DUSD demonstrates new math approach to other school districts

DOWNEY – Downey Unified hosted visitations from nearly 150 educators from surrounding counties this week who traveled to see firsthand how Downey Unified implements Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) as the basis of elementary math instruction. 

CGI is an approach to teaching and learning math where problem solving is the focus of instruction. Students are expected to make sense of the math and use previous understandings to decide how to solve each problem they encounter. 

Through CGI, emphasis is placed on thinking and understanding. Students are active learners and explain their thinking and are asked to apply the math to actual situations. These are skills emphasized in the California Content Standards, and more importantly, skills that students need to have to be successful in both college and today’s workforce, DUSD officials said. 

Teachers, administrators, and superintendents from districts such as Manhattan Beach Unified, Long Beach Unified, Los Angeles Unified, Fullerton Elementary, Tustin Unified, and Redondo Beach Unified spent their mornings for two consecutive days visiting the classrooms of two Downey Unified elementary schools. Their goal was to observe the way this curriculum is taught to Downey Unified students in order to obtain information that they will then bring back to implement within their own districts. 

“I asked one of our guests if what he observed was any different than what he sees in the many schools he goes into,” said Melissa Canham, Downey Unified’s mathematics teacher specialist. “He looked at me confused and said how much different these classes were. He then wanted to know when he could come back and observe more classes.” 

The first visitations took place at Gallatin Elementary where guests sat in during transitional kindergarten through third-grade math instruction. 

The second visitation was held at Old River Elementary during fourth and fifth-grade math instruction; guests monitored both the teacher and the students as they demonstrated what successful CGI and effective math instruction look like in an actual lesson.

“There were approximately 150 visitors to the math visitation and many left truly inspired by what they saw and wanted to know when they could return with members of their home sites so they could see what they experienced,” said Denise Takano, director of elementary curriculum for DUSD. "Our students are achieving and thriving within this program and their futures look very bright as they continuing learning this approach to math.” 

More visitations are being scheduled for members of other school districts as the school year continues. 

For more information about CGI instruction or to see the latest news on CGI within Downey Unified, visit dusd.net/cgi.


NewsStaff ReportDUSD, CGI