Math Science Partnership

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What is PD3?

McAllen site
New Mexico site
Seattle site


What is PD3?

The Institute for Advanced Study/Park City Mathematics Institute (IAS/PCMI), a residential three-week summer experience, comprises seven programs: research mathematicians, graduate students, undergraduate faculty, undergraduate students, an international seminar, mathematics education research, and secondary school teachers. The Secondary School Teachers Program (SSTP) at PCMI brings together teachers from across the United States to do mathematics, reflect on the practice of teaching, and work together on a project related to a specific area of mathematics.

Historically, locally-situated Professional Development and Outreach (PDO) groups, funded through the Institute for Advanced Study (with private funds) for activities during the school year, are connected to the SSTP. These PDO groups consist of a university mathematician who collaborates with area teachers to design ongoing year-round activities related to mathematics education. The fundamental unit of change is the individual teacher, with the expectation that the teacher's school will benefit from this involvement. The participants are self-selected from various school districts within the region of the partnering university. PDO Group activities take a variety of forms such as holding workshops for other teachers, meeting to do and discuss mathematics, or lesson study. There are currently seven active PDO groups (University of Minnesota, University of New Mexico, San Jose State University, Harvey Mudd College, St. Peter's College in New Jersey, University of Washington, University of Michigan-Dearborn) [].

The IAS/PCMI's MSP project, PD3, builds on the PDO concept; however the strategic plan of the MSP project, while starting with individual teachers, goes far deeper and has a much broader vision of impact than the PDO concept. Partnership driven (IAS, IHE STEM and education faculty, school districts, teachers), PD3 moves from individual teachers across schools to a critical mass of teachers within a school where the unit of change is the school and the mathematics teaching and learning in that school. PD3 is focused on teacher quality, with challenging mathematics courses for teacher professional development as a core part of our work.

Teacher leadership development and the research into its ingredients were to be the product of the first three-year MSP cycle with school-wide transformation envisioned for a second stage of the project. The project design is based on evidence, and continuing data collection informs modifications in the original design. The desired outcomes of the PD3 project are:

  • Establishing partnerships with district leadership and IHE STEM and education faculty to identify and develop a nucleus of teacher leaders in each individual school of the project;
  • Utilizing the school-based nucleus, through participation in PCMI and PD3 activities, to engage all of the remaining teachers in the school around critical issues of mutual concern in teaching and learning of mathematics in the school;
  • Designing and implementing school-wide changes in teaching and learning mathematics;
  • Sustainable change in school mathematics departments with respect to instruction and student outcomes, based on teacher change and teacher leadership;
  • District-wide rethinking and improvement.

The PD3 model has two parts. First, PD3 gathers a critical mass of mathematics teachers from a given school and, within a larger community of selected teachers, gives them an intensive three-week summer experience in

  1. mathematics content,
  2. structured time for reflecting on what it means to teach so that students learn, and
  3. developing tools to become a resource for colleagues.

Second, once empowered, these teachers then work with a support team from the school and the university to help their mathematics department change in ways that will result in improved student achievement throughout the school. During the academic year, the support mechanism for the PD3 teachers is a team consisting of

  1. IHE faculty: both mathematicians and university mathematics educators, and
  2. school district personnel: curriculum coordinators, coaches or supervisors, plus the teachers themselves.

At each site, this team works with the teachers to design activities that address identified needs in each school and to help them as a larger group consider how to improve instruction in their classes. Specific details can be found at each site's webpage:   McAllen site ||  Seattle site

Additional Information and Links

MSP Background

Project Personnel

PCMI/PD3 Teachers

2006 PCMI Summer Session

PCMI@MathForum Home || IAS/PCMI Home

© 2001 - 2015 Park City Mathematics Institute
IAS/Park City Mathematics Institute is an outreach program of the School of Mathematics
at the Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540

Send questions or comments to: Suzanne Alejandre

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0314808.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.