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Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

Title IIB: Massachusetts Mathematics and Science Partnership Program
Summaries of Funded Projects in 2005

January 2005

PROJECT SALEM - Educating Mathematicians

Partners: *Salem State College, Lynn Public Schools, Salem Public Schools, and Haverhill Public Schools.

Salem State College has developed and is starting to implement a Masters of Art in Teaching in Middle School Mathematics degree program. Teachers enrolled in this program through Title IIB funds 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. Course proposals were developed by members of the Mathematics Department at Salem State College in consultation with distinguished members of the mathematics education community. The first courses were offered in Fall 2004. Courses make use of technology to enhance understanding and visualization of problems. This technology includes 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 emphasizes topics important to the middle school curriculum or provides an understanding of why certain topics in middle school mathematics are needed for success in more advanced mathematics courses. Courses are taught by Salem State College faculty and are offered in Haverhill as well as on and off campus in Salem. Teachers enrolled in the program through Title IIB funding participate in an additional 20 hours of post-course mentoring and classroom implementation discussions and workshop. Non-grant funded teachers and other members of the public may also register for the courses developed for this degree and work toward their own MAT in Middle School Mathematics.

For more project information, contact the program coordinator, Christopher Fauske.

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, Fitchburg State College 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. These highly customized courses, aimed at deepening the mathematical understanding of grades 4-8 teachers, will be delivered annually. The math faculty from Fitchburg State College will work with the EduTron instruction team to integrate the courses of study into the FSC offerings in year 3. The partnership plans to reach about 120 teachers and impact (indirectly) more than 2000 students on a yearly basis.

Assessment tools developed as an integral part of the course 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.

For more project information, contact the program coordinator, Andrew Chen, president, EduTron.

Wareham, Carver, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Partners: *Wareham Public Schools, Carver Public Schools, and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

The partnership will continue to forge and strengthen links between the UMD Mathematics Department and teachers in Wareham and Carver. Goals of the partnership are 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.

As a result of year 1, UMD integrated Topics in Mathematics Education: Improving Mathematics Teaching, Grades 4-8. In addition to regular classes, the MAT course offers an e-mentoring program facilitated by an on-line forum. Teachers maintain an on-line journal for weekly reflections. During year 2 participating teachers will participate in follow-up within their classrooms. On-site consultants will assist in further developing mathematical concepts from the institute, implementing problem solving strategies and emphasizing standards based curriculum. Teachers have been exposed to Japanese lesson study and will continue to work with consultants in developing lessons.

Two additional MAT courses have been developed for year 2. MAT courses developed through the partnership have been integrated into the UMD mathematics education program. UMD shall offer an October-June course as well as a second content institute. Participants will continue to investigate mathematical concepts for grades 4-8; focusing on areas of weakness as identified by recent MCAS scores, as well as MTEL concepts necessary to assist teachers for licensure or completing HOUSSE plan requirements.

The project will be evaluated independently according to DESE guidelines by UMD's Center for Policy Analysis. Pre and post teacher tests shall be conducted as well as pre and post student testing.

For more project information, contact the program coordinator, Chris Mars, Mathematics Department Chair 9 - 12, Wareham High School.

For more course information, contact the instructor, Stephen Hegedus, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

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 an 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 Biology (2005-06) and Chemistry/Earth Science (2006-07 or Summer 2006). All participating teachers will receive 48 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.

For more information, contact the program coordinator, Adrienne Wootters, Assistant Professor of Physics, MCLA.

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.

The Learning Communities for Middle School Math is a partnership among Worcester Polytechnic Institute and three high needs districts, Worcester, Winchendon and Chicopee. Eight additional districts and a few private schools are participating based upon the mathematics content and the delivery methods, which reach geographically disparate teachers.

This three-year project re-focuses components of the WPI mathematics program to address middle school mathematics education. The two courses offered the first year were Geometrical Concepts and Discrete Mathematics. In year 2, two additional courses will be developed and delivered. The specific course topics are currently being decided upon by WPI and their partner districts. These will be announced by the end of October. During the course of this 3-year grant, six courses will be developed and delivered to middle school teacher participants.

