This four-and-one-half year Colorado Mathematics Middle School Teacher Enhancement Project (COMMSTEP) will support 330 teachers in 40 Colorado schools for professional development and implementation of standards-based instruction and assessment through the use of exemplary NSF-funded middle school instructional materials in mathematics. This Local Systemic Change through Teacher Enhancement in Mathematics, Grades 7-12, project builds upon the successful work of the Colorado State Systemic Initiative and TEAM 2000, a high school Teacher Enhancement project.
Middle schools whose students attend high schools implementing the Interactive Mathematics Program as part of Colorado's TEAM 2000 project serve as COMMSTEP primary target schools. Major components of the project include (1) examination and selection of materials, choosing from among Connected Mathematics, Mathscape: Seeing and Thinking Mathematically, and Mathematics in Context; (2) annual summer institutes; (3) monthly or quarterly workshops during the school year; and (4) monthly meetings with COMMSTEP teacher mentors and on-line telecommunications support.
Over the life of the project, the entire mathematics faculties in partnering middle schools participate in COMMSTEP. Sixth-grade teachers attend a two-week summer institute followed by nine monthly workshops, and fully implement their school's chosen instructional materials during their first year of participation. Seventh- and eighth-grade teachers phase-in their school's materials over a two-year period. These teachers attend one-week summer institutes followed by four quarterly workshops for two years.
All middle grades teachers receive two years of workshop and mentor support.
In addition to the required LSC core evaluation, the project collects two other important kinds of data: (1) student achievement data and (2) data that describe the district's capacity to support high quality mathematics curriculum and teaching (e.g., the district's capacity to support reform-oriented classroom practices), comparing COMMSTEP schools/districts with other school districts. Cost sharing, which approximates 83% of the NSF request, is derived primarily from state and local district funds. Total commitments from partner schools are expected to exceed 92% of the NSF request.