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Positive results are multiplying with Intel Math

Teachers John Evans, Ashley Kerns, Pamela Krebs and Michelle Williams work to solve intense math problems during an Intel Math professional development.

Subtracting anxiety and adding confidence is the formula for improved classroom math instruction. Local educators are altering their approach to teaching math with the use of the Intel Math Program and positive results are multiplying.
“Teaching word math problems has always been my worst nightmare,” said Gerilynn Stack, who has taught for 22 years and is an elementary teacher at Adams STEM Academy in Ypsilanti. “During a summer Intel Math professional development, I learned to use Polya’s Four-Step Process for Problem Solving. What was once an arduous task is much easier for me as well as my students. I became a much better math student which translated to becoming a better math teacher.”
Andrea Pisani, math coordinator and network director for Livingston and Washtenaw Mathematics and Science Center, is hearing positive feedback from local teachers who have engaged in the professional development.
“Some educators expressed fear and apprehension at the prospects of effectively teaching the subject,” Pisani said. “Now, there is newfound freedom and confidence in presenting math to their students.”
Intel Math is an adaptation of the Vermont Mathematics Initiative (VMI) developed by Dr. Kenneth Gross. He says the program “is designed to close the gap between insufficient mathematics training of elementary school teachers and the demands of the contemporary mathematics classroom.” The program targets K-8 educators who are primarily teaching in priority or focus schools.
Ruth Anne Hodges, manager of curriculum and instruction unit and mathematics/science partnership grant team leader for the Michigan Department of Education, introduced Intel Math, the adaptation of the VMI, to Michigan because of its proven track record.
“The program has the data behind it to show that it has been successful in other states,” Hodges said. “By utilizing the Intel materials and PD protocol, local PD providers can avail themselves of the training provided by national experts instead of spending time designing their own content based training. After the delivery of the initial two-week math training, local PD providers can spend their energy and resources to support teachers in using their new content knowledge to improve their instructional practice.”
Noncy Fields, an Ypsilanti Community Schools 4th grade teacher, has been an educator for 22 years. She said enrolling in the Intel Math Professional Development at Washtenaw ISD helped her establish a balance between conceptual and procedural skills.
“During the training I was introduced to the Adjective-Noun Theory which gave me clearer terminology to explain place value concepts,” Fields said. “Today my students are demonstrating a deeper understanding of place value and can explain why they are lining up the digits.”
Pisani explains that participants engaged in Intel Math professional development accept their role as chief learner, in order to absorb the instructional shift. A community of trust and safety help educators to advance at their own pace and without the fear of falling behind. Knowing this helped teachers feel more comfortable and open to the process.
Teachers participating in the professional development program are coming away with a deeper understanding of math concepts. They are in a better position to support and develop students’ understanding of the subject.  The proven success of Intel Math has propelled participants to meet monthly for a content-focused Math Learning Community (MLC) group. The MLC group looks at how students understand, express and think about math. 
Ypsilanti teacher Katherine Dudzik said the collegial work is invaluable.
“The success of the Intel Math method is due to the collaboration with professionals and colleagues across grade levels and subject areas,” she said. “Intel Math has allowed me to become empowered in my teaching and connecting with all learners.”
What teachers are saying about the benefits of Intel Math:
“The Intel Math program is very intense but it is making me feel much more confident about math.” - Pamela Krebs, Milan
“I have had a great experience with our Intel Math program…it has given me a whole new insight on how I teach and what my students see.” -  Kristen Memering, Ypsilanti
 “Since the training, I find myself questioning the students more. I am also asking them to share their thoughts and strategies with the group. I’m not always looking for the answer but rather the way they came up with it.” - John Evans, Mila
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