There are two different learning communities for the teachers: 1) on WPI campus in traditional, face-to-face classes, and 2) online access to view video of each class via the internet. 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.

For more information, contact the program coordinator, Martha Cyr, Director K-12 Outreach, WPI.

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

Year 2 of the HGSE-MMSP program will consist of two main components. First, two additional offerings of the original case-based Making the Case: Conceptually Challenging Topics in Middle School Mathematics course will take place during the 2004-05 school year. Algebra, fractions, integers, probability, and proportions are the five major content area topics covered in the course. The 20-hour follow-up for each offering as well as the follow-up for the summer 2004 offering of the course will also be held during Year 2. This follow-up work will allow training for participants to peer review one another. After the training, teachers will be assigned partners to perform peer evaluations during the school year. Teachers will also be videotaped and allowed to reflect on their practices. Participants will talk with their colleagues and math coaches about student work in order to improve their own practice.

In addition, a Making the Case II course will be created to supplement the content of the original course, and this 45-hour course will be offered in July of 2005. Topics in this course will be based on participant feedback in the first course and will include exponential functions and volumes of three-dimensional objects. It will be open to 30 interested participants who have successfully completed the original course. Making the Case II course will use the same case-based pedagogy as the first course, and will link the original course in such a way this will encourage all partners to eventually adopt this curriculum as an ongoing professional development series.

For more information, contact the program coordinator, Betsy Kalber Baglio, Harvard University.

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 second year of the MMSP grant implementation includes the follow-up for the two content courses, Physics and Chemistry, held during the summer of 2004. The follow-up connects the science content to actual classroom instruction. These workshops were held for each course and provided lessons and connections to the district science curriculum and opportunities to discuss in greater depth science content that applies to the teaching of science. In addition, these teachers will receive direct classroom support provided by the MMSP district science resource specialist and the district middle school science specialist, as the teachers develop and present lessons in their classroom with their students.

The Year 2 science content courses will begin in the spring of 2005. The new courses include a Geology/Earth Science course and a Life Science course. The work will begin with two organizational meetings where the actual content of the courses will be discussed, the courses will be connected to the MA Science and Technology/Engineering Framework, and the gaps in teacher knowledge will be identified. Based upon these discussions the skeleton of the projected curriculum will be fleshed out and the delivery of the science content will begin. Each course is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2005.

The goal of these offerings is to support those teachers who are completing a HOUSSE plan and for those teachers seeking licensure in those content areas that they are teaching. In addition, licensed teachers will have the opportunity to review and increase their science content knowledge. It is anticipated that the end result will be an increase in student achievement in science on the MCAS assessments for both the Holyoke and Springfield Public Schools.

For more information, contact the program coordinator, Erline Provost, Springfield Public Schools.

The Coalition for Higher Standards Math Partnership Program

Partners: *Lesley University; Mass Insight Education; University of Massachusetts at Boston; Malden Public Schools, Revere Public Schools, Saugus Public Schools, Peabody Public Schools, Gloucester Public Schools, and Canton Public Schools.

This project focuses on improving teacher quality in Malden, Revere and Saugus, three neighboring "inner-ring" urban school districts of high need. Additionally, on a space available basis, this initiative also serves selected teachers from three other affiliated districts - Peabody, Gloucester, and Canton - which are members of the Coalition for Higher Standards, a statewide network of standards-focused school districts organized and administered by Mass Insight. Approximately 90 teachers from across these districts are currently enrolled in Year 2 of the program. The primary focus is on teachers in grades 4-8, with a small number of teachers from both lower and higher grades also enrolled in the program. The specific goal is to provide strong, intensive, and sustained professional development leading to improved instructional practice and satisfying requirements for professional licensure and/or HOUSSE plans in Middle School Mathematics.

