Close the opportunity gap by providing small group math instruction for our highest need students in order to accelerate their academic growth.

Tight and Legit

Tight and Legit

By Tim Johnson, Director of Denver Math Fellows

Every day thousands of students participate in math lab sessions in Denver Public Schools. The aim is to approach each session with a sense of urgency and to ensure that math lab is tight and legit—systems and routines maximize instructional time (that’s the tight part) and content addresses both individual student needs and supports grade level rigor (that’s the legit part).

The aim of this blog is to be tight and legit as well. With this first post I hope to accomplish two things: 1) orient the reader in terms of the work that the Denver Math Fellows program is engaged in and 2) introduce some of the common post themes you will find here. Let’s dive in!

The Denver Math Fellows program is currently in year two of district wide expansion. Here are some quick numbers to orient the reader:

  • 44 schools participate in the Denver Math Fellows program
  • An additional 57 schools have school determined programs
  • About 5,000 students receive daily small group math instruction across Denver Public Schools with a focus on the highest need students in grades 4, 6 and 8
  • 240 math fellows and 80 math interventionists deliver math lab sessions—about half of each period is spent supporting individual student needs and the other half is spent ensuring students are on track to perform at or above grade level
  • 27 coordinators work to develop and coach teams of fellows and support interventionists
  • 6 members of the central leadership and program team are in charge of day-to-day operations, recruitment and selection, training and development, curriculum and assessment

Posts will generally land in one of three categories:

  1. Implementation notes: These posts will be a venue to share developments and progress on the program for current team members, those engaged in similar work across the country and individuals interested in education reform. Background on the development of the Denver Math Fellows program is available here.
  2. Success stories: These posts will include interviews and guest spots to highlight student success and the work of the hundreds of individuals engaged in a service year with Denver Math Fellows. Read about a typical day here and see job description here.
  3. Practical, contextualized guidance: From debates over teacher evaluation to the best way to teach math it’s common for individuals to pick sides and dig their heels in. These posts will seek to cut through debates to offer practical, contextualized guidance for closing opportunity and achievement gaps.

I’m looking forward to the conversation!