Educator Services

Teachers' Top Three from ESE — November 2, 2017

  1. In the News: Lawrence Teacher Receives Milken Award
    Dan Adler, a sixth-grade science teacher at UP Academy Leonard, part of the Lawrence Public Schools, got a huge surprise Wednesday morning when he and the rest of his school learned that he had won a Milken Educator Award, a recognition that comes with a $25,000 check! Mr. Adler is one of up to 45 Milken winners across the country this year. He is the only one from Massachusetts this year and the first ever from Lawrence Public Schools.

    After the initial shock wore off a bit, he told the crowd in the school's gym that the recognition really wasn't about him. "It's the incredible work all the scholars in this building do every day," he said.

    For information about the Milken Educator Awards, go to the Milken web site.

  2. Teacher Reflection: Teach Math Like This, Not Like That: Four Critical Areas to Improve Student Learning

    Matthew Beyranevand, the Chelmsford K-12 mathematics coordinator and member of the Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council, recently published a book for mathematics teachers.

    There are four critical areas for teachers of mathematics to focus on to help improve student learning: planning, pedagogy, assessment, and relationships.

    Planning: One underutilized resource is drawing from the history of mathematics. Not only is the math built from conceptual understanding, but there are also many opportunities to for authentic student engagement. I enjoy sharing with my students how the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Greeks worked to get a more precise value of pi using creative techniques.

    Pedagogy: George Polya said, "It is better to solve one problem five ways than five problems one way." We need to show our students many ways to solve problems associated with the standards and allow students the opportunity to come up with their own unique methods.

    Assessment: I believe in offering students a structured format for retaking assignments. If a student reflects on the mistakes made, comes for extra help, and has made up all their assignments, I allow them to retake assessments for a new grade. I believe in encouraging students to learn the material, even after the test, because that base of knowledge will be critical to understanding the next concepts.

    Relationships: Forming positive relationships with all stakeholders is an essential part of academic success. It is even more critical in mathematics, as many students dislike the subject and begin with a negative attitude. Promoting a growth mindset in the classroom can help strengthen these relationships by praising students based on effort and not results.

    To hear more from Matthew, go to his website,, or follow him on Twitter @mathwithmatthew.

  3. Get Involved: Upcoming Twitter Chats
    The Department is partnering with Massachusetts educators to facilitate a series of Twitter chats related to standards-based learning using the hashtag #SBLchatMA. The chats follow a question and answer format, and you can access the chats any time by searching for the hashtag on Twitter. You can review the ELA/literacy chat. We have scheduled an #SBLchatMA about science, technology, and engineering from 8-9 p.m. on November 29 and a math chat from 8-9 p.m. on December 20. Please email if you have any questions.

Correction: The October 19, 2017 issue of Teachers' Top Three from ESE included a broken link for the interactive parent guide to the next-generation MCAS. line Help us reach more teachers — Share this email with your colleagues and encourage them to sign up! To subscribe, go to Teachers' Top Three subscription form. We also invite you to connect with other teachers across the state and ESE staff on Twitter. Find us at @MASchoolsK12 and use #Top3fromESE to discuss items from this newsletter or suggest new topics. If you have suggestions for content or questions or comments, you can reach a member of our staff at

Last Updated: November 3, 2017

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