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Los Angeles: Demystifying Math

Growing Mathematicians

Math allows us to make sense of our world. When we help students see the power and joy in mathematics—not just the steps—they can use math knowledge and problem-solving skills to build the lives they dream about.

For years, math progress has been stagnant among middle school students despite them doing the work and having the ability to learn. Los Angeles Unified School District is working to change that by equipping teachers to provide challenging instruction in every classroom with the Illustrative Mathematics curriculum.

Helping Teachers Center Students in Learning

Starting in 2020, LAUSD is partnering with The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, Achievement Network, and Leading Educators over three years to design professional learning for school-based instructional leaders.

Illustrative Mathematics takes a problem-based approach to math, which requires a shift in how teachers teach. We designed ongoing learning to help teachers and leaders understand this change and internalize what makes IM effective.

Building the system

Partnership by the Numbers

White icon of a school

251 schools

have adopted Illustrative Mathematics in the first year.

white line drawing of student raising hand at desk

80,000+ students

are experiencing problem-based math rooted in Illustrative Mathematics materials.

Teachers sit around around table

900+ teachers

are using Illustrative Mathematics materials to plan challenging lessons.

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90% of principals

have developed a plan to support their staff in transitioning to IM.

Key Insights from Year 1
Students are eager to learn.

5,000+ students self-reported that they want the opportunity to explore challenging mathematics. However, they don’t yet see their identities reflected in their classroom experience.

Teachers believe in the direction.

Teachers are more confident in supporting students through problem-solving, and they believe that IM is appealing. However, they don’t find it easy to use.

Principals play a key role.

Principals report that they have a plan to support their staff in transitioning to IM, and observation data shows that classrooms are making the shift.