Great schools make sure that every student in every classroom receives a stimulating and challenging education. PREP-KC’s benchmarking strategy provides the region’s urban teachers with the tools, supports, and coaching needed to provide this type of rigorous instruction for all students. PREP-KC supports math benchmarking in kindergarten through 12th grade, and literacy benchmarking in kindergarten through third grade.
“Because of (math) Benchmarking, students are much more aware of their progress. They can quickly see where they are doing well and where they still have work to do.”
In order to prepare for college coursework and challenging careers, students need to build up their math skills and knowledge over many years—from basic arithmetic in kindergarten through calculus and beyond in high school. PREP-KC’s math benchmarking team works with teachers to create a standard definition of what learners need to be able to know and do for every grade level from kindergarten through graduation. This approach allows teachers to ensure that every student has an opportunity to master mathematics at increasingly advanced levels, and be fully prepared for opportunities after high school.
“Because of Literacy Benchmarking, I have become more aware of each individual student’s reading strengths and weaknesses. I’m very appreciative of the incredible “tools” we have been given to support our classroom library, increase literacy and comprehension, and grow a love for reading.”
Children’s reading ability by the end of third grade is a strong predictor of how well they are likely to perform as they prepare for college coursework and challenging careers. PREP-KC’s literacy benchmarking team works with teachers to consistently implement all elements of the Balanced Literacy Continuum, and includes an additional focus on enhancing instructional practices in the areas of Read Alouds, Independent Reading, and utilization of Classroom Libraries. As part of PREP-KC’s K-3 literacy benchmarking initiative, PREP-KC provides each participating K-3 classroom with a “supplemental” library, which is carefully selected to provide high-quality books with diversity in topic, gender, and ethnicity. This approach enables teachers to ensure that every student has an opportunity to read proficiently at increasingly advanced levels of texts, and be fully prepared for opportunities after high school.
“I have adjusted my instructional practice several times due to Benchmarking. Too many to count!”
Research tells us that teachers most effectively learn new skills when they receive support and feedback in the classroom. PREP-KC’s expert coaches provide this support to both math and literacy teachers. Our coaches demonstrate new strategies, observe teachers in action, and provide feedback that is tailored to teachers’ needs. Coaches also work with principals and other building leaders to analyze data and provide support that helps integrate benchmarking strategies into their leadership approach.
I love the idea of meeting with other districts. The Benchmarking Cadre helps bring in consistency to stabilize the work and creates an opportunity to bring people to the table to promote leadership at different levels within our district”
PREP-KC’s Benchmarking Cadre focuses on continuous learning and collaboration that supports system-wide focused on high-impact instruction in math and literacy. The cadre consists of district teams that bring together district leaders, building administrators, instructional coaches, and classrooms teachers from PREP-KC’s partner districts. The Benchmarking Cadre supports districts in developing a strong internal team of colleagues with expertise in benchmarking and develops leadership capacity to strengthen Benchmarking, and allows colleagues within and across school district to share best practices and problem-solving strategies that work for both Math and Literacy Benchmarking.
Regional Math Relays
"I always appreciate the Math Relay event. My students enjoy coming, always do well, and love the recognition!".
For the past six years, PREP-KC’s Annual Math Relays have provided an opportunity for students to demonstrate the skills they’ve gained from hard work mastering the math benchmarks. Math Relays bring together PREP-KC partner schools’ top math students, and includes competition in five strands of mathematics, plus an exciting ACT skills competition. This daylong event develops student confidence in math skills through the application of problem solving in a fun and energetic environment.
PREP-KC hosts math relay competitions for both high school students as well as elementary math relays for students in fifth and sixth grades.