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From Math Success to Math Power

Lafayette School District Math Professional Development and Practices


Lafayette Math

This year Lafayette Partners in Education provided funds for adding an elementary math coach.  The position was posted and when we were unable to find a candidate that we felt was a good match for our district, we began to formulate a different model to support our teachers in the area of math.  Michelle Giles, our district math coach had been focused primarily at the 5th-8th grade level.  Michelle partnered with Christina Nitsos, a 1st grade teacher at Lafayette Elementary, to form a Math Professional Learning Community.  All district teachers were invited to join, and we now have a community of 21 teachers representing every grade level and each school site.  The Math Professional Learning Community has launched its work by reading Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler.  This book focuses on unleashing students’ potential through creative, math inspiring messages and innovative teaching.  These teacher leaders are taking the math work and working to build strong math practices and thus, strong math students throughout our district.  This model is building the capacity of our teachers as math leaders.  Part of the funding from Lafayette Partners in Education will be used to pay teachers for their out-of-the classroom work and supplies to support math learning.  It will also help to fund three days of grade-level collaboration for our TK through 5th grade teachers.  These targeted days will focus on professional development, benchmark assessments, deepening instructional practices and developing resources to best meet the needs of our students.


Silicon Valley Math Initiative (SVMI)
Stanley Middle School has been a SVMI member for years, but this is the Lafayette School District’s second year of membership in the Silicon Valley Math Initiative.  The Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative is a comprehensive effort to improve mathematics instruction and student learning. The Initiative is based on high performance expectations, ongoing professional development, examining student work, and improved math instruction. The Initiative includes a formative and summative performance assessment system, pedagogical content coaching, and leadership training and networks.  The Initiative is currently supported by member districts, the Kabcenell Foundation, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation in collaboration with the Santa Clara Valley Math Project that serves as both a mathematics professional development provider and fiscal agent for many of the components of the Initiative. Our teachers have taken advantage of the professional development through a summer coaching institute, monthly professional development and math network meetings.  We are currently using the MARS performance assessments at the 6th – 8th grade level.   Lafayette Partners in Education helps to fund our District membership and our participation in professional development. 

Minds on Math Two-Day Institute for Lafayette School District Teachers

In December of 2016, Lafayette School District teachers will have the opportunity to participate in a two-day professional development workshop funded through the District and Lafayette Partners in Education. This institute is part of the Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC) who works directly with teacher and school leaders to provide professional learning that cultivates highly effective educators to elevate student growth and achievement.  The Minds on Math institute will demonstrate how to address all eight of the common core standards for mathematical practice within workshop model instruction. This institute will explore how explicit thinking strategy instruction can promote students’ deep mathematical understanding.  Additionally, the institute will discuss and model how to facilitate classroom discussions that support all learners, preparing them with the problem-solving skills they need to make meaning of math, succeed on standardized assessments, and face life’s many mathematical challenges.

Stanley Middle School Math



  • Historically, success in math has largely consisted of facility with computation and accurately following mathematical procedures.


  • While proficiency with computation and procedure is necessary, it is not sufficient.


  • To be truly powerful math thinkers, students must understand concepts, justify their reasoning, and apply their understanding and number sense to solve problems.


Math Shifts in the Common Core


Students will…

Parents should…

UNDERSTAND why the math works. MAKE the math work.

Notice whether your child REALLY knows why the answer is what it is.

TALK about why the math works.

Provide TIME for your child to work hard with math at home.

PROVE that they know why and how the math works.

Get smarter in the math your child needs to know.






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