1. Judy Storeygard
  2. Principal Investigator
  3. Doing the Math with Paraeducators: A Research and Development Project
  4. TERC
  1. Santiago Gasca
  2. Research and Evaluation Associate
  3. Doing the Math with Paraeducators: A Research and Development Project
  4. TERC
  1. Karen Mutch-Jones
  2. Senior Researcher
  3. Doing the Math with Paraeducators: A Research and Development Project
  4. TERC, STEM Education Evaluation Center at TERC
  1. Jan Rook
  2. Doing the Math with Paraeducators: A Research and Development Project
  3. TERC
  1. Myriam Steinback
  2. Doing the Math with Paraeducators: A Research and Development Project
  3. TERC
  1. Denise Treacy
  2. Doing the Math with Paraeducators: A Research and Development Project
  3. TERC
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Judy Storeygard

    Judy Storeygard

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2018 | 05:54 p.m.

    Thank you for watching our Doing the Math with Paraeducators video. We have just completed the first full year of our exploratory project, and were delighted by our enthusiastic, thoughtful group of paraeducators. We welcome your comments and questions, and we are especially interested in learning about your experiences providing professional development to/and or work with paraeducators.

     
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    Erin Solovey
    Santiago Gasca
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    mlraincar@aol.com

    K-12 Administrator
    May 20, 2018 | 09:52 a.m.

    Kudos!  Hip, hip hooray!  This is absolutely so needed!  Teacher aides are vital and we lack in mentoring and inspiring them!  It's all about time and cost.  You have inspired me, as an administrator!  Thanks for the spark!

  • Icon for: Myriam Steinback

    Myriam Steinback

    Co-Presenter
    May 20, 2018 | 01:23 p.m.

    Thank you for your enthusiasm! We agree - this is so needed. We hope you find a way to support paras/teacher aides in your setting.

    Myriam

  • Icon for: Susan Jones

    Susan Jones

    May 14, 2018 | 11:10 a.m.

    Can't see it.   Thanks for .... 

  • Icon for: Judy Storeygard

    Judy Storeygard

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 12:17 p.m.

    Susan: I am sorry you cannot see it.  Others have been able to view it.  Would you please msg

    contact@stemforall.videohall.com so they can figure out the problem.  Thank you very much for your interest.

    Judy 

  • Icon for: Marjorie Backman

    Marjorie Backman

    May 14, 2018 | 11:29 a.m.

    Supporting the para educators to boost their math skills in the classroom seems to add up to a win-win for everyone involved. Thanks for sharing this video.

     
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    Erin Solovey
    Denise Treacy
    Santiago Gasca
  • Icon for: Ann Rosebery

    Ann Rosebery

    Researcher
    May 14, 2018 | 03:03 p.m.

    Wow -- the paraeducators' excitement about learning math and supporting their students' learning is palpable.  I especially loved the teacher who noticed parallels between their own (the paras) mathematical thinking and that of their students ("we said, I did it this way and I did it this way, and the kids do the same thing!").  They are clearly listening to and recognizing the mathematics in their students' talk and activity.  It made me wonder whether you are starting to get solicited and/or unsolicited feedback from them about the impact they think the pd is having on their practice?  Are they hearing or seeing anything differently?  Are they doing anything differently?  Thanks for sharing this very important and inspiring work!

     
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    Denise Treacy
  • Icon for: Judy Storeygard

    Judy Storeygard

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 03:22 p.m.

    Ann, thank you for your interest and thoughtful questions. Through interviews, surveys, observations with both paras and teachers we are seeing and hearing about changes--particularly in asking questions that promote mathematical thinking,using student work to plan next steps, encouraging strategies that make sense to the students, e.g. using number line. A few are not leading whole group math lessons on a regular basis. We are hoping to follow at least some of them next year to see if these changes are lasting.

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    Cynthia Garland-Dore

    May 14, 2018 | 04:13 p.m.

    This work highlights the importance of providing support, quality professional development focused on doing math and learning about how students learn math. Paraeducators need time built into their work to plan and reflect with the classroom teacher(s). http://videohall.com/p/1095 #STEMvideohall

  • Icon for: Judy Storeygard

    Judy Storeygard

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 04:36 p.m.

    Thanks, Cynthia. You have raised a very important point. We had buyin from principals and teachers, essential for this work.  Judy

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    Karen Schweitzer

    K-12 Teacher
    May 14, 2018 | 04:52 p.m.

    Working with the Educational Support Personnel in our schools is so important for just the reasons that you articulated in the video:  They often work with our students who need the most support and the most skilled teaching and yet they rarely have the time or the opportunities for that.  And I think that being in a group of other Paraeducators/ESPs must feel supportive.

  • Icon for: Myriam Steinback

    Myriam Steinback

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 05:17 p.m.

    Karen, thank you for your comment. Yes, our group of paraeducators says how much they appreciate working with fellow paras, sharing learning, concerns, successes, and working through all of them together. They feel supported by us and by each other.

    Myriam

  • Icon for: Louis Gross

    Louis Gross

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 04:54 p.m.

    Judy et al.,

        Thanks for the interesting look at the work of a paraeducator and for pointing out the challenges they face. Can you pass on any suggestions for effective means to introduce programs similar to this in other places? Is there anything like a "guide" to what is found to be most of interest to the educators you've worked with that might entice other places to emulate what you've done? 

    Cheers,

            Lou

  • Icon for: Karen Mutch-Jones

    Karen Mutch-Jones

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 07:11 p.m.

    Hi Lou,

    By the end of our project, we intend to share a framework for para PD and ongoing support that should be helpful for schools and districts who are eager to establish programs for paras.  Based on our research so far, there seem to be some key ingredients that enhance the para experience and their learning.

    1) Paras need opportunities, over time, to immerse themselves in mathematics activities that help them to develop their mathematical thinking. Often, they have not had positive experiences learning math themselves, and so as part of this process, they are developing their math confidence.  Many have become quite excited about doing math!  

    2) Our paras (and other paras we have spoken with) can identify the ways in which math instruction is quite different than what they experienced as students--but since many haven't been involved in a teacher education program, they aren't always sure about what it means to instruct with an inquiry-oriented curricula or resources. Understanding the goals of such curricula and experiencing inquiry approaches within their PD have been important to them.  Also, they have been eager to learn and try out instructional strategies in their classrooms (e.g., how to listen for student thinking, asking questions that provide students with new challenges within an activity, asking students to re-tell the story problem), and then return to PD to debrief with each other and us.

    3) Follow-up activities have also been helpful.  Through our project, the paras have had opportunities to plan with their teachers and reflect on their students' math learning and struggles. 

    4) And last, but not least, the paraeducators have created a math learning community where they provide each other with support, encouragement, and new ideas.  They are incredible resources for each other!

    Thanks for such a good question.  I expect my colleagues may have even more to add!

    Karen

  • Icon for: Judy Storeygard

    Judy Storeygard

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 07:16 p.m.

    Thank you for your questions.  Lou.  We have just finished our first full year. Thus far dissemination efforts have gone to conferences (our ppt. s posted on NCSM website) and to this showcase. Our partnership with the Boston Public Schools and the outreach we have done with principals and teachers is crucial to successful implementation of our program. The teachers in the project are excited about the initiative the paras have taken in the classroom, in their ability to ask questions that foster students' math thinking, their knowledge of a range of strategies, representations, and tools to solve problems. The paras appreciate being treated like professionals and spending the time learning math.  Best, Judy

  • Icon for: Louis Gross

    Louis Gross

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 07:32 p.m.

    Karen and Judy, Thanks for the detailed responses. It is great that you are thinking ahead for dissemination and I really like the outline you provided about what has been helpful. Fostering learning communities is something that some projects have been doing using at-distance methods (e.g. QUBESHub.org for faculty mentoring networks) and may be not as costly (but perhaps also not as effective) as person-to-person interactions.

    Cheers,

              Lou

     
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    Denise Treacy
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    Molly Presser

    K-12 Teacher
    May 14, 2018 | 10:09 p.m.

    Great program and very much needed.  Sometimes teachers assume that adults know how to help their students. This is a crucial program for the paraeducators.

  • Icon for: Judy Storeygard

    Judy Storeygard

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 10:46 p.m.

    Molly: Thank you very much for your right-on comment. There are too often not any structures or upports available for paras--and as a result they are frequently underutilized--confined to passing out materials, correcting papers etc.  This is especially unfortunate, since many are from the local community, they could provide a valuable connection between students and their community.

    Judy

  • Icon for: Ellen Meier

    Ellen Meier

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 20, 2018 | 11:41 a.m.

    This is a great project in an area that is often overlooked.  Thank you for your research and for your commitment!

    I especially appreciated your comment (above) regarding the connection paras can provide back to the community.  We have much to learn from them but we often don't take advantages of the bridges they can build for the school.  I would think the whole professional development experience they have had with you could be used as a reason to celebrate (with the larger school body) the paras' contribution and underscore their community ties.  Perhaps such a celebration could be used to help build a case for sustainability with principals!

  • Icon for: Myriam Steinback

    Myriam Steinback

    Co-Presenter
    May 20, 2018 | 01:26 p.m.

    Thank you, Ellen.

    While our project isn't yet large enough, we hope that by the end of year 2, when we will have a second cadre of paraeducators that we will work with, the experiences will be more widely shared and celebrated throughout the school district. Those who are aware are happy - we need more to know! The celebration is a great idea - thank you.

    Myriam

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    Carol Walker

    May 15, 2018 | 08:09 a.m.

    How wonderful that you are working closely with paraeducators to learn from and with them! I see the excitement and energy in the paras' engagement in the mathematics. I understand that the  participants gain knowledge and perhaps find joy in mathematics that will inform them as they support students. Is there any other way to offer them something for their time? Paraeducators have such an important role in our school and already give beyond the hourly wages they are paid.

  • Icon for: Judy Storeygard

    Judy Storeygard

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 10:01 a.m.

    Carol: We have been able to pay them through our grant, and they do get release time for the school year PD.  However,  I do worry about sustainability. You are right that they give above and beyond their hourly wages. I am hoping that if principals, such as the ones we are working with, see the value of this, they will at least find release time for PD.  Judy

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    El Rorero

    Guest
    May 15, 2018 | 10:15 a.m.

    A moving and very meaningful experience. Had no idea that the paras were such an integral part to salvage threads and peices of an educational system that is crumbling before our very eyes.

  • Icon for: Judy Storeygard

    Judy Storeygard

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 10:21 a.m.

    Thank you very much!  We are thrilled that you found the video moving and meaningful.

    Judy

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    Riccardo Di

    May 15, 2018 | 10:15 a.m.

    These paras are exerting maximum effort with minimal support. TERC provides invaluable guidance, leadership, and support to help the fulfill their mission and make their dreams a realit.

    Bravo!

  • Icon for: Judy Storeygard

    Judy Storeygard

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 10:22 a.m.

    Thank you very much. We have found this work to be very rewarding. The paras are very appreciative and enthusiastic.  Judy

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    Mcduffie

    Guest
    May 15, 2018 | 10:20 a.m.

    Love the way you explain what was going on through out the workhop there should be more, continuous with those  that participate in the program and get new members on board ,so they will learn like everyone else that was scared to work with math curriculum changes all the time.

     
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    Denise Treacy
  • Icon for: Judy Storeygard

    Judy Storeygard

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 11:43 a.m.

    Thank you!  We agree. We would love to do more!

    Judy

  • Icon for: Courtney Arthur

    Courtney Arthur

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 01:26 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your project with us! I agree this is often an overlooked group of educators who play such an important role in the classroom. What successes and challenges have you had so far in the project?

  • Icon for: Judy Storeygard

    Judy Storeygard

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 01:52 p.m.

    Thank you, Courtney. As you can imagine, we have had both successes and challenges.  Among the successes

    (through surveys, interviews, observations of both teachers and paras)

    1. Paras have increased their confidence level and their enjoyment of math.

    2. Both paras and teachers report that paras are more engaged in math: ask more focused questions,give more targeted feedback to students, are familiar with a variety or strategies, tools, and representations, and see value in analyzing student work to plan next steps.

    3. Both paras and teachers report that they collaborate more and are more strategic about their planning.

    Among the challenges:

    • Little or no access to the curriculum materials, computers​
    • Instability in classroom assignments from year to year​
    • Planning time is not built into paraeducators’ day​
    • Need to balance time for paras to talk about their challenges with time for our math agenda

    Hope this is helpful.  Judy

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    JANE SUTTON

    Informal Educator
    May 15, 2018 | 03:20 p.m.

    This video was interesting, inspiring, and uplifting. The project seems like a wonderful idea that will benefit students, paraprofessionals, and teachers. Keep it going!

  • Icon for: Karen Mutch-Jones

    Karen Mutch-Jones

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 04:22 p.m.

    Thanks for watching and for your support!

    Karen

  • Icon for: Dave Barnes

    Dave Barnes

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 10:11 p.m.

    Judy, Myriam, Karen, and the rest of the team,

    Very interesting and exciting.  I think this is wonderful and something of high need.  I see in reading comments that you have buy in from the administration.  I wonder about the connections and collaboration between the teacher and the para educators. I think it is not uncommon for students who are developing their mathematics with para educators to focus on skill or rote memorization rather than building their conceptual foundations.  This would seem to need to be a shared focus between the teachers and para educator on the appropriate work of the students.

