There is no doubt that COVID has wreaked havoc on Canadian children’s education this past year. But this learning loss has been even more keenly felt by children in under-served communities, who are more negatively impacted by learning loss, as they often lack access to the same supports and technology found in more affluent communities.
And when it comes to learning loss in math, that impact is even more pronounced. Why? Because success in math is the number one predictor of overall academic success and future well-being – even more so than literacy. A lack of math skills is also associated with poor health, financial instability, and other problems. That’s why it is so important to give all children the opportunity to succeed in math. It means success in life – and a more prosperous and equitable country.
It is also why there has never been a more critical time than now for the National Book Fund. In 2010, JUMP Math created this unique annual Canadian Fund to enable elementary school teachers in communities across Canada to access JUMP Math professional development and learning resources for their classroom. Through this Fund, JUMP Math is directly impacting and supporting teachers.
This project, made possible thanks to generous donors, including the TD Bank Financial Group, who sponsored the Fund for the past five years, is open to elementary teachers in all communities across Canada, including those in high-need, isolated and Indigenous communities.
Teachers can apply for funding from the National Book Fund annually for up to a maximum of three years of support. Based on a detailed selection process, they are provided with JUMP Math resources for their classroom and teacher professional development for the year. The program also offers a great opportunity for teachers to develop their own teaching strategies through the use of the resources and through support from the JUMP Math professional learning team.
Teachers using these resources and methods are seeing the changes in their student outcomes. JUMP Math receives abundant praise from teachers annually on the transformative impact the resources and teaching supports provided have had on them as teachers and on their students, from the most challenged to the most advanced in the class. They say the biggest benefit is that the resources enable teachers to find entry points for each learner, so that they can differentiate instruction, extending problems for those that need a challenge and adding practice for those who need more support.
Tammy McKinley, a Grade 4 teacher at a small rural school in Chilliwack, BC who participated in the program is very enthusiastic about the program’s benefits, “Once I began implementing JUMP Math as my primary math program, all students quickly made gains. I have been able to see my students’ confidence in their ability to solve problems grow tremendously. JUMP Math has solid pedagogy, and it scaffolds the lessons well. Without the support of the National Book Fund, I would not be able to supply my students with the practice books that are so vital to their fluency…”
Another long-term benefit of the project, is that participating teachers willingly share their knowledge with colleagues, becoming ‘math champions for change’, not only for their students, but for the broader school communities.
Over the past ten years, the National Book Fund has benefitted more than 31,000 students and 1,175 teachers across Canada. The results of pre- and post-testing of the program’s impact indicate that participating students’ math skills grew at a significantly higher rate (2.5 times, on average) than the expected progress. Program participants have demonstrated that the supports offered through this program have led to dramatic improvements in both math achievement and self-confidence in the students who participate, as well as improved confidence in the teachers’ math instruction abilities.
These results are a testament to teacher dedication and to JUMP Math’s ability to reach children of differing ability levels in the classroom – typically one of the greatest challenges faced by teachers.
“Being able to offer the National Book Fund has been a resounding success year after year and we hope to find new funders to continue this valuable project,” notes Liz Barrett, Outreach Manager at JUMP Math.The National Book Fund has the potential to help even more children across Canada gain access to math resources and supports that will not only help them recoup learning loss in math but enable them to go even farther in school and in life than they ever dreamed. Contact our Development team to learn more.