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Marco Ramirez is an award-winning educator who has successfully transformed schools using mathematics as leverage for change.
After working eighteen-hour days as a buyer and broker, Marco did some soul searching and realized that he wanted to have more time for family and a life outside of work. His wife, Julie, suggested that he work as a substitute teacher while returning to college. "What I never expected was that working with students would be so fulfilling. I became fascinated with the thoughtful process that needs to occur in order for children to construct meaning."
Marco's work is practical and rooted in the classroom: “Modeling the ideas and structures we wrote about is a powerful way for teachers and schools to make sense of the small steps they need to take that lead to success.” He has taught multiple grade levels, has served on state and national committees, and has won the Milken Educator of the Year Award as a principal.
During the past two decades, Chris Confer and Marco Ramirez have worked to deepen and improve mathematics instruction at schools around the country. Wherever they go, they find the raw ingredients for success already present. InSmall Steps, Big Changes: Eight Essential Practices for Transforming Schools Through Mathematics, the authors identify eight tested principles that transform what can be an overwhelming process into a set of comprehensible and concrete steps. Each phase of the change process is brought to life through the stories and perspectives of teachers, coaches, and principals—stories that will strike familiar chords for every educator.
When teachers make sense of math, students learn to make sense of math, and that can profoundly change the entire culture of a school. In one vivid illustration, the authors tell the story of Pueblo Gardens Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, where Marco, as principal, and Chris, as instructional coach, worked alongside a group of dedicated teachers. A few years into the change process, Pueblo Gardens -- a school with 96 percent of its students at the poverty level and a high percentage of English language learners -- had 94 percent of students meeting or exceeding state standards in third-grade mathematics. Over time, other grades achieved similarly high scores. And once the test scores rose, they were sustained at high levels.
Mathematizing Children’s Literature
Sparking Connections, Joy, and Wonder Through Read-Alouds and Discussion