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Meriden Public Schools, Meriden, Connecticut

Flipping Math: Teachers Changing How They Teach to Meet Today’s Students
FLIPPING TOGETHER—By making hundreds of math lessons available any time online, teachers in Meriden have created extra classroom time for working one-on-one with students.
Meriden Public Schools
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High school teachers in Meriden Public Schools in Connecticut have a new tool to overcome the “I’m bad at math” mindset common among students: flipped learning.

The approach, introduced in 2014-15 school year as district math scores were declining, means teachers spend very little time lecturing to their classes. Instead, they work with individuals or small groups on specific assignments or topics. The students, using Chromebooks provided by the district’s 1-to-1 initiative, watch teacher-created videos as homework so they can get help with challenging concepts during class. 

“Students are now able to ask targeted questions about areas they don’t understand and get the support they need from the teacher,” Superintendent Mark Benigni says. “In addition, students feel much more confident about their abilities since they are demonstrating mastery of content before they move forward.”

Meriden’s teachers have worked together to develop and record hundreds of math lessons, to which students have 24-hour-a-day access. Students can pause and watch the videos as many times as they need to, says Barbara A. Haeffner, the district’s director of curriculum and instructional technology.

When this shift began, all 24 of the district’s high school math teachers participated in several days of professional development led by Jonathan Bergmann, co-author of Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day. The district also created student-centered learning coaches (who were formerly expert teachers) to support its educators as they implemented the new approach. 

Technology-integration specialists continue to work regularly with teachers to model lessons and help with new technology. “Teachers now feel like learning time is being maximized and personalized,” Benigni says. 

Teachers report a greater level of student engagement in their classes. And college and career-readiness scores in math, as measured by the PSAT, have increased: 4.7 percent in grade 9, 7.6 percent in grade 10 and 8.1 percent in grade 11. 

The district shares this and other data to demonstrate the effectiveness of flipped learning to teachers and parents. “Teachers and principals clearly recognize the benefit of flipped learning when they observe how a math class looks with the teacher moving around the room working with small groups or one-on-one rather than standing in front of the room lecturing to the whole class,” Benigni says.