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Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

Title IIB: Massachusetts Mathematics and Science Partnership Program
Summaries of Funded Projects in 2006

March 2006

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 Bristol Community College

Based on the analyses of the students' and teachers' knowledge gaps in the partnering districts, two to 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.

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 3 of the HGSE-MMSP program will consist of six offerings intended to meet the needs of middle school math teachers. Our original case-based course, Making the Case I: Conceptually Challenging Topics in Middle School Mathematics, will be offered three (3) times during the 2005-2006 school year. The mathematical topics discussed in this course include algebra, fractions, integers, probability & proportions. One of these offerings has been specifically designed for special education teachers (Spring 2006). The dates and times of these Making the Case I courses (45 contact hours) are as follows:

  • Fall 2005 (Saturdays: 9/17, 10/1, 10/15, 10/29, 11/12 & 11/19) FULL - a waiting list is now being accepted
  • Spring 2006 (Fridays & Saturdays: 2/3, 2/4, 3/3, 3/4, 3/31 & 4/1)
  • Summer 2006 (July 13-15, July 17-19)

A 20-hour follow-up program that focuses on non-evaluative observations and lesson design is required of all participants who enroll in this course. After the training, teachers will be assigned partners to perform non-evaluative peer observations 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.

A second case-based course, Making the Case II, has been designed to include the following mathematical topics: mean, median & mode; exponential functions; surface area; calculus; linear representations; integers; and the multiplication of decimals. This will be offered once during the summer of 2006 (dates are July 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26 & 27). It will be open to 30 interested participants who have successfully completed the original course. Making the Case II will use the same case-based pedagogy as the first course, and the 20 hour follow-up program will train participants to deliver case-based professional development programs in their own school districts in order to positively affect the content knowledge of their colleagues in the mathematics department. This will encourage all partners to eventually adopt this curriculum as a part of their ongoing professional development series.

Finally, a Case Writing Seminar is being developed by Professor Katherine K. Merseth. Professor Merseth will offer this 10-hour seminar twice throughout the year to train participants to write their own mathematical cases for use in their own professional development offerings. The dates of these seminars are as follows:

  • Saturdays (1/21/06 and 2/11/06)
  • Fridays (7/28/06 and 8/11/06)

For more information or to register for any of the offerings, contact the program coordinator, Betsy Kalber Baglio, Harvard University.

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 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 to eight 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 master's 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 has developed 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.

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), is conducting an intensive and innovative course of professional development of middle school science teachers. The rigorous, content-based program of instruction that includes 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 have developed an instructional series in Physical Science, Biology, and Environmental Science, each course delivered over two semesters beginning in the 2004-05 academic year (Physical Science); followed by Biology (2005-06) and Environmental Science (2006-07). For each course all participating teachers receive 48 hours of direct instruction and 20 hours of follow-up, including 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 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.

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.

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.

PV STEMNET Pipeline Mathematics Partnership

Partners: *University of Massachusetts Amherst, Holyoke Public Schools, Amherst Public & Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts, Chicopee Public Schools, 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, Holyoke Community College, Greenfield Community College, Springfield College, Springfield Technical Community College, Westfield State College, Diocese of Springfield Catholic Schools

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 or the project website.

PROJECT SALEM - Educating Mathematicians

Partners: *Salem State College, Lynn Public Schools, Salem Public Schools, Haverhill Public Schools and Hamilton-Wenham Public Schools

As part of a comprehensive three-year professional development plan Salem State College has partnered with Lynn, Salem and Haverhill public schools to respond to the increasing demands in North Shore communities for well-trained and licensed Mathematics teachers at the middle school level. The heart of this plan is a new graduate program, the Master of Arts in Teaching Middle School Mathematics, appropriate for prospective or current teachers of mathematics in grades 5 to 8. The courses developed for this MAT program are specifically designed to increase teachers' content knowledge in areas of mathematics essential to implementing the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. Tools for teaching and learning, includes hand-held graphing calculators as well as CBL and CBR data collection devises and dynamic geometry software such as Geometer's Sketchpad will be available. Essentially all of the courses in this program will make effective use of technology, particularly for visualization, discovery, and insight as well as computation. These courses will provide teachers with opportunities to learn mathematics using a variety of instructional methods, including many that might be used in their own instruction. The tuition cost for grant participants for the academic year 2005 - 2006 is $200 per course. Participants who participate in a 20-hour follow-up program will receive a $200 stipend. Teachers do not have to enrolled in the MAT in Middle School Mathematics program to take courses and they can apply up to 5 courses to the program if they decide to apply in the future. Courses are taught by Salem State College faculty and are offered in Salem and Haverhill. 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.

