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Case Study: Math Department Satisfaction Up 25%

Updated: Apr 18, 2022

You might be hesitant about an independent math consultant who claims to help teachers working with students who struggle. You might be wondering… What results is she really seeing?

If that's you, you’re in the right place!

This post is a deep dive into one of my clients, Milpitas High School in Milpitas, CA.

Meet MHS

  • 3,163 students

  • Urban setting

  • 30% free reduced lunch

  • 13% English language learners

  • Math department size: 12 teachers

While the school outperforms the state average in mathematics, when data is broken down by race, English language acquisition status, and other measures of equity, there is a discrepancy in math performance, especially at the Integrated Math 1 level. Additionally the math department culture was negative and divisive.

Scope of Work

  • Professional Development: In our initial year of collaboration I provided multiple days of professional development centered around strategies to increase engagement and rigor, with a focus on Math 1 and 2 content. I used the school's pacing calendar and textbook to make the PD timely and useful. In our second year of work together, we dove into the challenging topic of grading equity. I facilitated sessions on rubric grading and led the department through challenging conversations to increase common grading practices and scoring techniques.

  • Department Chair Coaching: Each month I virtually met with the department chairs to provide leadership coaching and equip them to lead transformational math department meetings, which ended up having a huge impact on department culture and satisfaction! Each meeting we would discuss a common anchor text about educational leadership and co-plan department meetings. Everything from ice breakers to equitable consensus building activities.


  • 84% of teachers who attended the PD sessions said they were “extremely likely” to use a strategy presented in the session (the other 16% were “likely”)

  • Three out of 12 teachers were observed using strategies from the workshop the day after our very first PD session in their classrooms during instructional rounds

  • I surveyed the math department before and after the math department chair coaching and found that satisfaction of how department collaboration time is spent increased 25%! From 3.4 to 4.2 within our first year of work together.

Next steps

Could your whole department or district use this kind of support? Contact me today and let’s come up with a customized plan for your unique needs.

Want a copy of my Math Achievement Framework for Administrators? Click here to download my C.A.R.E.S. Math Achievement Framework so you can assess if we're on the same page about mathematics instruction and get an activity to use immediately with your staff!

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