After her first year teaching math in Brighton, Colorado, Elizabeth Tarbutton grew discouraged by her students’ low standardized test scores.
Professional development opportunities, especially for math leadership, were currently lacking within her school district, but then she heard about the Rocky Mountain Math Teachers’ Circle, a program at the University of Colorado Denver that connects middle-school teachers and mathematicians to develop capacity with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice.
As a free weekend event (with lunch included), Elizabeth was easily able to attend the workshops where she met math teachers from all over the state and was soon asked to join the Leadership Team and facilitate adult circle sessions as well as collaborate with the American Institute of Mathematics to study implementing a student math circle.
Through her involvement with Math Teachers’ Circles and a greater understanding of standardized practices, Elizabeth was able to make math more engaging for her students and provide real world application for her classroom lessons. Besides improving her students’ test scores by nearly 70%, Elizabeth became a resource for teachers at her school and other local districts, and was asked to become the math department and data committee chair. She also recently helped a local public high school develop new math curriculum, and as a result of her recommendations math scores improved by 30%.
Elizabeth is passionate about promoting student achievement by supporting teachers in building capacity with common core state standards, and she is currently a VIVA Teacher, Teach Plus Fellow, and PARCC item reviewer. You can read Elizabeth’s latest blog on how to create meaningful assessments that inform teacher practice by clicking here.