About me

My name is Beth Brady. My teaching journey started when I was 7 years old and playing teacher with my sisters in the attic! Then, when it was time to go to college and decide on a major, I remembered that I liked babysitting and I liked kids, so maybe I should go into teaching. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I went to the University of Massachusetts and studied Early Childhood Education and became certified to teach students with and without disabilities in grades K-3. I was lucky enough to get a job right after graduating in 1992, teaching first grade in Northampton, Massachusetts. My first two years were at the Jackson Street School and then I moved over to the Robert K. Finn Ryan Road Elementary School, where I have been ever since. I taught first and second grades and in 2016, I became a Math Interventionist.

I got a Masters in Teaching Reading at Elms College and graduated in 1998. I loved teaching reading, but it’s not where I found my passion. 

I took my first SummerMath For Teachers class at Mt. Holyoke College in 1996. That experience is indelible in my brain. We studied the Base Ten system by looking at and re-creating a Base 3 system. It helped me understand numbers in a way I had never thought about before. Not only that, the actual learning environment was something I had never experienced before. Since then, I have taken many SummerMath For Teachers and Developing Math Ideas (DMI) courses at Mt. Holyoke College, some of them with the same content, but always learning more. 

In 2015, I took my first AddVantage Math Recovery© course: a 4-day, intense training. It is professional development that teaches how to interview children 1:1 and pinpoint what they know and also where their gaps are in their mathematical understanding. It gives us specific starting points to teach our students.  Since then, I have completed AVMR2, Math Recovery© Intervention Specialist training, Math Recovery© Champion training, MRISw, and I have trained over 75 of my district’s teachers in Math Recovery©. 

It seems hard to fathom now, but consecutive with all of this Math Recovery© training, I earned a second Masters in Teaching Mathematics at Mt. Holyoke College in the Masters of Arts in Mathematics Teaching in 2018. I received a $24,000 NCTM Mathematics Education Trust Grant to pay for my masters!

My proposal is to become better equipped to be an instrumental part in transforming
elementary mathematics teaching in my district by leading professional development. I have a
very good understanding of the math that I teach, but I want to strengthen the upper levels of
my understandings. 
The way I learned math as a child did not help me understand the “why” behind the math. I
have grown a fervent desire to explore how math concepts work. This exploration helps me
remember and apply what I learned. Mt. Holyoke College’s Masters of Arts in Mathematics
Teaching will encourage me to do that. I plan to offer DMI classes after taking the facilitation
course. I want to be a facilitator with unquestionable, deep understandings. This MAMT
program will enable me to differentiate my PD offerings because I will know what to look and
listen for even with adult learners.
My proposal for the NCTM MET Grant

When I wrote this proposal, I had no idea how I was going to accomplish this great task of changing how math is taught in our district! It was at Mt. Holyoke College, in the leadership courses that I started to have an idea of how to help change happen. How could I reshape how teachers think about math instruction? With the vision in my mind of a certain learning environment that I want to create with adult learners being shaped by experiencing it at Mt. Holyoke College, I started to lead more and more math professional development. I work tirelessly with teachers across the district to figure out how to implement our understandings of Math Recovery© in the classroom, which is not easy since it is not a prescribed program with a script.  It is by working together that we have changed how we teach math. I have become a better teacher by working with my colleagues instead of trying to improve all by myself.

Dina Mendola and I at the USMRC National Conference in Rhode Island, November 20, 2019

I presented with Dina Mendola at the 2019 US Math Recovery© Conference in Rhode Island about the ground-breaking work we are doing here in Northampton in conjunction with the Massachusetts Tiered Academy Grant and the Math Recovery© Council. 

Eight years ago, when my then principal, now dear friend Margie Riddle told me that she thought I had leadership qualities, l was incredulous. I had no idea what she was talking about. Fast forward to now and I absolutely love working with adults and see myself as a leader. I love the thought-partnerships I’ve developed. I used to be inside my classroom. All by myself. Teaching well, and loving it, but all by myself. Not anymore.

This website/blog and my new YouTube Channel are intended to make an open space for teachers to talk about what they see their students doing or hear their students saying in math class and to wonder and notice together. It’s a place to offer suggestions. Respectfully and honestly asking questions, offering ideas, or bringing up new topics. Let’s explore whose voice is in math class together!

As of March 19, 2020 I’m video taping myself teaching my own daughter, but really she’s teaching me about what she understands. I hope teachers can find something interesting to ponder either about my questioning or about her thoughts or…?

For Caregivers, I offer examples of what it’s like to interact with a child about mathematical ideas. In my videos, you’ll see my daughter Eleanor growing her mathematical thinking in real time. You’ll see me as both a parent and a teacher, imperfections and all. I am live-streaming the lessons and keeping them unedited to keep them honest and human.

The other best decisions I’ve made are to marry my husband Sean in 2005, and have our children Jack and Eleanor. None of this is possible without them!

The Brady family at Easter 2019