More information on the MAT in Middle School Mathematics program.

For more project information, contact the program coordinator, Martha Hunt, Professor of Mathematics, Salem State College.

Western Massachusetts Science MMSP Partnership: Springfield - Five Colleges, Inc. - Holyoke

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

The goals of the Western Mass Science MMSP Partnership is to continue to provide teachers with content based instruction in science in support of teacher licensure, to improve teacher science content knowledge and background, and to impact the achievement of grade 8 science students on the MCAS Assessments in the Springfield Public School, Springfield, MA and the Holyoke Public Schools, Holyoke, MA.

During year one (summer 2004) courses in Physics and Chemistry were offered connecting this content with the MA Science and Technology/Engineering Framework. These courses were provided through U MASS and Mt Holyoke College. Teachers received direct classroom support through the MMSP science specialist and the district science specialist as they implement the new lessons in their classrooms. The year two offerings (summer 2005) were Geology/Earth Science and Life Science provided by UMASS and Hampshire College. As in year one, teachers continued to receive professional development during the following academic year as they implement the science content in their classrooms.

The proposed courses for the summer of year 3 (summer 2006) of the grant include Integrated Science: Light through Amherst College, Technology/Engineering through the UMASS school of Engineering, and Mathematics in the Science Frameworks, through Mt Holyoke College. Spring orientation meetings will be held prior to the commencement of the summer content courses to assess teacher needs and to determine which standards will be included in the course offerings. Additional professional development is proposed for the teacher participants during the 2006/07 academic year.

College credit for all courses is available through the UMASS School of Continuing Education and can be applied to the UMASS/Springfield Masters in Science Education. The coordination of the science courses, higher education providers and campus locations is done through The Five Colleges, Inc.

For more information contact the program coordinator, Erline L. Provost, Director of Science, Springfield Public Schools, Springfield, MA.

Wareham, Carver, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

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

The partnership will continue to strengthen links between the UMD Mathematics Department and teachers in Wareham and Carver. Goals of the partnership continue to focus on improving student achievement in mathematics by increasing the number of grade 4-8 teachers licensed in mathematics and on expanding and deepening teacher content knowledge.

During year 3, UMD will continue to integrate Topics in Mathematics Education: Improving Mathematics Teaching, Grades 4-8 along with Topics in Mathematics Education: Developing Teacher Portfolios. In support of its goals, teachers enrolled in these graduate courses will participate in an e-mentoring program facilitated by an on-line forum.

Teachers who participate in courses will receive on-site follow-up. Supported by UMD and local coordinators, teachers may co-teach lessons, observe peer lessons, co-plan, etc to put into practice what they have learned. On-site consultants will assist in further developing mathematical concepts from the institute; implementing problem solving strategies and emphasizing standards based curriculum and instruction. Teachers will continue to utilize Japanese lesson study techniques in developing lessons.

MAT courses developed through the partnership have been integrated into the UMD mathematics education program. UMD shall offer courses each semester as well as a summer 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. Post-post testing of past teacher participants will also be conducted.

For more project information, contact the program coordinator, Chris Mars, Mathematics Department Chair K-12, Wareham High School. For more course information, contact the instructor, Stephen Hegedus, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

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 between 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 courses offered in the first two years were Geometrical Concepts, Discrete Mathematics, Algebra, and Probability & Statistics. In year 3, two more courses will be delivered.

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 as individuals or in small collaborative groups. 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.

Last Updated: April 5, 2006
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