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Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

Title IIB: Massachusetts Mathematics and Science Partnership Program
Summaries of Funded Projects in 2004

SALEM (Salem and Lynn Educating Mathematicians)

Partners: Salem State College, Lynn Public Schools, Salem Public Schools

Salem State College will develop a three-year Master of Art in Teaching in Middle School Mathematics degree program. Teachers enrolled in this program will take 12 three-credit courses, two each summer and one each during the Fall and Spring semesters. The Professional Standards for Middle School Mathematics Teachers will guide the development of these courses. The planning phase of this new program will take place during Spring 2004. Course proposals will be developed by members of the Mathematics Department at Salem State College in consultation with other distinguished members of the mathematics education community. It is expected the new program will pass governance by late Spring 2004. Recruitment could then take place during late Spring and Summer and the first courses would be offered in Fall 2004. Courses will make use of technology to enhance understanding and visualization of problems. This will include hand-held graphing calculators as well as CBL and CBR data collection devises. Dynamic geometry software such as Geometer's Sketchpad will also be used. All course material will emphasize topics important to the middle school curriculum or will provide an understanding of why certain topics in middle school mathematics are needed for success in more advanced mathematics courses.

Math and Science Partnership Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Partners: Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge Public Schools, Prospect Hill Academy Charter School (Somerville), Boston Renaissance Charter School, Richard Murphy K-8 School (Boston), and The Education Cooperative

The Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) in collaboration with members of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences will partner with the following high need districts: Cambridge Public Schools, Prospect Hill Academy Charter School, The Boston Renaissance Charter School, Murphy Elementary School in Boston and member schools of The Education Collaborative (TEC) to develop and implement an effective and sustained, 45 hour course of study for grades 5-8 mathematics and grades 5-8 science teachers. The intent of this program is to increase the number of teachers currently employed in the partnership school districts who are licensed in 5-8 Mathematics, Middle School Mathematics/Science, or have completed the professional development activities in their Massachusetts HOUSE plans. The curriculum will be developed as a series of classroom case studies, each based on an exceptionally challenging or abstract mathematical concept in the middle school math standards and aligned with Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) strands. The case study approach gives teachers an engaging opportunity to explore challenging mathematical concepts in depth in an authentic context that requires they consider the barriers to both teacher and student understanding. MMSP-HGSE teachers will have twenty hours of follow-up district support, led by their District/School MMSP Support Coordinator. Support Coordinators will be trained in a videotaping protocol, similar to the process used by National Board Certification, to help MMSP-HGSE teachers in their district work individually and collaboratively to evaluate and refine the application of their coursework to classroom practice. This course will serve to increase the number of MA licensed teachers in mathematics and math/science by:

  • Aligning course topics with the MA Curriculum Frameworks and with MTEL test objectives;

  • Engaging partner districts' instructional leaders in the course curriculum design process to ensure that topics are aligned with district professional development goals and HOUSE plan objectives;

  • Providing participants with access to course instructors, assistants and guest lecturers who have significant expertise in mathematics;

  • Providing participants with access to administrators in the Harvard Teacher Education Program for licensure counseling and advising.

Strengthening Teaching and Learning in Middle School Science in Northern Berkshire Schools

Partners: Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams Public Schools (Silvio Conte Middle School), North Berkshire School Union, Adams Memorial Middle School.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), in collaboration with the Berkshire County school districts of North Adams, Adams-Cheshire, and North Berkshire School Union (Florida, Clarksburg, Monroe, and Savoy), will conduct an intensive and innovative course of professional development of middle school science teachers. The rigorous, content-based program of instruction that will include on-site mentoring of teachers was selected based on organized assessment of teacher professional development needs and student achievement data in the participating schools.

The seasoned MCLA science faculty will develop instructional series in Physical Science, Biology, and Chemistry to be delivered over two semesters beginning in the 2004-05 academic year (Physical Science); followed successively by Chemistry (2005-06) and Biology (2006-07). All participating teachers will receive 45 hours of direct instruction and 20 hours of on-site coaching and mentoring.

