Des Moines Public Schools teachers and students had the unique opportunity to provide direct feedback to the authors of the math curriculum they’re using in classes. Illustrative Mathematics (IM) chose to visit DMPS to learn how the math curriculum they author plays out in Kindergarten to Algebra 2 classrooms. Roosevelt Math teacher Rob Randazzo said he was surprised and pleased by their interest.

“Never before in my 24 years of teaching has the company shown up to see and hear firsthand how the curriculum is playing out in the real world,” said Randazzo. “Instead of submitting feedback via a button on the internet, I had the opportunity to give feedback in person.”

DMPS Math curriculum coordinator Isaac Roddenberg said in-person is the best kind of feedback to inform changes IM could make to their offerings.

“This will likely lead to improved versions of the curriculum that our students will utilize,” he said.

The visitors from IM represent lead authors and professional development providers in addition to other various roles that are part of what they call the IM “Roadshow Project.” Throughout the year teachers and students are able to give feedback about their math experience and the impact of the materials.

In turn, IM makes suggestions for more effective implementation of their curriculum in the classroom.

“It is empowering to know they are listening to our story, both the successes we have had and the challenges we are working to address,” said Rodenberg. “They continually tell us that Des Moines is one of the places that come to the top of their minds when they consider choosing districts to highlight that are implementing this highly rated curriculum. The sense of pride I have in our teachers and building-level staff, knowing the work they have all put in to ensure quality math experiences, is quite high and is boosted by the feedback that is provided by IM staff.”

IM has ongoing plans to collaborate with DMPS in a continuing effort to evolve their curriculum, which they offer at no cost to school districts. IM co-founder and CEO Bill McCallum said the on-site real-world feedback from teachers and students is invaluable.

“Thank you so much for welcoming the IM team into your schools and classrooms and giving us your thoughts and wisdom about the curriculum and its implementation,” said McCallum. “There were so many wonderful moments we saw, like the student who said, ‘I like the cool downs because they help me know what I have learned.’ Wow.”

It’s a two-way street with plenty of high-value traffic.

“It is great to have a relationship with the creators of the curriculum,” said Randazzo. “This type of continued relationship with IM will benefit the teachers and students for years to come.”

IM visited several schools spanning the K-12 experience at DMPS, including Willard and South Union elementary schools, Goodrell Middle School, North and Roosevelt high schools, and Central Academy.

View Photos of IM’s Visit to DMPS Classrooms

IM Math at South Union

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