Williamsville Central School District Receives National District of Distinction Award
The Williamsville Central School District has been recognized and honored as a national winner of the District of Distinction award for the creation, development, and implementation of MathLAB, an instructional model that helps prevent learning gaps and improve student learning outcomes in mathematics.
“As a District, we continue to focus on closing the achievement gap and supporting higher learning standards for all students,” said Acting Superintendent of Schools Dr. John McKenna. “I’m very proud of the hard work and efforts of our students and staff who continue to strive for excellence and make this possible.”
“Williamsville’s math program has earned a national reputation for being a leader in mathematics and is on the cutting edge of implementing research-based instructional strategies while creating structures to improve and provide all students with opportunities to achieve at the highest levels possible,” added Dr. Chris McGinley, K-12 Math Coordinator. “MathLAB has shifted our academic support structures from one that is focused on intervention to one that includes prevention. Not only do struggling students continue to receive targeted support aimed at closing the achievement gap, but we have found a solution to preventing additional students from developing the start of new learning gaps if left unchecked.”
In 2015, Harry O’Malley, a Math Specialist at Casey Middle School, saw an opportunity to more effectively monitor, target, and respond to the academic needs of students. After several years of development and testing by Dr. McGinley and Mr. O’Malley, MathLAB is now being implemented at all four of the District’s middle schools. Through the use of daily assessments, teachers are able to generate daily, real-time data to inform their instruction and help identify and respond to struggling students.
“The underlying belief is that the more quickly teachers can intervene, regardless of why a student misses a concept, the more effectively they can target the source of misunderstanding and better position students for future learning,” said Mr. O’Malley. “This unique and innovative approach allows us to provide all students with timely support in response to their ever-changing needs and has significantly increased student understanding and performance results.”
Along with improving student proficiency in mathematics, MathLAB has helped change the mindset associated with students receiving additional help in the subject area.
“I think what it’s done is take the labels off of students,” said Pete Dobmeier, Principal at Casey Middle School. “We all have unique learning profiles where we can be strong in some areas and need support in others, regardless of what our grade point average is.”
“As a result of the District’s strategic and long-term commitment to continuous improvement, the student performance at all four middle schools has been elevated, especially among students needing support who are receiving regular targeted intervention,” added Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Dr. Marie Balen. “This just-in-time intervention model is the hallmark to the success of this innovative approach.”
Districts of Distinction is a national recognition program created by District Administration magazine to honor successful projects that were developed by visionary leaders to meet the needs of their individual school district.
You can learn more about MathLAB and how it helps improve student learning outcomes here: MathLAB – From Intervention to Prevention.