Ultimately, the three-year goal of the project is to substantially increase teachers' knowledge of scientific content and concurrently, improve grade 6-8 student academic achievement on MCAS science and technology assessments. Success in achieving goals and objectives will be measured via student pre- and post-testing with MCAS and locally-designed assessments; pre- and post-teacher testing of content knowledge using course-specific assessments designed by College faculty; and quantitative measurements of content-specific professional development undertaken by teachers and number of teachers earning licensure.

Springfield-Five Colleges- Holyoke Science Partnership

Partners: Springfield Public Schools, Holyoke Public Schools, Five Colleges, Inc (Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, University of Massachusetts)

The Western Massachusetts Partnership among the Springfield Public Schools, the Five Colleges, Inc. and the Holyoke Public Schools seeks to increase the number of science teachers that are licensed in the area that they teach, increase the number of teachers that have completed the professional development activities as outlined in their HOUSE plan, increase the content knowledge of teachers in order to teach the science standards more effectively, and increase the MCAS science achievement for the secondary science students in the Springfield and Holyoke Public Schools.

This grant application has proposed a series of content courses in Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Life Sciences, Technology/Engineering and Integrated Science, which address the MA Science and Technology/Engineering Framework. The Five Colleges will serve as a liaison with higher education in the selection of the professional development providers, the development and implementation of the courses, the recruitment and coordination of the science faculty and the arrangement of the campus sites. Two 45-hour courses will be offered every year for three years. By the end of the grant, teachers will have the opportunity to take six college content courses in science to support their teaching. Co-teachers from the districts will support college staff and assist with classroom strategies connected to content learning and the standards. In addition, teachers will be supported with classroom embedded professional development for at least 20 hours. This model will assure the implementation of the content and classroom strategies acquired by teachers during the professional development courses. District science resource teachers will provide the proposed embedded professional development. Teachers will have the opportunity to gain college credit from UMASS Graduate School of Continuing Education or gain PDPs to complete licensure requirements. Summative and formative evaluations of the grant will be completed each year with the assistance of an outside evaluator to chart the progress of the initiative in reaching the goals.

Learning Communities for Middle School Math

Partners: Worcester Public Schools, Ashland Public School, Athol-Royalston Regional School District, Bellingham Public Schools, Chicopee Public Schools, Florida Public Schools, Framingham Public Schools, Narragansett Public Schools, Shrewsbury Public Schools, Somerset Public Schools, Winchendon Public Schools, Abby Kelly Foster Regional Charter School, Bancroft School, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Merrimack Education Center (MEC)

The Learning Communities for Middle School Math is a partnership among Worcester Polytechnic Institute and two large high needs districts, Worcester and Chicopee. Nine additional districts are participating based upon the mathematics content and the delivery methods which reach geographically disparate teachers. The Merrimack Education Center will assist in course delivery.

This three-year project re-focuses components of the WPI mathematics program to address middle school mathematics education. As a result, six courses will be developed and delivered to middle school teacher participants. The two courses offered the first year will be Geometrical Concepts and Discrete Mathematics.

There are three different learning communities for the teachers: 1) on WPI campus in traditional, face-to-face classes, 2) at two hub sites (Chicopee & Somerset) where teachers meet to see, hear, and participate in the WPI courses as a group as they are transmitted to the hub, and 3) VHS tapes of each class which are sent to an individual's home for self learning. Participating teachers can select in which of the communities they want to learn. The total contact hours for each community are the same and include 45 hours of class time and 20 hours of follow-up time.

The program results include increased content area knowledge for middle school mathematics teachers, increased numbers of teachers licensed in the area of middle school mathematics, increased student performance, and the development and integration of a set of courses at WPI that can be used by in-service or pre-service teachers towards licensure.

