Chelmsford elementary students thriving with new math curriculum

CHELMSFORD, Massachusetts (April 3, 2024) – A new elementary math curriculum was introduced at the start of the 2023-24 academic year at Chelmsford Public Schools, and, so far, it has been a success among teachers and students.

“In my book, it’s a 5 [out of 5],” said Ann Swierzbin, elementary math coach for Chelmsford Public Schools. “Classroom after classroom, I’m seeing a greater understanding and more number sense. That, to me, is a big checkmark.”

Dr. Matthew Beyranevand, mathematics department coordinator for Chelmsford Public Schools, said part of the strategic plan for the district included the implementation of a new math curriculum.

At the elementary level, Reveal Math was chosen after being piloted last year.

Choosing a new curriculum

Prior to implanting Reveal Math, the district used Math Expressions at the elementary level.

“It was a good program,” Dr. Beyranevand said. “It covered the standards, teachers, for the most part were happy with it, but [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt] stopped updating it and advancing it because they wanted to move on to a different program.”

For that reason, Dr. Beyranevand said the district opted to undergo a full math curriculum adoption process.

“We probably looked at 10 or 12 different programs,” he said. “We narrowed that down to two programs.”

Those two programs were piloted by 10-12 teachers at a variety of grade levels and schools for about three to four months last year.

The teachers conducted their own evaluations of both programs, and Ms. Swierzbin visited each of the classrooms to observe what was happening and get feedback from both teachers and students.

“When we gathered all of the data afterwards, it was not even really close,” Dr. Beyranevand said. “The Reveal program was head and shoulders above the others.”

Implementing Reveal Math

With a program selected and teachers enthusiastic about the new curriculum, the next step was to implement Reveal Math.

However, that decision came at the end of the 2022-23 school year.

“We wanted it to be implemented for this fall,” Dr. Beyranevand said. “But the thing was, there was no time in the professional development calendar to get everybody trained ahead of time.”

Thus, a voluntary training was held over the summer, and about 30 teachers – one person from each grade-level team at each school – participated.

“So, in addition to Ann or myself, they had a person on their team that understood the basics of the program, so that everybody could at least get started,” Dr. Beyranevand explained.

Once the pilot teachers became familiar with the program, they, along with Dr. Beyranevand and Ms. Swierzbin, worked to develop a pacing guide for each of the K-5 programs to make sure everyone was on the same page.

“One of the things we will be doing this summer is updating our pacing guides based on the feedback and the things we heard primarily from teachers as to what worked and what didn’t work,” Dr. Beyranevand said.

Seeing positive results

Ms. Swierzbin, in her visits to the numerous elementary math classrooms in the district, said she is noticing a tremendous enthusiasm for math that she hasn’t seen before.

“[Students] are realizing that there’s more than one way to solve a problem, mathematically,” she said. “I’m so excited when I go in and how they say, ‘I’m going to adjust these numbers to subtract them.’ … I get goosebumps just thinking about it.”

Every lesson begins with a “Think, Notice, Wonder” activity, which prompts students to make observations, ask questions and explain their thought processes.

“What’s nice about it, is it has a low barrier of entry,” Dr. Beyranevand said. “Every student, no matter what, can at least observe something they see.”

Last month, Byam Elementary School Principal Jason Fredette and Assistant Principal Betsy Dolan went before the Chelmsford School Committee to discuss the implementation of Reveal Math, and what they’re seeing in the classrooms.

“It’s the first program in mathematics I’ve seen that really takes a good look and an effort to implement a lot of social-emotional learning into it,” Mr. Fredette said.

Mr. Fredette said teachers at Byam appreciate that all the lessons come in a slide deck that allows them leniency in how they present their lessons.

“They can, from lesson to lesson and classroom to classroom, customize it a bit,” he said. “They do like having that customization of it.”

Larissa Weeks, a second-grade teacher at Byam Elementary, said her students have really been enjoying Reveal Math, especially the Be Curious component.

“They’re so engaged, they’re all raising their hands; they want to share,” she said. “I noticed, since the beginning of the year, that their conversations have become more advanced. … I’m even noticing that some students who might not normally share are participating.”

To learn more about the K-5 Reveal Math program, visit

About Chelmsford Public Schools

The Chelmsford Public School District provides all students with multiple pathways to optimize their own potential for academic excellence, leadership, and social and emotional wellness. The mission of the Chelmsford Public Schools is to educate, engage, prepare, and empower well-rounded and knowledgeable learners to PERSEVERE through challenges, demonstrate RESPECT and INTEGRITY in their words and actions, are DEDICATED to their community, and display EMPATHY as global citizens while discovering and pursuing their full potential. This PRIDE-driven culture enables all members of the school community to support the growth and development of students. For more information, please visit