$2M for 'math coaches' will add up to better test scores, Calgary Board of Education hopes

The Calgary public school board is spending $2 million to hire "math coaches" to work at schools with lower math scores.

The 25 "coaches" will be deployed at schools where students have not been scoring well on math tests. They will train teachers and also work with students.

Joy Bowen-Eyre, chair of the Calgary Board of Education, says they will be available for kindergarten to Grade 9 schools, but the main focus will be on Grade 6 and Grade 9.

"Any school specifically that has been identified as really needing to improve their math scores based their report card data and based on their PAT data, those schools we'll be tapping them on the shoulder and saying, 'Look, we've got these math coaches. We feel you would really benefit from a math coach at your school,'" she said.

"We see and hear kids coming to school already deflated and defeated with that 'I'm not very good at math attitude.' What we want to do is to shift that so kids are coming into the building saying, 'I can do math. I like math. I'm a mathematician.'"

Bowen-Eyre said the money is just for one year of the specialists.

She said the postings for the specialists will go up right away to get them into the schools as soon as possible.

If the board sees results in math scores this year, the new board could renew the program next year, Bowen-Eyre said.

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