More schools adopting Singapore curriculum

Jeff Schrier - The Saginaw News

In the news this month:

Learning math Singapore style

Newtown Friends Quaker School believes that:

The Singapore program is “just a better way to teach,” said Schade. “The depth that you go into with Singapore math provides students the opportunity to solve problems in so many ways.”

Midlothian School adopts Singapore Math

The first school to adopt Singapore Math in the Archdiocese of Chicago likes that:

Singapore Math emphasizes problem-solving and model-drawing, with a focus on an in-depth understanding of the essential math skills recommended by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Saginaw Township elementary schools implement hands-on Singapore math program

Best quote from the article:

“Math is math, this is just a consistent way of presenting it to students,” Braun said.

And an “eek!” quote:

…materials were $220,720 and six days of intensive training was $75,982.**

Goodbye Flashcards, Hello Singapore

Fair Haven K-8 school in New Haven, CT is in their first year using Singapore math and anecdotally, teachers feel that students are better problem-solvers and are learning concepts to mastery. According to district math coordinator Ken Mathews:

There’s no official measure yet of whether students have gotten better at math under the new approach. The quarterly district assessments have changed to adapt to the new curriculum, so year-to-year comparisons don’t make sense.

The district finds that the Singapore approach aligns well to the Common Core:

The shift to Singapore math comes as the New Haven takes part in the Common Core State Standards Initiative, whereby districts and states are aligning assessments and curriculae to a new national standard. Connecticut is one of 45 states that have pledged to do so, with the hopes of being more competitive internationally. New Haven plans to overhaul its math and literacy curriculae by the 2014-15 school year, including the full implementation of Singapore math.



Giving Thanks – 2011 has been an outstanding year!

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am reminded of the great good fortune I have enjoyed over the past twelve months. I wanted to share this news and extend my sincere thanks to everyone who has played a part in making the year so special.

Professionally, 2011 was my most successful year as a Singapore Math Trainer and Consultant.

Just last week, I completed my final training sessions of the Summer of 2011 (that’s  right…summer just ended for me!).  I had two lengthy engagements. One was an eye-opening and highly valuable set of sessions devoted to the Common Core Standards on a grade-by-grade basis. The second, serving as an instructional coach, is ongoing; I get to spend time with teachers and students in their classrooms, observing and modeling Singapore Math lessons.

I can’t believe I get paid to do this – Woohoo!

The Numbers
In the past year, I:

  • Hosted trainings and seminars in 15 states plus Mexico and Canada.
  • Conducted teacher training/professional development for 14 schools and one district-wide Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).
  • Presented 13 Singapore Math workshops for the Bureau of Education & Research (BER).
  • Introduced several thousand people to Singapore Math.

Sadly, I had to turn away invitations from more than a dozen schools seeking on-site Singapore Math training in the busy summer months as my schedule was completely booked for six consecutive weeks.

Among the professional highlights in 2011, I:

Volunteer Projects
In 2011, I was able to devote time to some other projects that I believe are very worthy, including:

  • Serving on the Board of Directors at Liberty Common Schools. Go Eagles!
  • Hosting a Monday math club for more than 50 third and fourth grade students.
  • Advising Poudre High School International Baccalaureate students for their Creativity-Action-Service project. Go Impalas!
  • Reviewing books and articles for National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).
  • Volunteering at the NCSM and  NCTM 2011 Annual Meetings in Indianapolis.

Personally, 2011 will be difficult to beat. After years of planning, we spent five weeks in Kenya, where we enjoyed a fabulous safari and spent two-and-a-half weeks with my mother and stepfather in Diani Beach. My family visited a Maasai school and I picked up some elementary math texts. I’ll spare readers other personal news (but trust me, it was amazing). Mzuri sana!

Looking ahead to 2012, I’m excited to:

  • Present a session entitled, “Technology  + Singapore Strategies =  Number Sense,” with Lauri Susi of Conceptua Math at the 2012 NCTM Annual Meeting and Exposition in Philadelphia.
  • Attend the Twelfth International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME-12) in South Korea in July 2012 (hopefully!).
  • Introduce Singapore Math to those attending my BER workshops.
  • Continue to work with visionary schools and their administrators and teachers to bring the world’s leading primary math curriculum to eager students and their parents.

If I may be of service at any time, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

Once again, my sincerest thanks to my clients, colleagues and partners for a wonderful year.

As always…Passionate about Singapore Math.



Advice on identifying a good school

The New York Times SchoolBook recently ran an an article from Peg Tyre, author of “The Good School: How Smart Parents Get Their Kids the Education They Deserve”.   Entitled Five Tips for Identifying a Good School, Tyre identifies five research-based tips for identifying what makes a “good” school.

Here’s her response to the question: What does a good math program look like?:

Math ability builds on math experiences. From the first day of preschool, children should be exposed to numbers and simple math concepts (greater than or less than, bigger or smaller) and algorithms (add and take away).

A good elementary school math program (yes, I’m talking about you, Singapore math) helps children harness their innate sense of number, their mental math, to understand math concepts. Being able to compute quickly and accurately is a must, too.

It seems like everyone is “talking about you, Singapore math”, these days. From the Common Core State Standards to Core Knowledge to schools across the country, Singapore math is all the buzz.

Wondering about schools using the curriculum near you? Check out my Schools in the News page or email me at Cassy (at) singaporemathsource (dot) com.


Singapore Math in Columbus: Teachers are seeing great gains in their students

A recent article in the Columbus Dispatch reported that the Columbus (Ohio) School District is using a new K-2 math curriculum based on Singapore Math.

Reporter Jennifer Smith Richards outlined some of the reasons for Singapore’s math success:

Solving problems — and a deeper understanding of why the answer can be found with a certain method instead of only how — is a key principle of Singapore’s methods. The country’s national math curriculum is slower-paced than many American methods and insists on laying a strong foundation in understanding numbers and place value.

Smith Richards importantly notes that the District,

chose to move away from so-called reform math, which relies more heavily on learning abstract mathematic concepts at the outset, in part because students who didn’t have a strong foundation in number sense weren’t as successful.

Third grade teacher Meagan Erwin nails it: “If you understand how a number is made up, there’s no stopping you.”

In Columbus, Singapore Methods are being introduced in Grades K through 2 this year. Next year, the Singapore Math curriculum will be included in Grades 3 to 5.

Note how Ms. Erwin’s students found many ways to answer the problem on the board: “If Gigi has eight bags with 94 stickers each, how many does she have in all?” And reporter Smith Richards has done an excellent job focusing on the strengths of Singapore Math using a concrete example.


Singapore Math helps DC charter school improve math proficiency by 83%

Test scores show momentum for charters
The Washington Post 8/4/2011

The Bruce Monroe Elementary School in Washington DC struggled to implement Singapore math, but the school remained committed to the program. In a June 6 article in the Washington Post, the school’s instructional coach, Nuhad Jamal, referred to Singapore Math as “a strength of our school.”

Recently released test scores show a 2011 proficiency percentage of 43.04%, up from 23.42% in 2010. But forget percentage points, let’s talk students. In 2010, 40 of 172 students were proficient in mathematics. In 2011 almost 75 of 174 students were proficient.

Every subgroup showed improvement. Math scores for students classified as Limited English Proficient jumped from 24.14% proficient in 2010 to 51.11% in 2011. Or an increase from 17 of 70 students in 2010 to 36 of 70 students in 2011.

While these score still fall below the school’s proficiency target, they are a start. Here’s wishing the Bruce Monroe school continued success! And some stability.

Meanwhile, here in Colorado, I’m flabbergasted that parents and teachers are telling me that Singapore Math is “too hard” for their students.