Support Excellence in Teaching
BBeverly Yeh and Ari Gass, math teachers for Grades 6-12, are helping Parker students grow their creative problem-solving skills through productive exploration and questioning.
The Parker Professional Development program allowed the pair to attend an in-depth training this past August at Exeter Mathematics Institute. They spent four days working through the non-traditional Exeter math textbook, exploring sets of curated problems that are intentionally sequenced to unfold new concepts and build upon prior knowledge.
The Exeter program emphasizes guiding students to find methods to solve problems with little instruction, creating opportunities for productive struggle that leads to rewarding results.
Building students’ confidence and skills in the classroom
Having the opportunity and time to work through the Exeter textbook from the student perspective allowed Beverly and Ari to establish a firm grasp on helping students have the confidence to persevere while problem-solving. And now that they understand the entire scope of the course, they understand when to provide a similar set of problems to provide additional review, when to prompt students to continue the discussion on an exercise, and when not to curtail a discussion that is heading off topic.
Based on what they learned, the duo has begun providing students with more exploratory tasks in class that help them visualize mathematical concepts before diving into the lesson. They’ve also focused their classrooms on supporting student curiosity while encouraging students to spark the discussion for the day.
Having the opportunity and time to work through the Exeter textbook from the student perspective allowed Beverly and Ari to establish a firm grasp on helping students have the confidence to persevere while problem-solving.
Beverly emphasized that “Ultimately, we want students to know that they each have their own math authority within them—they do not have to rely on a teacher, tutor, or an adult to break everything down.” Attending the Exeter training allowed Ari and Beverly to implement classroom structures and activities that emphasize math as a joyful exploration of structures and patterns rather than an imposition of an instructor’s mechanical approach.
Further strengthening the Parker math program
Beverly and Ari hope to bring Exeter Mathematics Institute to the Parker campus in the coming years to promote conversations within the community and further strengthen the math program’s goal of providing students with the best possible foundation.
Each year, Parker invests $340,000 in faculty professional development, which is funded through donations received on Day of Giving (held this year on November 29). When our community invests in faculty professional growth, they can cultivate their passions and curiosity. By providing teachers with the tools to thrive, our students thrive.