Every year, at the culmination of the Live Auction, we ask parents to “raise their paddle” to support programs at our schools that the Principals are passionate about. We are excited to share with you that this year’s Fund a Need is focused on raising directed support in mathematics professional development and consistent mindfulness practices at all three schools within the Larkspur-Corte Madera District schools.
What does this mean exactly and what does this look like in our schools?
For math, our goal District wide is to provide comprehensive support for teachers to meet the needs of all learners in their classroom (personalized learning in mathematics) and to create systematic processes in gathering student data to drive instruction. It’s an exciting opportunity and an important one. According to the Tamalpais Union School District math placement data, LCMSD has the greatest percentage of students entering the highest math pathway, but also the greatest percentage of students entering the lowest math pathway. These data demonstrate areas of strength and need. By utilizing Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) resources to partner with UCLA Center X, we will be able to provide:
- Strategies and structures for teachers to support the variance of learners in any given classroom and close the gap between subgroups (SES, affluent, EL, GATE, and students with disabilities) .
- Support to teachers (to support students) through research-based best practices
- Timely and systematic feedback/response to instruction through Illuminate, a data warehouse and assessment tool, to longitudinally track student progress and intervene/challenge
Over the past three years, we’ve benefitted from introducing mindfulness into our curriculum District wide. Our goal is to build a sustainable model which features a common set of mindfulness lessons through a gradual release approach (fading out of expert support, increasing teacher capacity) for each grade level K-8. Studies find that youth benefit from learning mindfulness in terms of improved cognitive outcomes, social-emotional skills, and well being. Social skills in kindergarten predict improved education, employment, crime, substance abuse and mental health outcomes in adulthood. Through staff training and parent education, we will be be able to support common mindfulness language and practices with all students. Benefits include:
- Improved attention, including better performance on objective tasks that measure attention
- Increased ability to engage in tasks even when emotions are activated
- Greater compassion and greater self-compassion
- Reducing feelings of stress and anxiety