Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166


Math is Alive in Highline! 

By Susanne Jerde, Chief Academic Officer

teaching and learning

This year I made a commitment to visit every school, with a goal of visiting all math classrooms, to learn about the support for adults and students in implementing newly adopted instructional materials. I have finished one round at every school and am starting my second round to visit more classrooms. 

Classrooms are alive with mathematical discourse and students focused on conceptual understanding. It is exciting to see the interaction of our newly adopted materials along with strong adult practices. 

Across Highline there is strong evidence of the shift to a student-centered classroom including:

  • Students sharing their thinking with a focus on understanding rather than just the answer
  • Math norms being discussed and referenced by teachers and students
  • Team roles established with students taking leadership roles and group feedback
  • Math Talks happening in elementary classrooms and classroom math discourse in secondary

There is much more to the success of student learning than the instructional materials we provide. The interaction of the teacher (strong instruction), the student (confidence and engagement) as well as the content (standards, instructional materials and frameworks) is needed to support student learning. Not to mention the critical interaction that occurs between students and between teachers. 

As I visit classrooms across Highline, I see evidence of strong teacher collaboration and am awed by the classrooms that support student confidence, engagement and discourse with instructional strategies that are culturally responsive and inclusive. 

“One of the big shifts is moving away from being an ‘I-teacher’ to being a ‘them-teacher.’ Instead of asking yourself, ‘What do I say now? What do I do next’ you ask, ‘What do they need next? What are they doing? - Laura Evans, Complex Instruction Educator