Foundational Math

In 2019, building on the progress and momentum of our first focus area of nurturing positive work environments for teachers, we activated the network to improve foundational math proficiency. This effort centers on the catalyst challenge of teacher preparation faculty who have expertise specifically in elementary STEM education.

Working together with nearly 40 partners, we spent the summer of 2019 “getting smart” on this focus area, resulting in our report "Doing the Math: Building a foundation of joyful and authentic math learning for all students.” We launched the report with an event where partners and other stakeholders could dig into the research, and from the event, three Project Teams emerged to take on various challenges together. 

Since 2019, 33 partners have worked collaboratively across 6 Project Teams, and have developed recommendations for how to effectively prepare elementary teachers to teach STEMstandards for culturally relevant mathematics practice and inquiry, and tools and resources about how to develop STEM mindsets in elementary teachers.  

In 2021, we released an update to our research in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for racial justice. The report, called “Reigniting Joyful, Rigorous, and Equitable Foundational Math Learning,” shares the results of interviews with math teachers, coaches, and interventionists about their experiences supporting low-income Black, Latinx, and Indigenous early learners during 2020. 

Special thanks to the CME Group Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation for their generous support of our work in this focus area!