What people are saying about Math for Success

The Math for Success Workshop I did was time and professional development money very well spent. Darlene is a passionate pro and presented and managed the workshop excellently. We were able to participate in a variety of engaging hands-on activities (fun even for us as adults) to experience ways in which we can help our own students improve their number sense and be more successful with math. I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone who teaches math.

Clare Westcott Smallwood - Grade Four French Immersion Teacher - École Olds Elementary School

Grounded in evidence, Darlene challenges one to think out of the box and to “witness the evidence of learning” in our students through engaging and thoughtful math activities.

This methodology is about the kids and knowing that curriculum is covered in a myriad of strategies embedded within proven activities.

Reta Marshall - Gr. 4  Teacher - Valleyview, AB

Miss Kusick was my grade 3 teacher. From that year on I liked math. She was a wonderful math teacher and helped me to understand more and more.  My parents saw a huge improvement in my math skills thanks to Miss Kusick. She was a great help when I needed it and made sure to find easy and quick ways to make me want to learn.

Georgia - Grade 12 Student 2017-18

I have taught elementary school for 33 years. 17 years ago I started piloting Darlene’s “Math for Success” program for grade four. Using this program instantly revolutionized my thinking and teaching about math. I had been using a unit approach whereby I taught each math topic as a separate entity, then moved on to the next unit. Retention of understanding and skills was minimal.

With Darlene’s program and its emphasis on daily instruction and practice of  many different concepts and skills and the resultant building on and review of these, retention was dramatically better. Consequently, I noticed that with the more solid grasp of each skill and concept, I was able to advance the students’ math skills to much higher levels. The focus in this program on having the students use many strategies to solve problems and to share those strategies with the class also led to a deeper understanding of math concepts and a much better ability to persevere and use alternate methods to arrive at answers.

Over the years, I took many workshops from Darlene and even helped her with a number of them, and observed her in her classroom. My commitment to teaching math this way has only strengthened, as I continue to find great success with it in my classroom. Also, when I receive students who had Darlene the previous year as their teacher. These students are always far more advanced in their mathematical knowledge and skills than others , so much so, that I often have to immediately challenge them with more difficult questions and activities. These children always LOVE math and happily accept these challenges.

My commitment to teaching math this way has only strengthened, as I continue to find great success with it in my classroom.

I can honestly say that I too love math now, not only teaching it but also learning along with my students  as they share their strategies and I, myself, learn new ways of mathematical thinking.

Mrs. Carlson - Gr. 4 Teacher

When I started Grade three I was nervous about math because I thought it was too hard and I would get it wrong.

Miss Kusick has given me the courage, confidence and tools to realize I can do math!

I love to do math!


Rae - Gr. 3 Student 2016-2017

Darlene is a supremely skilled educator whose passion is teaching foundational principles of math to children.  By building a strong foundation of skills in children, she is able to increase their rate of success in applying mathematical concepts while creating a desire to explore further how the principles of math are integral in our everyday life.

I have been privileged to observe and collaborate with Darlene both as a colleague and as a parent of a child in her class.  As a colleague, Darlene has offered support on numerous occasions in reviewing math curriculum and offering support on how to adjust concepts to meet all levels of learners.

As a parent, I was grateful to observe how Darlene continued to challenge my child who was already strong in math with new curriculum beyond grade level to ensure he remained engaged in class.  What he learned in Darlene’s classroom has enabled him to continue to be successful in math throughout his school years.

Sylvia Martens - Gr. 3 Teacher

During my time in Ms. Kusick's class, I gained an understanding of math that has been extremely beneficial throughout my school years since.

Her passion and knowledge of math is evident in the way that she teaches and how her students leave the classroom with a better understanding of the subject.

Having had Ms. Kusick to teach me math has enabled me to achieve further success that would not have been possible without her.

Noah - Past Math For Success Student

Watching my son learn and begin to have an understanding of math and numeracy has been a rewarding experience even as a parent.

Miss Kusick has engaged her grade 3 students in learning and understanding.

Math For Success is an amazing math program that helps develop an understanding of numeracy for all ages. I love her hands on approach and activities, and the children get excited learning. The tools she has helped me with have helped my child gain knowledge.

Thank you Darlene!

Sandra Dahir - Parent of Gr. 3 Student

The Math for Success Program has completely changed the way I teach and view math.  I used to struggle teaching math and had difficulty reaching all the students.

About 10 years ago I took the Math for Success workshop, my math classes have completely changed.  I love the methodology used in the program by teaching all the strands all year through.  Each student benefits from the program regardless of their math knowledge and ability.  Students become involved in their learning and become more confident mathematicians.  They enjoy the hands-on activities.  When I asked my students if they like math, there was a cheer.  Some of the remarks were:

  • “It makes us smarter”
  • “I like all the different questions”
  • “It is like it is real life”
  • “I know the answer and how I got it”
  • Thank you, Darlene, for introducing and teaching me a new way to teach math.