Over the three years of this project, each teacher-participant will complete a program of study consisting of six courses, all of which emphasize strong mathematics content, consist of 48 hours of in-class instruction, award three Arts and Sciences graduate credits, and serve as models for effective classroom pedagogy. Thus, at the end of the three years, a teacher will have received a total of 18 graduate credits. In addition to the 48 class hours, each course includes 20 hours of school implementation in which content knowledge is applied to classroom practice.

Lesley University has developed two 33-credit Masters Degree programs, one with a specialization in Middle School Mathematics and another with a specialization in Elementary Mathematics. Teacher-participants will be able to apply the 18 credits earned in this program toward either of these masters degrees. For those initially licensed teachers who already have a Masters degree, Lesley offers an approved 18-credit program leading to professional licensure. Also, for those teacher-participants who already have a Masters degree, Lesley is in the process of developing a program leading to a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) with a specialization in Mathematics.

For more information, contact the program coordinator, Matthew McClain, Lesley University.

Pioneer Valley (PV) STEMNET Pipeline Mathematics Partnership

Partners: *University of Massachusetts Amherst, Holyoke Public Schools, Amherst Public & Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts, Chicopee Public School, Easthampton Public Schools, Gateway Regional School District, Gill-Montague Regional School District, Greenfield Public Schools, Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District, Palmer Public Schools, Springfield Public Schools, Westfield Public Schools, Springfield College, Springfield Technical Community College, Westfield State College, Diocese of Springfield Catholic Schools, Holyoke Community College, Greenfield Community College

The PV STEMNET Pipeline Mathematics Partnership will deliver a course of study that prepares inservice and preservice teachers to be highly qualified mathematics teachers in grades 4-8. Six mathematics courses and corresponding follow-up activities will be made available during the three-year time frame that will provide subject matter knowledge in those areas of mathematics as specified in the licensure regulations for middle school (grades 5-8) mathematics teachers. Inservice and preservice teachers will be able to use these courses to achieve highly qualified status in several ways:

  • The courses can be part of the teachers' approved HOUSSE plans.
  • The courses can be used to prepare teachers for the middle school mathematics (5-8), elementary mathematics (1-6), and middle school mathematics/science (5-8) MTEL exams.
  • The complete set of courses comprises the equivalent of a major in mathematics.

The set of courses can also help with licensure renewal and the attainment of the professional license in middle school mathematics (5-8), elementary mathematics (1-6), and middle school mathematics/science (5-8). The set of six mathematics courses will be useful for two of the routes to professional license:

  • They provide a set of content courses for an approved Masters degree.
  • They provide a set of content courses for the 18-credit, post-graduate degree option for professional licensure.

For more information, contact the program coordinator, Allan Feldman, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Middle School Math Teachers Program

Partners: *MCLA, North Adams, North Berkshire School Union, Pittsfield Public Schools, Mt. Greylock Regional School District, Adams-Cheshire School District

The Middle School Math Teachers Program will conduct an intensive and innovative course of professional development for middle school mathematics teachers. This rigorous, content-based program of instruction that will include onsite mentoring of teachers was selected based on organized assessment of teacher professional development needs and student achievement data. Ultimately, the three-year goal of the projects is to substantially increase teachers' knowledge of mathematics content and concurrently improve student academic achievement on MCAS. The math teachers' program is intended to complement the MMSP middle school science teachers' program. Such curricular synergy will benefit both programs and all of the middle school math and science curricula in this region.

Planning and preparation will take place during the spring and summer of 2005, with the first course being offered in September 2005. The first course will involve two modules: (1.) mathematical problem solving and reasoning and (2.) number sense and operations. Future courses include Patterns, Relations, and Algebra, Geometry and Measurement, and Data Analysis and Beyond. Follow-up activities will include discussion of student work, sharing insights and ideas, and developing activities for the classroom.

For more information, contact the program coordinator, Dr. Freda Bennett, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

Last Updated: June 28 2005
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