Meet the PVNC Catholic Math Achievement Team

Jennifer Minnie, Nancy McCarthy, Jeannie Armstrong, Sandra Connolly, Adelle Cronin and Amanda Walchuk will be putting the province’s Math Achievement Action Plan into operation at PVNC Catholic

The six-member team don matching navy T-shirts reading “MATH: Mistakes Allow Thinking to Happen.” One superintendent. Two central consultants. Three newly appointed math coaches. This is the PVNC Catholic Math Achievement Team. 

Formed in the early weeks of September, the team is responsible for operationalizing the Ministry of Education’s Math Achievement Action Plan for the 2023-2024 school year. 

The province’s plan aims to significantly boost school board support for math educators, increase the number of math coaches working directly with teachers and students in schools, expand access to digital math tools for students and parents/guardians, and enhance skills of new teachers through dedicated training and additional math qualification courses.

The team’s work begins immediately, explains Superintendent of Learning Jeannie Armstrong, who is the Board’s newly appointed Math Lead.

“I am looking forward to working with this incredible team of math educators to support our principals, vice-principals, teachers, parents/guardians and students,” Armstrong said. “We have no time to waste and we’re ready and eager to get going.”

As the Math Lead, Armstrong will inform, monitor and report on Board-wide math progress to the Ministry of Education. 

“All students can develop a love for mathematics and our team will support our wonderful school staff to ensure student engagement and achievement as we strive to successfully realize the goals set by the Ministry of Education,” Armstrong said. 

The Math Coaches will work in priority schools (using EQAO results as indicators) in Grade 3, 6, and 9 classrooms. They will facilitate in-class lessons through modelling and coaching, collaborate with classroom educators to identify students’ strengths and needs, work directly with students who require additional support and lead professional development in schools and system-wide.

The Math Achievement Team will work collaboratively to identify key performance indicators for priority schools and support these schools in raising student achievement through educator support and engaging with students and parents/guardians. The team will also be hosting parent engagement evenings and professional development sessions for staff system-wide. Although a main focus is on priority schools, all schools will have a focus on math achievement. 

“It is my hope to help parents/guardians understand the importance of mathematical literacy and fluency for all students. We plan to do this through parent engagement sessions, school newsletter inserts, social media engagement and regular presentations to school councils and the Board’s Catholic Parent Engagement Committee,” Armstrong said. 

Meet the Team 

Jeannie Armstrong Jeannie Armstong is Superintendent of Learning/Math Lead/School Effectiveness and the FOS Superintendent for Peterborough and County Schools. She has more than 28 years experience as an educator and led K-12 math previously in her superintendent role. Prior to becoming a superintendent, Jeannie led extensive principal professional development in the area of math learning and a data-driven coding project to support math skills (computational thinking, numeracy, spatial reasoning) with eight school boards throughout the province. 
Sandra Connolly Sandra Connolly is a long-serving central math consultant who has helped facilitate system-wide math initiatives for many years. She is a data-driven guru who regularly oversees data analysis for multiple departments and serves as the lead facilitator for EQAO centrally. She is also the long-time organizer of the popular board-wide PVNC Catholic Math Olympics.

Everyone is a mathematician, and it is important for students to have the opportunity to explore math and make sense of it to build their conceptual understanding. My favourite days of the school year are when schools bring their teams to participate in the elementary Math Olympics held in PVNC Catholic each spring, and the room is filled with the sound of students excitedly solving problems together. “

Nancy McCarthy Nancy McCarthy is new to the central team, having taken on the position of Learning Consultant for math and French programs. Nancy has been teaching with PVNC Catholic for the past eight years, including seven years as a French Immersion teacher at Good Shepherd CES in Courtice. With a passion for math and the French language, Nancy has focused her professional development in those two areas. She has a specialist in mathematics, primary and junior, as well as a specialist in French as a Second Language. 

“Math has always been a passion of mine, and as I embark on this new opportunity I want to remind others that there is no such thing as ‘being good at math.’ We all have the capacity to learn math and do math. My goal is to ensure that we all learn to use the right tools so that we can bring that thinking and mindset to all PVNC Catholic students. We have amazing and talented teachers at PVNC Catholic, doing amazing things with talented students. We should all strive to bring this learning together because ‘success is best when it’s shared.’”

Amanda Walchuk Amanda Walchuk will be a math coach this year. She is entering into her 20th year with PVNC Catholic, where she has spent most of her career at St. Mother Teresa CES in Courtice and has experience teaching a variety of grades from Kindergarten to Grade 8. In addition to being a classroom teacher, Amanda was an assessment partner and participated in many professional development sessions over the years in math, Deep Learning and pedagogy in early learning. She has additional qualifications in intermediate math and primary/junior math. Besides a love of mathematics, Amanda has a special interest in inquiry-based learning and media literacy. 

“I am very excited to get to do math everyday with teachers and students in their classrooms. I hope that I can help students learn to love math and develop their confidence to become problem-solvers and critical thinkers.”

Adelle Cronin Adelle Cronin will be a math coach this year. She has been an educator since 2018, teaching students from Kindergarten to Grade 8. Before transitioning to teaching, she spent nearly a decade in the medical device industry, honing her skills in customer service and sales and discovering her “love for numbers.”

“As a teacher, I’ve made it my personal mission to dedicate a substantial portion of my professional growth to the field of mathematics education. I am deeply passionate about sharing the knowledge I’ve gained with fellow educators. I eagerly anticipate the learning experiences that await me in this new role, as I collaborate with fellow educators to make mathematics a meaningful and engaging subject for our students.” 

Jennifer Minnie Jennifer Minnie will be a math coach this year. Teaching is a second career for Jennifer, who worked as a human resources professional for 10 years. She has worked as a PVNC Catholic educator for the past 18 years at the elementary and secondary levels, most recently teaching within the Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School math department. 

“With this new position, I am looking forward to working with new colleagues in the City of Kawartha Lakes region and having the opportunity to further support math learning in their amazing classrooms. Working with students in grades 3, 6 and 9 will be a rewarding experience that I am eager to start.”