Lab School Mentorship Program

Lab School Mentorship Program

The Lab School Mentorship Program (LSMP)
Distance-Learning Format

The Lab School Mentorship Program (LSMP) provides the highest level and most intensive and comprehensive experience in helping MMR practitioners become complete clinical math educators. The possibility of receiving certification from David Berg and the Making Math Real Institute can be an additional outcome of the MMR practitioner’s successful mentorship experience. The LSMP is intended for highly experienced MMR practitioners and/or classroom teachers who have completed most or all of the MMR series of 12 courses, and most importantly, have been successfully practicing and applying MMR-based interventions at various levels and with students with diverse processing styles for two or more years.

The Genesis of the LSMP

Since going public with Making Math Real 25 years ago, David Berg has frequently expressed his wish for having a “lab school” format in which participants could receive guidance and supervision while practicing the MMR methods directly with students, because it is not until an MMR practitioner begins working directly with students that the developmentally targeted simultaneous multisensory structures are activated, which is why, when people say: “Making Math Real – it works!” what they really mean is when students experience amazing successful transformations while learning through MMR, “it” means you, the teacher, have delivered the MMR methods correctly – it’s not the methods in isolation, it is how the methods have been delivered that makes all the difference.

All MMR Practitioners Need and Deserve Mentorship to Help Them Become Outstanding Clinical Practitioners

Over the years the Making Math Real Institute has seen some course participants become successful MMR practitioners without the benefit of ongoing mentorship, guidance, and supervision. This is a most impressive achievement on their part and they deserve all the credit for their constancy of vision, hard work, and determination.

Even though so many practitioners have done well on their own, all would have received significant added benefit from mentorship to:

All MMR practitioners need and deserve this ongoing support to help them become outstanding clinical practitioners.

Win – Win – Win

Since David Berg has not been able to provide an actual lab school for MMR practitioners who come to the Institute from around the world, the solution is to have each practitioner create their own lab school by having one (or more) of their students provide the lab school experience. The Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program turns the practitioners’ experience of providing an MMR-based intervention into a full scale clinical practice mentored by MMR’s founder and director, David Berg, ET.  The LSMP will provide comprehensive support in all aspects of the clinical intervention including initial assessment, prescriptive scopes and sequences, where to begin instruction, correct methods applications, interpretation and diagnostics of students’ processing behaviors, additional and more intensive methods not included in the courses when indicated, communication with parents and teachers, writing IEP goals and objectives, advocating for students’ needs, etc.

The Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program is intended to provide a win – win – win structure in which the student will be receiving the benefit of David’s direct involvement in all aspects of the individual remediation, the practitioner will be receiving maximum support in deepening their understanding and application practice of becoming a clinical practitioner of MMR, and the parents will know their child/children are receiving the maximum benefit possible.

How the LSMP Program Works

MMR has already been providing the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program as a field trial for a number of students and their mentees for almost two years, and it has been extremely successful for students, their practitioners, and parents. The entire structure and delivery of the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program has been done exclusively via distance-learning, which means that practitioners and students can receive these services from anywhere in the world where the internet is available.

Who Pays for the LSMP?

The intended structure of the LSMP is students’ parents pay for David Berg’s mentoring services. This means that if parents would like David’s direct involvement in their child’s/children’s ongoing intervention services, the parents cover the costs of his services as well as the costs of the MMR practitioner.

David’s services will be paid for in the form of a retainer that minimally covers 6 hours of his time and requires replenishing the retainer once it reaches one third (or less) of the minimum-level retainer amount. Upon termination of services, all remaining balances in the retainer will be refunded. 

What Are the LSMP Billable Expenses?

Expenses are accrued for David’s time at his current hourly rate*, which is distributed across the following main areas:

  1. Reading and responding to the MMR practitioner’s clinical observation notes. The practitioner will email David and copy the parents on the clinical observations of the student’s processing indications and skills applications for a recent period of time, typically a week’s period. David will respond in detail to provide diagnostics, confirmations, interpretations, refinements of teaching applications, ongoing scopes and sequences, and answers to any questions the MMR practitioner may have. All responses will be copied to parents, so parents will have complete documentation of all communication between the practitioner and David. Typically, reading and responding to a report of clinical observation notes is an hour of David’s time, and it is also typical that at the beginning of a new mentorship that the mentee would send David weekly observation reports. However, once a practitioner is more experienced in their abilities to clinically address the student’s prescriptive interventions they would not be required to adhere to a weekly format, rather, they can send their clinical observation notes in a decreasing frequency of every two weeks, every three weeks, every month, every two months, etc., and ultimately, as frequently as needed until the mentorship relationship is determined to be no longer indicated.

  2. Initial assessment: at the start of every new mentorship arrangement, David requires an initial assessment of the student so he can best guide the MMR practitioners in their ongoing prescriptive interventions. For an initial assessment, typically David requires an hour of observing the practitioner working with the student in a distance-learning format. David does not need to observe the student in-person in his office (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic) rather, using a distance-learning platform such as Zoom or Skype is sufficient. The practitioner positions the computer’s camera at an angle that allows him to observe both the practitioner and the student simultaneously.

