A Math Teacher’s Experience with JFYNet
by Lakisha N. Scott, high school mathematics teacher, Boston Public Schools
Over my 29 years as a certified math teacher working in public and private schools in different states, in urban and suburban districts with a wide range of diversity, I have not come across a more useful and user-friendly online platform than the one offered by JFYNet.
I have used many different online platforms and curricula in an ever-changing, challenging and demanding time for K12 education. Teaching math, or any subject, in an urban high school is very difficult because we have so many types of learners with so many divergent needs that require so much individual attention, especially now in the time of COVID.
I can state beyond a doubt that JFYNet’s online math curriculum has become critical for my teaching practice because it helps me differentiate and customize my instruction for Special Needs, English Language Learners, Advanced Placement students, honors students and students who are on grade level. Being online, the program works as well for remote as for hybrid or in-person learning—obviously a critical flexibility factor now. The transition between home and school is seamless.
I can create any type of assignment I designate, such as a quiz, test, or practice. That unit can serve a variety of purposes: remediation, enrichment, practice for current standards that need to be covered, standardized test prep for state or national levels, as well as local and college-level exams such as Accuplacer. I can also use it for whole class instruction by sharing my screen with the students. The range and flexibility are unlimited. It makes the virtual classroom an engaging learning environment for students.
My students and I love the smart technology feature that grades a student the same way a seasoned math teacher would by giving partial credit for answers that are close to the correct answer. Students can show their steps and not just type in a binary right/wrong. When I review their work, I can see their thought process and the actual progress they are making in every answer they submit. I can also assign multiple choice, true/false, or open response questions. All these features align with the question style of MCAS 2.0, making the program serve simultaneously as grade-level standards instruction and MCAS prep.
Whenever I need assistance, the JFYNet team is always available to help. I have known Cathie Maglio, our Learning Specialist, since I began using the JFYNet program in 2017 at another school. From the time I met her, she has always been available to come into my classroom to help me get set up and to meet with me as often as I needed. Now, in my virtual classroom, I can email her anytime and she replies instantly with precise and useful information. Her background as a college math teacher and software designer is invaluable as well as her years in the high school trenches with JFYNet. She understands my unique circumstances as a high school math teacher and what my students and I need most.
My only complaint is that I can spend too much time surfing through the enormous amount of material they have in their data bank. I can get so immersed in choosing problems that instead of spending 15 minutes creating a quiz, I end up spending an hour falling in love with the many alternative ways the questions are presented and assessed. If I’m not careful, I end up choosing too many interesting items and turning my short quiz into a 60 minute exam. The material is so good I really want to use it all.
I will close by saying that this JFYNet program has given me newfound hope that I can meet the needs of all my students and provide them with a strong math foundation that will propel them to make continuing gains in math literacy. The excellence of the content and the support of the staff have helped me maintain, and actually raise, the quality of my instruction even in this disrupted year. When we return to the classroom, I’ll continue and expand my use of the program, mining its depth and range to make my instruction as individualized as the needs and learning styles of my students.
JFYNet, the online learning program of JFYNetWorks, provides online resources, training, and support.
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