Saint Andrew’s School champions the Lower School’s Mathematics program as one of several crowning representations of the school’s unique and exceptional approach to teaching and learning. The Lower School has created a remarkable culture of mathematical thinking, due in large part to its adoption of the leading-edge Singapore Math curriculum, a program in which teachers promote mathematical understanding, foster independent and collaborative learning, and where students realize the value of learning from mistakes and persevering through challenges.
The Singapore Math program is world renown and consistently ranks as a top tier math program for PreK - 8. The program’s intentional progression of concepts instills a deep understanding of mathematics using the C-P-A approach. C-P-A is a progression of instruction moving from concrete, to pictorial, and ending with abstract.
“In my opinion, mathematics is one of the highlights of the students' academic experiences at the Lower School,” said Gregory Bertha, the school’s Mathematics Coach. Mr. Bertha, a Summer Fellow of the Klingenstein Center at the Teachers College at Columbia University, has worked closely with division leaders and the PreK-12 Math department head to implement, train, and support teachers in the Singapore method since the program was adopted in 2015-2016.
“Without a doubt, Singapore math methods are the very best I’ve ever come across as a teacher and as a coach,” said Mr. Bertha.
Singapore Math methods used by teachers include visualization, generalization, number sense, metacognition, and communication, and are proven to establish a deeper knowledge base and higher performance than traditional methods. “Using this approach, students develop the ability to think mathematically, rather than learning math through rote memorization,” said Mr. Bertha.
Students learn to rely on math understanding they’ve gained in previous lessons and build on that knowledge as they progress through future lessons. “I love the way this program teaches students ways to manipulate numbers and fosters ownership over numbers,” said Grade 5 teacher, RJ Dawson. “The effect is that students have such a deep understanding of the concepts that they then put together their own number patterns and create their own ways of understanding math.”
Saint Andrew’s Grade 2 Teacher, Theresa Novak also believes that the student-centered Singapore approach makes the program exceptional. “Using the Singapore methods, I end up learning something new from the kids every single day, just by letting them explore new ways of understanding math,” she offered.
The role that Lower School parents play as partners in mathematics learning is as invaluable in fostering student achievement as the remarkable teacher instruction. While a parent’s natural inclination is to show their child how do math problems at home, Saint Andrew’s Lower School teachers recommend that parents use an alternative strategy in helping their children with math at home.
“If a student comes home worried or confused about how to do a math problem, our parents are great listeners. They ask thoughtful questions as a means of helping their children help themselves,” said Mr. Bertha.
When parents ask questions like, ‘Can you show me one strategy you learned for subtraction today?’ they empower their children to own and process math as they strive to understand. “At home, children can be the teachers. Parents tell me all the time how much they enjoy learning from their children,” he added.
Saint Andrew’s is proud to utilize the well-regarded Singapore Math program at the Lower School and has seen growth in achievement and student understanding in the years since its adoption.
“In our classrooms, we often hear students saying that math is a favorite subject, and that is due in part to our amazing Saint Andrew's teachers and their delivery of the Singapore approach to mathematics,” said Head of Lower School, Angela Kopels.
So - as you “zero in” on the value of Saint Andrew’s Lower School, it’s clear that Singapore Math program at Saint Andrew’s School scores a perfect ten!