    Prior to the initial observation session, David will have the practitioner send an assessment report containing clinical observations of the student’s processing indications, developmental profile, and current skills levels; and if the parents have any meaningful assessment that has been done on their child, David would appreciate receiving it (them) as much in advance of the initial observation session as possible. Meaningful assessment can be anything the parents feel accurately presents their child: psychometric testing, IEPs, school reports, standardized tests, teacher report cards, etc., as well as their own observations/concerns about their child’s experience with math.

    After observing the student for an hour, David will schedule a follow-up session with the MMR practitioner to discuss his assessment findings and indications for ongoing prescriptive interventions, where to start instruction, and a prescriptive scope and sequence for the student. Please note that whereas he typically only requires an hour for an initial observation, it is possible that in certain cases he may need an additional session(s). In addition to the time needed for initial assessment, the time David needs to review reports and documents prior to the initial assessment will also be accounted for.  

  3. The MMR practitioner may request scheduling a separate session with David at any time to receive additional support for scope and sequence planning, teaching a method that may not be familiar, additional observation sessions, or having him demonstrate working with the student, etc. In such cases, and prior to scheduling a session(s) with David, the MMR practitioner will need to confirm with the parents that any and all such separate sessions are acceptable.

  4. If needed, David may be involved in communicating directly or in writing with the school/classroom teacher, parents, allied professionals, attending IEP meetings or other student-related meetings (digital attendance), etc. If this occurs, expenses will accrue at David’s current hourly rate*. Typical mentorship structures initially require approximately 4 hours per month of David’s time, but as the mentee continues to refine curriculum delivery, the amount of time of his involvement is intended to decrease. Once he has his initial assessment of the student and has determined indicated scopes and sequences, he will have a better idea of the amount of his initial time requirements.

  5. David encourages parent involvement and complete transparency of Lab School mentorship services and, in support of achieving full clarity, he strongly encourages parents to send any and all questions they may have. Depending on the nature and volume of his response(s), he may either respond in writing or schedule a Zoom/phone call, whichever would require the least amount of his time.

* Hourly fees furnished upon request

How Does a Parent or MMR Practitioner Request a Possible Mentorship Arrangement?

Prior to sending in a request for the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program to [email protected], both the practitioner and the parents need to agree that they want this service. Please note that all requests require that both parents and the practitioner(s) are already in agreement about participating in the Mentorship Program. Requests submitted from either just a practitioner or just parents will not be considered, and we will inform the sender to re-apply once parents and practitioner are in agreement to move forward.

Upon receiving a formal request, the MMRI will respond as soon as possible to inform if there is an available slot for a new mentorship arrangement, and if there is no current availability, senders can either request placement on a waiting list or check back in at a later date(s) for current status; and if there is availability, we will initiate the process of getting started.

First, David will determine if the student and the MMR practitioner are appropriate for the Mentorship Program (please see below for details). If both student and practitioner meet the guidelines for moving forward, MMR will send a Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program agreement contract to the parents, and once it is signed and a first retainer payment is received, MMR will schedule a time for the initial observation session as described above in which David will need assessment reports from both the practitioner and parents as much in advance of the initial observation session as possible.

What Kinds of Cases are Indicated for the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program?

There are two considerations for appropriate mentorship cases. The first is the student and the second is the practitioner. The intended student case is for challenging issues, which include diagnosed math learning disabilities including dyscalculia and/or other developmental issues that have contributed to significant underdevelopment in self-regulatory executive functions, activating and sustaining working memory, sequencing, number sense, and reasoning; and conditions affecting visual, auditory, and kinesthetic/motor processing, and processing styles that have previously not responded well to intervention(s).

Cases involving certain neurological issues such as brain damage, brain tissue malformation, lesions, and medical/genetic conditions/syndromes that could have neuro-cognitive impact such as Prader-Willi Syndrome, Down’s Syndrome, PANS/PANDAS, Tourette’s Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, etc., will need to be evaluated on an individual case-by-case basis to determine if a developmental intervention is indicated.

Important Note:

Commensurate with students who are appropriate for the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program, all students will need an independent study in math to receive full benefit from their individual prescriptions. Therefore, the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program is not applicable to students who are still in their regular math classes at school.

Students with less intensive challenges and students “who just need better teaching” (this is by far the most common referral MMR receives. These are students with no processing development issues, rather, their experience in school has created false indications of a learning disability or significant challenge(s) that quickly begin to disappear with the provision of appropriate curriculum delivery) are not intended for the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program, but would be appropriate for the Making Math Real Supervision Program.

Which MMR Practitioners Can Apply for LSMP?

The appropriate practitioner is as critical to the success of the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program as the appropriate student. The Mentorship Program experience for the practitioner is rigorous and intensive, but also extremely rewarding. The MMR practitioner must be advanced, having completed all or most of the 12 MMR series of courses and having a minimum of two years experience in applying the MMR methods to students at various levels of development and diverse processing styles.

For the Mentorship Program to function appropriately, the MMR practitioner must have a sufficient degree of clinical observational ability, because they will serve as “David’s clinical eyes”, meaning David needs to rely on their accuracy of observations. The practitioner’s accurate clinical observations of the student’s affective and cognitive behaviors is necessary, otherwise, David would need to continue observing the student working with the practitioner to gather the clinical data he needs to provide detailed diagnostics, interpretations, and recommendations for prescriptive teaching methods and content.

Furthermore, the practitioner must be “coachable”, meaning that everything they do will be under David’s scrutiny, and must therefore be able to respond to his comments and observations with a professional detachment that does not misinterpret any of his comments and observations as a personal judgment of who they are as individuals or the quality of their skills as a practitioner. Everything David expresses will always be clinically neutral and objective and must be received with the same clinical neutrality and objectivity.

Not everyone is intended for this kind of experience, and every prospective MMR practitioner must first determine if this experience is personally feasible and can be maintained at an appropriate level of clinical objectivity, integrity, professionalism, and commitment.

The character traits necessary for the coachable MMR practitioner include being:

• proactive, 
• motivated, 
• expansive, 
• open-minded, 
• flexible, 
• committed, 
• clinical, 
• professional, 
• stable, 
• observant (to detail)
• able to generate clinically significant observation notes.

LSMP Classroom Model

The Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program can also be applied for classroom teachers and it is intended that the school/district would cover the costs. The overall structure for the classroom model is similar to the individual student model described above.

For the classroom model, David would need an assessment report from the MMR practitioner/classroom teacher detailing the class as a whole as well as baseline assessment data for each student in the class. The classroom model is for one class only and is not applicable for multiple classes for a middle school or high school teacher; the MMR practitioner would need to select a single class for the Mentorship Program.

Since the demands for the classroom model can be significantly higher than for the individual student, more than one observation session may be needed to collect the data for the initial assessment and additional observation sessions are likely to better guide the practitioner in all aspects of curriculum delivery and classroom management. Furthermore, it may be indicated to schedule special observation sessions for small groups and/or individual instruction based on student needs in the classroom. The classroom model can be for public or private schools and can include either general education or special education classrooms.

The weekly observation notes sent to David by the practitioner, and although sufficiently detailed, can refer only to the overall classroom observations and do not need to include reports on every student in the class. However, if there are particular individual student behaviors that the practitioner feels are in need of targeted support, then those students and their respective behaviors should be included in the observation notes.

Classroom Model Retainer Note:  Since the scope of the classroom model typically requires more of David’s time, the retainer for the classroom model is minimally 10 hours of his time and would need to be replenished once it decreases to one third of the minimum amount or less.

Will There Be Certification for MMR Practitioners?

Yes, the possibility of certification can be the result of a practitioner’s successful long-term experience in the Making Math Real Lab School Mentorship Program.  Since the purpose of the Mentorship Program is the development of a clinically applied education practice, as David observes the practitioner’s consistent ability to establish and maintain clinically prescriptive interventions for three or more students with different processing styles and at various levels of math development over a period of at least 1 year for each, David will, on his discretion, grant certification in the practice of Making Math Real to that practitioner. 

Certification will be entirely based on the practitioner’s work in the field, therefore, certification will not be based on exams, orals, boards, etc.  Once David is convinced of the practitioner’s comprehensive clinical practice, certification will be granted.

Certification will indicate that the clinical educator is independently able to:

  • Provide initial assessment to determine students’ processing indications, development, and current skills levels, which may also include the ability to accurately interpret data from a variety of additional sources: psychometric testing, IEPs, reports from teachers, parents, and reports from allied professionals: occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, educational therapists, medical professionals, etc.

  • Create individually prescriptive scopes and sequences based on initial assessment and provide comprehensive instruction as the sole provider of students’ (independent study) math programs

  • Deliver MMR methods correctly in alignment with students’ processing indications

  • Correctly interpret and diagnose student’s ongoing affective and cognitive behaviors and appropriately adapt all curriculum delivery to be in alignment with clinical interpretations and diagnoses

  • Continue to deepen and refine students’ individual prescriptions

  • Establish effective rapport with students and employ effective management structures

  • Maintain effective and comprehensive clinical observation notes

  • Sustain effective communication with parents, schools, teachers, allied professionals, etc.

  • Maintain comprehensive documentation of all forms of students’ progress and development including work samples, assessments, reports, etc., and, as needed, provide reports to parents, IEP teams, allied professionals, etc.

  • Write prescriptive students’ goals and objectives for parents or IEPs

  • Independently and appropriately adapt and refine instructional practices that have not been included in the MMR courses

Making Math Real Certification will include:

  • All certified MMR practitioners will receive a certification document from the MMRI, and will have the option to be listed on the Making Math Real website.

  • On the MMR website, all certified MMR practitioners are welcome to include any personal statements about the services they provide and any contact information for prospective clients.

  • Although it has been a strict policy of the MMRI that we do not make referrals, ALL certified practitioners will be the only practitioners to receive referrals, both from the website as well as in verbal and written communications from the institute and from David Berg.