Intensive Immersion Institutes In Mathematics For Grades 4-8 Teachers

Partners: Fitchburg Public Schools, Gardner Public Schools, Leominster Public Schools, EduTron Corporation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Quinsigamond Community College

Based on the analyses of the students' and teachers' knowledge gaps in the partnering districts, three Intense Immersion Institute courses will be developed. Conceptual understanding, computational fluency, and problem solving will be emphasized with a balanced approach. Two of these highly customized courses aimed at deepening the mathematical understanding of grades 4-8 teachers will be delivered annually. A separate pre-service course, with the same rigor and intensity, will be designed in year 1, piloted in year 2, and integrated in higher education in year 3. The partnership plans to reach about 100 teachers and impact (indirectly) more than 2000 students on a yearly basis.

Assessment tools developed as an integral part of the course will allow the partnership to simultaneously monitor student and teacher progress annually. In addition to the measurable content gain, the chemistry, dynamics, and positive peer pressure fostered in the intensive immersion experience will trigger qualitative changes in individual teachers to such an extent that some of them may become catalysts to transform their local math community into a learning machine! These transformations are expected to play a pivotal role in sustaining peer-based learning beyond the project span. The courses provide an intensive yet non-threatening environment for teachers to acquire solid content knowledge effectively. The outcomes should be: (1) more teachers will meet the NCLB Highly Qualified Requirements for Massachusetts Teachers, and (2) more students will perform at higher levels in MCAS.

MMSP 150 - Wareham, Carver, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Partners: Wareham Public Schools, Carver Public Schools, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

The partnership will collaborate with the Education Development Center to design and implement this program. The goal of the partnership is to improve student achievement in mathematics by increasing the number of grade 4-8 teachers licensed in mathematics and deepening the content knowledge of those teachers.

We propose to offer for three years a summer content institute followed by Japanese lesson study. The Institute shall be for eight days, six hours per day. Curriculum areas of weakness as indicated by recent MCAS scores shall provide the focus for the study. EDC shall provide instructors for two additional days of training, six hours per day. The University's mathematics department and EDC shall further conduct ongoing school-year support for project participants.

The University will establish course criteria, construct a syllabus, provide instructors for the summer content institute training, and issue graduate credit. It is intended that teachers will receive information and assistance in attaining an MAT in Mathematics and/or grade appropriate licensure. This program will assist the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth in the development of a course or courses that provides assistance to current and future elementary and middle school mathematics teachers.

The project will be evaluated independently according to ESE guidelines.

The Coalition for Higher Standards Math Partnership Program

Partners: Lesley University, Mass Insight Education, Framingham State College, and the school districts of Malden, Revere, and Saugus

This project focuses on improving teacher quality in Malden, Revere and Saugus, three neighboring "inner-ring" urban school districts of high need. Its specific goal is to provide strong, intensive, and sustained professional development to 105 teachers in grades 4-8 across these districts, leading to improved instructional practice and satisfying requirements for professional licensure and/or HOUSE plans in Middle School Mathematics. On a space-available basis, this initiative will also serve selected teachers from other district members of the Coalition for Higher Standards, a statewide network of standards-focused school districts organized and administered by Mass Insight.

Over the three years of this project, each teacher-participant will complete a program of study consisting of six courses-chosen from a curriculum for the project consisting of eight courses. All courses emphasize strong mathematics content, consist of 45 hours of in-class instruction, and award three Arts and Sciences graduate credits. All courses also serve as models for effective classroom pedagogy. In addition to the 45 class hours, each course will support mathematical learning and classroom teaching by: (1) at least six additional contact hours in which content is expanded through practice and problem solving; and (2) at least 20 hours of school implementation in which content knowledge is applied to classroom practice.

Completion of the course of study will result in an Advanced Professional Certificate, designed to meet the requirements for Professional Licensure in Middle School (5-8) Mathematics. Teacher-participants will be able to apply their 18 credits toward a 33-credit Lesley University Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with a Specialization in Elementary or Middle School Mathematics.

Looking to the future, over time the Partnership plans to expand the scope of the initiative to include both primary teachers (grades K-3) and secondary mathematics teachers, and to bring the graduate training model developed in this project to other Coalition districts.

Last Updated: March 4 2004
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