Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Transformative Principal is 

May 31, 2020

How We Nearly Doubled Math Scores with Kevin Finnegan Transformative Principal 333

Social Media: When we saw Math could be a discussion, it totally changed everything.

Kevin Finnegan is the principal of Prairie Hill School in Illinois. His students recently showed a 77% growth in Math, and we talk about how he made that happen.

  • Prairie hill is the school and the community comes together around it.
  • Northern Illinois, PK–4th grade.
  • 9 years as the principal.
  • Mission statement: Students first, always.
  • PLC school
  • Reformed schedule so that every day (4 teachers per team) have an hour of common collaborative time every day.
  • Why are we making this decision? The students are always the bringback.
  • Norms: imagine the students you are talking about are here.
  • To be a great principal is easy. You just have to have a great staff.
  • PE teacher said, “I want students more.”
  • Each class has 10 half hour blocks each week: Art, PE, STEM,
  • Always been a high performing district. Makes change really hard when you have had success in the past.
  • staff is competitive within themselves.
  • Noticed that math scores were less than we expected.
  • Dove into the data.
  • Computation was awesome, but they struggled with elaborating on their thoughts.
  • In every math assignment, adding the words, “I know this because…”
  • If you see something that can be done in Kindergarten it can be done anywhere.
  • Ready Math - iReady as platforms for learning.
  • Standards based School, done in isolation.
  • Common language in math.
  • Didn’t get good training at first, but then got good training and that made a huge difference.
  • Math has always dealt black and white.
  • Math didn’t have to be one answer, it could be a discussion, totally changed everything.
  • Talking about kids’ growth, talking about assessments, classwork, and then looking at the data.
  • It’s not about what you teach, it’s about what we learned.
  • How long did it take to understand that it was working?
  • It fit us, rather than us fitting it.
  • How to be a transformative principal? Spend a little time with kids, like on their birthday. It’s a constant reminder that kids come first.

Today’s Transformative Principal sponsor, John Catt Educational, has been publishing high quality guidebooks, magazines and educator-focused professional development books since 1959. John Catt’s mission is to support high-quality teaching and learning by ensuring every educator has access to professional development materials that are research-based, practical, and focused on the key topics proven essential in today’s and tomorrow’s schools.

John Catt amplifies fresh voices on timeless topics, with a list of authors recognized around the world for their fresh perspectives and proven strategies to drive success in modern schools and classrooms. Learn more about these professional development publications that are easy to implement for your entire faculty, and are both quickly digestible and rigorous, by visiting 

Visit this page to learn more about bulk orders and how to bring John Catt’s research-based materials to your school:

Learn about some of John Catt Educational’s newest publications: