Andrea Richardson takes tremendous pride in teaching success. As a middle school math teacher for five years and a high school math teacher for one year, she uses math to cultivate a growth mindset. While they develop their math skills, her students are also learning problem solving, grit, and a positive outlook. When Andrea started working at Baker Prep in Chicago, Illinois, the school’s test scores were at the bottom of the Noble Schools charter network. In 2022, Baker Prep 10th graders’ SAT math score growth was the highest in the network and 9th graders ranked 7th in math growth. Andrea attributes the dramatic improvement to Knowre Math’s differentiation capabilities. Knowre Math has also contributed to the increased student engagement she’s observed.
Andrea was the first teacher at Baker Prep to have an aha moment about how she would use Knowre Math in her classroom. In working with Knowre’s professional development experts, Andrea was able to see how she would implement Knowre Math. Once she started, teacher buy-in and the use of Knowre Math took off at Baker Prep.
Students in Andrea’s class use Knowre Math to encounter new concepts, rather than using it as practice after a lesson. After watching lesson-and skill-specific videos and taking notes, they attempt the problems in each lesson. The notes are another form of support for the students. “You have to do the learning before you can answer the questions,” Andrea tells her students.
Andrea’s teaching approach is a blended learning style where students work at their own pace, interspersed with one-on-one check-ins. During these one-on-ones, she encourages student learning by recognizing their use of Knowre Math support as a positive thing. When students watch videos or use the Walk Me Through (WMT) support, they’re getting help exactly when they need it. Andrea makes sure students understand that they won’t have support on tests, and helps prepare them to solve problems without help when they’re ready.
In addition to the regular math class, Baker Prep offers Math Lab, a time for students to review math lessons. Math Lab is set up as individual study time, so the teacher in the room is not necessarily a math teacher. Knowre Math mitigates this issue with the support available in the platform. Students are empowered to use the resources in Knowre Math before raising their hands for help. With the data on the Teacher Dashboard, Andrea and her fellow math teachers can follow up with students in areas where they used extra support.
Robust data reporting gives Andrea insights into individual student progress. She likes being able to pull 2-3 students struggling with the same concepts to work with her in a small group. The data from the Teacher Dashboard also means Andrea can tailor one-on-one sessions to each student. During these sessions, Andrea uses a student’s Knowre Success Score (KSS) to gauge where the student is using more support.
The blended learning style in Andrea’s class means that some students move through material faster than others. Knowre Math allows educators to assign work that is above or below the classroom grade level, a Knowre Math feature that came in handy when a handful of students had completed the entire Geometry curriculum before the rest of the class. Andrea was able to quickly assign content from Algebra 2, meaning advanced students didn’t feel stuck or bored.
One of Andrea’s students last year was a sophomore working at a 7th grade math level. No one knew. This student worked at their own pace on Knowre Math without shame or stigma from their peers. Andrea can assign work from any curriculum level to any student, without broadcasting to the class that some students are behind others.
Andrea uses Knowre Math for goal setting and praise in her classes. Competitions are incredibly popular with the students and drive engagement. Last year, she offered a pizza party for the class that earned the most stars and the class that solved the most problems. Much to Andrea’s surprise, the class that was initially most resistant to embracing Knowre Math was the class that won the “Most Problems Solved” competition.
When Andrea’s students found out their KSSs are visible on the Teacher Dashboard, they started asking her to show them their progress. Andrea uses it as her secret weapon during small groups and one-on-one sessions. She finds students are motivated to practice more and try harder when they see their KSS go up. This motivation is especially helpful for students who are more resistant to using Knowre Math and generally frustrated about school. When a student who was struggling and using a lot of support is finally able to answer correctly with no support, Andrea celebrates with them.
Students’ favorite feature is the WMT support. Andrea’s co-teacher looked forward to jumping in to answer student questions on her first day, but she found that students preferred the WMT’s help over hers! Students say they enjoy the WMT because it provides help on the exact part of the exact problem they’re working on. Students using Knowre Math know that there is no penalty for using help, and they can always “go for solid green” by resolving problems without help.
Both Andrea and her co-teacher use the video support and the WMT to review topics. When they show how useful Knowre Math’s supports are to them, students are more likely to use Knowre Math and the built-in support.
Andrea and the school administration are thrilled with students’ progress and growth from using Knowre Math, and anticipate continued success and achievement with the platform. Andrea believes using Knowre Math from the beginning of the new school year helps students develop a positive attitude about math learning from the first day. With Knowre Math in place, educators at Baker Prep look forward to continued student success with Knowre Math.
Andrea Richardson, High school math teacher