    Keep up the great work.
    Dave

  • Icon for: Judy Storeygard

    Judy Storeygard

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 11:22 p.m.

    Thanks, Dave. Offering paras an opportunity to build their own conceptual understanding is one of our major goals. Many of the paras were only familiar with the standard algorithms.  The mental math work and sharing of strategies was eye opening for them as you can see from the para on the video who says that she saw children doing the same strategies that they did in PD. We also tried to build on the PD by asking paras to write reflections every month, answering questions such as " What is a question you asked that led to a student's mathematical understanding?" or "Describe an example of when you used a student's mistake as a learning opportunity?" We asked teachers and paras to complete a planning protocol every month that asked them to describe their work with students, both successes and challenges.

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    Erik Berg

    May 16, 2018 | 06:30 p.m.

    This is a terrific initiative, and an important way to improve student achievement in math.  Years and years of neglecting PD for paras has been a missed opportunity to capitalize on the critical role that paras play in our classrooms, especially for students with disabilities and young children.  Investment in PD for paraprofessionals will pay big dividends for kids and perhaps open a pipeline to teaching for many paras with tremendous capacity.

  • Icon for: Judy Storeygard

    Judy Storeygard

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 06:39 p.m.

    Thank you, Erik. We are in complete agreement!  Your point about the PD opening a pipeline to a teaching career is a very important one. We hope that this initiatives and others like it can grow.

    Judy

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    Nancy Buell

    May 19, 2018 | 11:33 a.m.

    This is such a necessary and powerful project. Thank you all for taking it on. Too often paras are given students with math challenges to work with away from the classroom. They tend to focus on memorizing algorithms and math facts, believing these will build success for their students. In strengthening paras own understanding of mathematics, this project gives them more tools to help students. It may also increase the amount of para/teacher collaboration so that struggling students can be supported in the regular class and be part of the richness the whole class has to offer. Paras are such a valuable resource that is often underused.

  • Icon for: Myriam Steinback

    Myriam Steinback

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2018 | 01:29 p.m.

    Nancy, thank you. Yes, paras are such a valuable resource. In our project, the paras are all in the classroom, supporting students. We have been happy to see them make strides in their own sense-making of math in our PD, and excited to see and hear them asking students questions, probing, and listening to them. That's been a big shift that teachers, too, have noticed and appreciate. Some have taught all or parts of lessons to the whole class, too. We hope more paraeducators and teachers have these opportunities.

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    Amy McCann

    K-12 Teacher
    May 21, 2018 | 11:08 a.m.

    What an amazing project! Thanks for sharing this great math work!

     

  • Icon for: Myriam Steinback

    Myriam Steinback

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 11:54 a.m.

    Amy, thank you for watching our video and for your support!

    Myriam

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    Judith Campbell

    K-12 Teacher
    May 21, 2018 | 04:18 p.m.

    For years I have been aware of this need to train our para-educators in the math behind the math, moving to each for understanding not for just the right answer.  Many of para-educators stay with us for years and are learning from what they observe in the classroom, from the teachers, but also from the students.  They are open to learning more.  They are eager to be treated as professionals.

    This year we had an afternoon session for our K-4 para-educators during the first week of school, the focus was "Teaching for Understanding, a developmental approach."  The response was positive.  One of the biggest take-aways was "ask more, talk less".  This was a first step, I'd love to do on-going sessions as you are doing.  

    Judith

     

  • Icon for: Judy Storeygard

    Judy Storeygard

    Lead Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 04:32 p.m.

    Judith, thank you for sharing your experience. Your PD sounds as if it was very meaningful for your paras. One of our take-aways was very similar to yours. Another one of ours was the paras' recognition that there are multiple ways to solve a problem. They found solving problems in different ways and sharing these strategies to be very powerful. I hope you are able to have on-going sessions. As you say, the paras are open to learning and being treated as professionals.

    Judy

  • Icon for: Myriam Steinback

    Myriam Steinback

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 04:35 p.m.

    Judith,

    Thank you for your comment - what a great 'first step' you had in your school. We have found exactly what you said, paraeductors are open to learning more and are rarely given the opportunity. Your 'ask more, talk less' take-away is one we also had, in addition to 'listen, listen, listen!'

    We hope that districts see this as the benefit that it is for all, and include paraeducators in PD. We're curious to see how year 2 goes for us, with a new cadre of paraeducators.

    Best luck to you.

    Myriam

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.