Tracey Palamarek - Grade 3 Teacher

“If you don’t catch on right away that is ok.”

“You are able to get a lot done in one class.”

“I learn more.”

“We review everything all of the times so we don’t have to wait until the end of the year.  This is not as confusing.”

“It's interactive.”

“I find it challenging.”

“I like that it doesn’t need a textbook.  Textbooks are too confusing and it’s easy to cheat because they give you the answer.”

“I feel prepared for next year.”

Middle School Students (Gr. 6-9, who have used Math For Success multiple years in a row.)

What I love about Math for Success is the conversation it encourages in my classroom.  I find that my students are talking more about math and using communication to problem solve.  They have become better reasoners and are able to fully justify their answers.  My students understand, now, that it is ok to use their own strategy to solve a problem.

They understand that they might not all get the answer the same way and that, that is ok.

Math for Success allows me to cover all of my curricular goals multiple times throughout the year.  It offers remediation for students who struggle in math and is easy to extend for students who are more advanced. Overall, my students have better number sense and, most importantly, feel more confident when it comes to math.

Mrs. Charles - Teacher

I have used the grade six Math For Success Binder for approximately one school year. I have seen a miraculous improvement in my students’ level of engagement and understanding of the concepts. Because I have taught the same students for two consecutive years, it is easy to compare teaching separate units to the all-encompassing methodology that Darlene uses in her books.

Students that previously avoided math class or were completely “zoned” out are now participating in class and doing very well on most assessments.

Numeracy is developed not just individual skills. My students are able to transfer knowledge without being directly taught now. E.g. 3 ¾ min was not taught and they knew that it is 3:45 seconds not 3:75 seconds as in ¾ of a 100 and they are able to convert improper fractions to percentages without direct teaching. Having random problems MAKES students think! They know they have to solve not just plug-in an operation.

Jeannine Ellis - Gr. 5/6 Teacher

I have had the advantage to work in Darlene’s class for the past three years as a substitute teacher, as well as see her math program in operation in many different classrooms from kindergarten to grade 4.  I now have the privilege to also say I have had a child in her class, as my daughter is currently in her grade 3 class.

I am constantly taken aback at the amazing math program that Darlene has created.  It is constantly challenging the students, as well as giving them amazing number sense even at the young age of 5.

When I first started seeing some of the concepts, like number families, introduced to the kindergartens I thought the concept was way above them.  However, after many years in and around the school I realize it is not above them at all.  By introducing these concepts at a young age Darlene’s program is able to challenge some students, while also preparing the students for concepts that are very important in the following years.

The pop-up math that she does at the beginning of her math class is outstanding, it gets all the kids engaged in math at the beginning of the class, while also making it enjoyable.  It is something I have personally used a number of different times in other classrooms while I am subbing, to help the students practice concepts but also make the concepts fun.

If and when I come back to teaching as a classroom teacher full time I will for sure be consulting and using Darlene’s math program.

Christine - Substitute Teacher

I love Math for Success! I have used this program with my Grade Fours and they love Binder Math. Every student has benefited from this program as we frequently review concepts. Each student becomes involved as they use and reuse the same strategies to reinforce their learning. Their confidence has soared because they recall the concepts and feel success daily!

The program engages my students as they can see the connection between life and number operations.  Math for Success has deepened my student’s understanding of number sense; students have identified the link between  numbers and daily use in buying groceries, calendar work, holidays, buying gas, converting money to fractions and so much more.  Math now has true meaning for my students.

Darlene has been able to come to my class to demonstrate her program: Math for Success! Her love of learning captivated the students as soon as she came in. As my group is very active and hands-on, her program was an instant hit! Students easily learned concepts as they were explained by verbally and visually. Students loved the choice to represent their learning using a variety of manipulatives and being active participants in their learning. Thank you, Darlene!

Chrissy Crebas - John Wilson Elementary, 2014

Ms. Kusick is the BEST Teacher!!  I love math now because of how fun she made it!  I really liked the games.

Myles Goodheart - Student

Ms. Kusick was the Best thing that could happen for my son in Grade 3! The skills he learned will follow and help him succeed throughout his school career.

She taught him to love math and the importance of understanding and that it's not enough to just memorize equations.

Breanne Goodheart - Parent

Teaching a split grades 3/4 class in a pandemic year was giving me so much anxiety, especially for mathematics. I could not find resources that would support split grade teaching and learning (grade 4 math is very different than grade 3 math) without alienating one grade at a time. Darlene kindly spoke with me over the phone and coached me through teaching a grades 3/4 split using her Math 4 Success resource. Now I am able to teach both grades at one time and I can even teach up to all four strands in one day. The resource is easy to modify and I find so many more teaching moments when interacting with the students for the whole class.

Many students have said that math is now their favorite subject!

Shawna Turner - Teacher - Brooks, AB

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