MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Meriden Public Schools have done something many other school districts have not been able to do as they emerge from the pandemic, they have been able to boost their math scores.

Educators at Meriden Public Schools said this is because of a unique teaching method that was implemented in the elementary school curriculum this year.

Instead of fourth and fifth-grade students having a 60-minute math class, they now attend a 90-minute class. The first 30 minutes of the class are now dedicated to a math lesson taught by their teacher.

For the next hour, students and teachers work in small groups called “vertical boards” where students work together and use critical thinking skills while they solve math problems.

The class does not move on until all students understand the math concept.

“We want students talking, challenging each other, having a productive struggle, and knowing that if they don’t get the answer right it’s the process that goes to it,” said Dan Crispino, Meriden Director of School Leadership.

“You’re leading the lesson. You’re facilitating it and you’re guiding. The students really are thinking for themselves and they’re critically thinking,” said Sue Soroka.

Teachers with the Meriden Public Schools Math Department said this new teaching method is making a huge difference for students as math scores have risen at all Meriden schools.

What has worked in Meriden could also add up to higher grades in other school districts as well.

Teachers tell News8 this type of teaching does take a little bit of an adjustment but it’s easy to figure out and they say it’s worth it.

“It’s easier because you can express how you’re thinking because not everyone thinks the same way,” said Selma Ettour, fourth-grade student.

They’re also learning concepts over and over again and educators calculate that also makes a difference.