Throughout the pandemic, this middle school math teacher held students to high expectations whether they were learning in person or virtually

How a middle school teacher grew students’ math scores despite pandemic challenges


Throughout the pandemic, students were held to high expectations, whether they were learning in person or virtually

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As a senior at Indianapolis’ Ben Davis High School, Jacob Gregory enrolled in an Exploratory Teaching program. He thought of it as an easy way to leave school for a few hours, but it ended up sparking “an unknown interest in teaching,” he said. 

Today, the sixth grade math and science teacher at McKinley Elementary School is a quiet rock star. The school’s sixth grade growth scores in math are at nearly 58 percent, meaning more than half of the students met their individual growth targets on the state’s ILEARN test.

That kind of growth is well above the state average, and it’s one reason why McKinley Elementary had among the highest improvement rates in state test scores last year. 

Throughout the pandemic, Gregory held his students to high expectations, whether they were learning in person or virtually. 

“I never looked for ‘gaps’ or ‘learning loss.’ I never changed my teaching style or ‘geared it down’ just because we were sitting behind 12-inch screens,” he said. “I knew I could deliver quality instruction to my virtual and in-person students; it was just a matter of how I was going to pull it off virtually.”

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