Math Specialists/Supervisors Summary

Thursday, July 3, 2003

Only five math specialists were left for our meeting today: Kimya , Debbie, Miquel, Leo, and Dave. The agenda included: Curriculum Reform models, Types of professional development, Professional Development for professional developers, Obstacles and Solutions, The future for the Math Specialists group (focus for next year, specific activities, and suggested researcher).

Curriculum Reform models:
Connected Math is a curriculum reform initiative that is in place in Michigan schools and the Cincinnati schools. Michigan has just adopted MathScape for its middle schools.

Kimya noted that the professional development that she used in her district was basically of three types: awareness, skill and content building, and teacher growth- reflective practice. She noted that 50% of the professional development that she offered to the teachers in her district last year was of the awareness type. Hopefully, as time moves on, that percentage can be reduced and more professional development that focuses on teacher growth can be offered. But it was discussed that in order to make sure that teachers have bought into the philosophy of change, a large portion of professional development will need to be on the first level of awareness. Debbie suggested that a set of teachers does exist who are good candidates for a higher levels of professional development. All teachers are not at the awareness level. Some new teachers and more seasoned teachers may be eager to engage in a lesson study group. A solution to few teachers participating in needed professional development is to have district administrators suggest that the teachers partake of the professional development. Their approach to teachers may be more effective than a more traditional approach.

Debbie entertained the question of the type of appropriate professional development that is needed for schools who are struggling and are trying to avoid take overs, redesign, intervention, or closing. Exposure to curriculum reform models, use of standards-based instructional materials, the use of multiple assessments, continuous professional development, and communication with parents are features of a plan for such schools.

The problem of poorly or uncertified teachers was discussed.

It was discussed that one method to identify potential teacher leaders is to determine if they are a members of professional organizations like NCTM or the State or local council of math teachers.

The focus of next year's PCMI-Math Specialist group will obviously be the review, digestion and debriefing from the implementation of the grant from the three districts. The issues that the districts face will form the framework for the sessions.

It was discussed how the time for the specialists to meet was too short. We always met for longer than one hour. The length of time is also short. Perhaps if the time that the specialists attend did not coincide with the Fourth of July, our time could be more productive. The importance of the specialist being part of the HSTP was confirmed. Therefore, attending the first week of PCMI is necessary so that integration into the HSTP mathematics would be possible.

Bob Moses of the Algebra Project was suggested as the Math specialist researcher for next summer.

The specialists submitted their evaluation forms. Kimya will review them and sent them to Catherine so that the results can be compiled.

See y'all next year. Thanks for a great week. Have a good school year!

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