoning in the Revised Elementary School Mathematics TEKS.” Hirsch is a neighborhood school with a very diverse population of students (39% Hispanic, 32% African-American, 27% Caucasian) and with 75% of students on free or reduced lunch.

“Changes in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) place more emphasis on algebraic reasoning through the lens of number” according to Carolyn White, RUSMP Director of Elementary Programs. Teachers across the state are concerned about the increased number of questions on the STAAR on teaching standards that previously had not be taught at their grade levels.

Principal Roosevelt Wilson, a past participant of the RUSMP Summer Campus Program, expressed this concern and approached RUSMP to offer this course for his faculty. A believer in supporting the community of practice at his school over shared experiences in mathematics prompted Wilson to make this request. When asked about his role as instructional leader, Wilson responded that “The thing I have to concentrate on is enabling teachers to become exemplary teachers. And the only way to do that is to give them room to grow, to make mistakes, give them some autonomy within this structure we created, so they can truly be the best them that they can be.” Watch part of an interview with Roosevelt Wilson to learn more about his views on instructional leadership.

Veteran RUSMP master teachers, Karen Hardin and Linda Jensen, facilitated the professional development sessions which had teachers investigating the revised TEKS for algebra; constructing fractions and using different models such as area, length, or set model in problem solving situations; using different strategies for multiplication and division and applying them to problem solving situations; modeling decimals concretely and pictorially and using them in problems solving situations; and using equations and inequalities to express relationships between two quantities. Teachers received a plethora of resources to use with their students. Watch the video below to witness the enthusiasm and energy of the teachers at Hirsch Elementary School.

Comments are closed.