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Every Student Counts

March 11, 2005

Every Student Counts (ESC) is a five-year Iowa Department of Education initiative to increase K-12 student achievement in mathematics by building teachers capacity to deliver mathematics instruction. After reviewing research on learning mathematics, three powerful strategies – teaching for understanding, distributed practice and problem-based instruction – were selected as the foundation of the program. These strategies are integrated and developed throughout the National Council Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) content and process standards. Teaching for understanding requires students to think and reason deeply about math concepts and skills. Distributed practice reinforces the retention of newly learned concepts. Problem-based instruction supports the use of connected multiple representations of ideas and encourages communication between students to strengthen understanding. All AEA math consultants statewide, select educational consultants and Urban Eight district leaders are being trained in the process.

Two Area 9 middle schools began participating in Every Student Counts two years ago. These schools have shown improvement in students’ math achievement. Beginning in 2005-2006, participation in ESC will be open to all Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency K-12 school districts, with priority given to schools in need of assistance. Districts will form a team made of math teachers, a special educator and an administrator at one or more levels (Grades K-5, 6-8 or 9-12). Five days of professional development training will provide teachers with the theory behind the strategies and opportunities for practice and coaching. School district teams will meet monthly and mentor each other in the application of the strategies. Training will continue for three more years.

For more information about Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency's support of improvement of mathematics instruction, please contact:

Sandra Campie ( Elementary Math Consultant 344-6341
John Cain (, Elementary Math Consultant 344- 6524
Roger Roskens ( Middle School Math Consultant 344-641
Sally Rigeman ( Secondary Math/Science Consultant 344-6562

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