Lower School

Math Professional Development at CAIS

Views of Math PD at CAIS

Last week, the building was abuzz with math excitement, as we hosted the first cycle of our ongoing embedded professional learning in math. As the group of 4th-5th grade teachers and I entered a classroom, we heard “Do I get to come with you today? Are you coming to our classroom next?” By now, the students know that they often get to participate when the teachers have a “teacher learning day,” and many of them are excited to do fun and challenging math while also “helping the teachers learn.”


Over the past three years, CAIS Curriculum Directors and faculty have been partnering with mathematics education expert and consultant Dr. Andrea Barraugh to answer the question “what does a truly bilingual and bicultural math curriculum look like?” Recognizing that there is not a published math curriculum that will honor both cultural approaches, meet language learner needs, and adequately challenge our students, we have been at work creating our own CAIS math standards and instructional framework. While this is fascinating curriculum development work, we have centered instruction (how we teach) and assessment (how we know what students know) as critical components in this process. Curriculum Directors Cristina Calcagno and Cindy Chiang have designed professional learning days that involve listening to students to deeply understand what they know and are ready to learn next, collaborative teaching experiences to practice high leverage instructional skills, and time collaborating to design an engaging and impactful curriculum. The result is dynamic professional learning, deep teacher engagement and ownership of the curriculum, and some very excited kids and teachers.

This entire process is emblematic of how CAIS operates as a trailblazer in the Mandarin immersion field. It is another example of our innovative culture, talented faculty, and wonderful professional development (thanks to our community rallying behind our teachers with previous Fund-a-Need and and annual giving opportunities)!