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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: May 11, 2023 10:22 AM
From: Representative Barbara Gleim
To: All House members
Subject: First In Math Legislation
In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation that will create the First in Math initiative within the Department of Education. First in Math is a widely used online program which features hundreds of engaging math games designed to strengthen fact fluency, automaticity, computational thinking, and other critical math skills.
As stated, the initiative will be administered through the Dept. of Education over a five-year period to provide the First in Math services to every K-5 student in the Commonwealth. The program will be optional and flexible. The flexibility can include enrichment/extension, fun summer learning, and/or supplement current work being done in the classroom. Furthermore, this initiative will not be mandated in the school’s curriculum.
Currently, approximately 20% of schools in the Commonwealth utilize First in Math and student engagement and results are extremely encouraging. For instance, Marvine Elementary School in the Bethlehem Area School District, saw a 24.8% increase in students scoring proficient and advanced on PSSA mathematics from 2017 to 2019.
Furthermore, the School District of Philadelphia implemented First in Math back in the early 2000s. The 2004 PSSA math scores showed a 7.4% increase in 5th grade students scoring at the proficient and above level. Improvement among their 8th grade students was a dramatic 11.1% increase. These results placed the district ahead of Pennsylvania’s average increase in scores, a 5.2% in 5th grade students and a 6.1% increase in 8th grade students.
There is a great need to implement this opportunity statewide to ensure we are continuing to close the learning gap that currently exists. First in Math is proven to improve the engagement and assist students in meeting grade-level fluency expectations.
Additionally, New York recently appropriated funding over a five-year period to launch a similar program titled the Expanded Math Access Program, which utilizes First in Math.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to guarantee every student in Pennsylvania has the opportunity to reinforce proficiency in mathematics.