By: Abby Gordon


Your second grader is learning a method of adding numbers that is probably totally
unfamiliar to you. You are not alone; parents around the country are wondering
what this new method of “Partial Sums” is all about! There’s really nothing all that
new or tricky about partial sums. What’s newish in the U.S. (but not in other
countries) is the emphasis on conceptual understanding over rote memorization.
Luckily, conceptual understanding has always been paramount at SRV, so this
method comes really naturally to your children, and it builds perfectly on addition
strategies they have already learned.

Here’s a short video of how to add using partial sums. There are lots of other videos
online that show this method slightly differently. What’s important — and what’s
always important in math — is not that your child follows the steps absolutely
perfectly, but that your child makes sense of what he or she is doing. All of these
strategies are meant to build number sense and fluency. If drawing lines between
the places helps him or her, great. If writing out the addition problem (the partial
sum that they’re solving) on each line helps, do that.

As Pennsylvania enters the Yellow Phase, we are excited to be offering in-person tours of campus!


Please be aware that you will be asked to wear a mask or a face covering, and you should expect social distance.

Tours will be conducted by appointment only.

For more information about SRV's response to COVID-19, communications from our Head of School and Board of Trustees, as well as our plans for re-opening, please click the button below: