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Mike Hayes, PVPA Charter Public School, South Hadley, MA

I work at a 7-12 performing arts charter school in South Hadley, Massachusetts. After a textbook review in Spring 2013 we decided to adopt the CPM books for all of our math classes. We decided to do an “all at once” adoption because we did not have consistently used materials for any of our courses. Having now gone through the first year of implementation, we are very excited for year two. Here are some things we learned from our first year.

Professional Development.

It was critical for our teachers to have been a part of the professional development offered by CPM. Having the four workshop days before school helped everyone understand how to access the CPM resources, understand the role of teams and team strategies, and have more confidence for the upcoming school year. The follow-up workshop days and observations by our Regional Coordinator allowed us to continue to reflect on our implementation, address challenges, and continue to feel prepared for later chapters.

Standards – Trust the writers!

The Core Connection series is aligned with the Common Core content and practice standards. We found it was more than enough to plan and implement every lesson without trying to
rewrite the book. Despite our goal of sticking to the timeline, we still ended up spending too much time on the early chapters because we were concerned that students were not getting it as deeply as we wanted. As we went through the year, we saw all the places in later chapters that continued the practice and exploration of those concepts and skills we were concerned about. We did not need to be worried.


Before the year starts, pace out your course. Use the pacing suggestions from CPM and your school’s calendar to know approximately when you want to start each unit. We did not do this until November and it meant we were crunched at the end of the year. It is easy to spend too much time in Chapter 1. Try not to fall into that trap.


If you are using the sample assessments (which are very helpful the first year!), make sure you take them first and adjust them for your students.


Using study teams in a math class is often a very new thing for students. Most students have not been in a situation where they work, think, and discuss math with other students in class. If you are getting lots of pushback, try a variety of things to make them work (go to pairs for a while, do the roles differently, etc.). The goal is to have students communicating and
problem solving together. How you get there might be different based on your students and you.

We are now starting to plan as a department for year two of implementation. We are going to be revisiting our work with teams to bring more team strategies in, we want to bring in more variety to our assessments, and we are going to be integrating the arts into our courses (per the charter mission). Thanks to a challenging but great first year, we are excited for
these next steps. We hope you all have a great year too!

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Algebra Tiles Blue Icon

Algebra Tiles Session

  • Used throughout CPM middle and high school courses
  • Concrete, geometric representation of algebraic concepts.
  • Two-hour virtual session,
  •  Learn how students build their conceptual understanding of simplifying algebraic expressions
  • Solving equations using these tools.  
  • Determining perimeter,
  • Combining like terms,
  • Comparing expressions,
  • Solving equations
  • Use an area model to multiply polynomials,
  • Factor quadratics and other polynomials, and
  • Complete the square.
  • Support the transition from a concrete (manipulative) representation to an abstract model of mathematics..

Foundations for Implementation

This professional learning is designed for teachers as they begin their implementation of CPM. This series contains multiple components and is grounded in multiple active experiences delivered over the first year. This learning experience will encourage teachers to adjust their instructional practices, expand their content knowledge, and challenge their beliefs about teaching and learning. Teachers and leaders will gain first-hand experience with CPM with emphasis on what they will be teaching. Throughout this series educators will experience the mathematics, consider instructional practices, and learn about the classroom environment necessary for a successful implementation of CPM curriculum resources.

Page 2 of the Professional Learning Progression (PDF) describes all of the components of this learning event and the additional support available. Teachers new to a course, but have previously attended Foundations for Implementation, can choose to engage in the course Content Modules in the Professional Learning Portal rather than attending the entire series of learning events again.

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Building on Instructional Practice Series

The Building on Instructional Practice Series consists of three different events – Building on Discourse, Building on Assessment, Building on Equity – that are designed for teachers with a minimum of one year of experience teaching with CPM instructional materials and who have completed the Foundations for Implementation Series.

Building on Equity

In Building on Equity, participants will learn how to include equitable practices in their classroom and support traditionally underserved students in becoming leaders of their own learning. Essential questions include: How do I shift dependent learners into independent learners? How does my own math identity and cultural background impact my classroom? The focus of day one is equitable classroom culture. Participants will reflect on how their math identity and mindsets impact student learning. They will begin working on a plan for Chapter 1 that creates an equitable classroom culture. The focus of day two and three is implementing equitable tasks. Participants will develop their use of the 5 Practices for Orchestrating Meaningful Mathematical Discussions and curate strategies for supporting all students in becoming leaders of their own learning. Participants will use an equity lens to reflect on and revise their Chapter 1 lesson plans.

Building on Assessment

In Building on Assessment, participants will apply assessment research and develop methods to provide feedback to students and inform equitable assessment decisions. On day one, participants will align assessment practices with learning progressions and the principle of mastery over time as well as write assessment items. During day two, participants will develop rubrics, explore alternate types of assessment, and plan for implementation that supports student ownership. On the third day, participants will develop strategies to monitor progress and provide evidence of proficiency with identified mathematics content and practices. Participants will develop assessment action plans that will encourage continued collaboration within their learning community.

Building on Discourse

In Building on Discourse, participants will improve their ability to facilitate meaningful mathematical discourse. This learning experience will encourage participants to adjust their instructional practices in the areas of sharing math authority, developing independent learners, and the creation of equitable classroom environments. Participants will plan for student learning by using teaching practices such as posing purposeful questioning, supporting productive struggle, and facilitating meaningful mathematical discourse. In doing so, participants learn to support students collaboratively engaged with rich tasks with all elements of the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices incorporated through intentional and reflective planning.