Email this pageEmail This Page

Tom Schersten

Teach Math So They Want More

Teachers and administrators around the United States rave about math consultant Tom Schersten because he has the ability to not only advance the instruction of math but to make math enthusiasts out of the most unlikely. Lest that last part sound like an implausible claim, remember it is Tom’s enthusiastic clients who make it! Fortunately for us, this accomplished, national math consultant lives right here in New England.

Tom Schersten is a career educator devoted to improving competence in and appreciation for mathematics as an empowering life skill. A college degree in math and twenty years of classroom experience at all grade levels kindergarten through eighth have nurtured Tom’s belief in the use of manipulative and problem-solving approaches to teaching mathematics, a process which facilitates differentiation of instruction for all students from remedial settings to enrichment. Tom has successfully pursued full time consulting for 19 years and in 22 states, promoting curriculum, instruction, and assessment consistent with the Common Core.

A word on the Math Common Core:
The Common Core State Standards have ushered in a new era in US education, especially in the domain of mathematics. No longer is memorizing paper-and-pencil algorithms sufficient for demonstrating mastery of mathematical thinking. Through math modeling with 2-dimensional drawings and/or 3-dimensional manipulatives, students must be able to explain concepts, justify procedures and apply those understandings and skills in problem solving situations. The logo on Tom’s business card for the last 20 years has been “Math Models for Understanding.”

The writers of the CCSS clearly have a deep understanding and appreciation for mathematics, as does Tom Schersten, who graduated with a B. A. in mathematics before returning to college to pick up the necessary credentials to become a public school teacher. Tom is now supporting teachers in both understanding and implementing this new set of standards by increasing content knowledge and decreasing math phobia.

Tom has created study guides for the CCSS from Kindergarten through 8th grade (and for Pre-Kindergarten in the Mass Framework). His condensations of the Common Core highlight the main ideas for each grade level and allow teachers to establish a vital foothold in “owning” the CCSS.

Having demystified the CCSS, Tom shares classroom activities that can support each standard. His 20 years of classroom experience in all grades Kindergarten through Grade 8 and his 19 years of full-time math consulting, supported by a degree in mathematics, provide Tom with the knowledge and experience necessary to serve as a masterful teacher trainer in math for the 21st century.

A word on math and students in special education from Tom:
“We can differentiate our math instruction for all students by modeling with manipulatives. Special education students in particular benefit greatly from being able to make use of the skills they DO have, which are many times in areas other than verbal-linguistic intelligence, which is what public schools typically stress to the exclusion of the other ways of thinking and knowing. Representing math with concrete manipulatives provides visual, spatial, tactile, and kinesthetic input to the learner, allowing for greater participation by more of our students as we engage more areas of the brain. Further, when students are able to participate with greater latitude at their own developmental levels and with their own learning styles, many behavior problems begin to dissipate, as the need for avoidance behaviors diminishes.”

What are teachers, students, administrators & parents saying about math consultant Tom Schersten?

Elevated Testing Results:
“You have had such a definite impact on our teaching here. Our math scores on state assessments are rising each year, and we want that to continue. Much of this progress is due to your guidance and influence. Many thanks!” Principal, NH

“You’ve worked yourself out of a job. Our students have improved so much that we’re no longer eligible for special Chapter I funds to remediate our math instruction.” Principal, VT

Residencies with Demonstration Teaching:
“First, I want to thank you for accomplishing in a few days what I have been unable to do in many years; namely, getting teachers to understand the importance of concrete operations to later abstract thinking. You have very ably demonstrated this and made believers out of the staff.” Principal, Newport, New York

Increased Student Involvement:
“This is funner than recess!” Second Grade Student, VT

“Shawn is usually disruptive during class, but he’s right with you the whole time, answering questions.” Teacher, ME

“Mr. Schersten is an energetic speaker who held the attention of the children very well. It is evident he has worked in the classroom for many years.” Teacher, ME

Improved Teacher Competence:
“Tom excited me about teaching math again, empowered me, and helped me to come up with new techniques. From being with Tom, listening to him, I feel revived as a professional. I am energized – I don’t want to let this go.” Teacher, ME

“I hated math as a kid and dreaded doing it with my students. Now it’s my favorite subject. I could do it all day long.” Teacher, DE

“I got so many great ideas that I can use in my classroom immediately. I can hardly wait to share this stuff with my class.” Teacher, CT

Enhanced Parent Satisfaction:
“It’s really great seeing my kid enjoy and succeed in math in a way that I never did. These blocks really hold his interest, and he can do things that I never could. I always hated math. I wish I had had a teacher like Tom.” Parent, NY

“I want to thank you for making me feel so comfortable and welcome in school this week. Tom is surely a master teacher in every sense of the word. I’m delighted that we are involved in such a good school system.” Parent, VT

Workshops and Graduate Courses:
“Under Tom’s leadership the course was extraordinarily successful…there was unanimous agreement that Tom is a highly qualified instructor who has imagination, knowledge, and the ability to communicate with and inspire teachers…Tom got excellent reviews.” University Administrator, Brattleboro, Vermont

Family Math Events:
“For me, it might have been Family Tarantula Night. When my son brought home the notice of Family Math Night, I felt the old familiar panic setting in…The fatal evening arrived, and off we went, full of fear and excitement…Thanks, Tom. I still can’t believe it, but I had a lot of fun at Family Math Night.” Parent, Albany, Vermont