Annual Report Overviews
Chicago Secondary Mathematics Improvement Project
The Chicago Secondary Mathematics Improvement Program (CSMIP) began in the spring of 1997 working with Chicago public school teachers using the Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP). Our professional development provides experience with both the mathematical content and teaching strategies necessary to achieve the goal of changing curriculum and teaching practices. The process of incorporating the pedagogical and curricular content of IMP into a teacher's practice is designed to bring her/his classroom much closer to that advocated by the new Illinois and Chicago standards and, in general, by the math reform movement.
In our first four months of our project, supported by an Eisenhower grant from the Illinois Board of Higher Education, we worked with 43 teachers. Each teacher received between 18 and 75 hours of professional development workshops organized around the curriculum for IMP1, 2 and 4. Each workshop integrated appropriate use of the graphing calculator and practice in using manipulatives to support multiple means of representation of the mathematical situations involved in problems. In addition, four teacher leaders were involved in between 30 and 100 hours of guided practice in leading workshops and conferencing with new IMP1 teachers following classroom visits.
The schedule of professional development workshops is summarized in the core evaluation report as follows:
Between May 1 and August 31, CSMIP carried out several series of workshops for teachers. these included:
IMP1 Thirty of the teachers participated in workshops with the dual focus on the curriculum of IMP 1 and on initial efforts to develop a collaborative classroom. Particular attention focused on developing teachers' questioning techniques to assist students in furthering their mathematical understanding and expanding teacher capacity to build an environment in the classroom which supports mathematical discourse. Teachers practiced the approaches of making group presentations and sharing the thinking of their groups in the workshops, both of which are essential elements in a successful IMP classroom. Half of these teachers participated in the full Summer Institute, team-teaching The Game of Pig.
IMP2 Eight teachers worked on mathematical issues underlying the concept of statistical difference between two groups using the chi-squared test, the concepts involved in perimeter, area and volume, and continued their discussion and growth in capacity to sustain student engagement in collaborative investigation and discussion.
IMP4 Five teachers worked on two units of the fourth year curriculum focusing on circular functions, three-dimensional linear programming, and use of a graphing calculator to produce animated three-dimensional geometric representations to teach translations and rotations in a coordinate system.
B. Staff-development curriculum
Our curriculum for teachers is consistent with the NCTM Standards for Professional Development for Teachers, and incorporates the following:
As we prepared to begin our first academic year of the program we had schools in the following degree of implementation:
D. District policies and their effect on LSC reforms
As was pointed out in the evaluation report this number of teachers indicates that we are on target with our goals for teacher involvement in the project. There were however several obstacles to involving our original target schools.
Although the number of teachers attending these workshops was adequate, this was a difficult year to undertake extensive summer inservice in Chicago. Three factors contributed to a somewhat lower than desired level of attendance. These were:
In the traditional full service high schools, the continued emphasis by the central administration of CPS on scores on the TAP test (Riverside Publishers Test of Academic Proficiency) cause many principals to be nervous about using a standards-based curriculum. In spite of the adoption of standards-based Chicago Academic Standards, the TAP emphasizes single step procedures and problems. While the traditional curriculum has not served students well on this test, many principals feel that teaching "the basics" will produce higher test scores. There is significant work to be done with administrators to have them understand the importance of conceptually based mathematics.
As indicated in the evaluation, one major problem is the lack of coordination with and support from the CSI (Chicago systemic Initiative) . In spite of teacher interest in IMP, there is no encouragement from CSI or the CPS mathematics coordinators who have previously worked for CSI towards using exemplary materials. This appears to be true at the elementary as well as secondary levels. More active support from CSI could strengthen our ability to achieve LSC goals. We are currently pursuing efforts to have more coordination with the CSI.
E. Lessons learned and their effect on development of ongoing plans
Although full implementation of LSC participation has only been achieved at a number of small schools and two full service high schools, it is significant to note that for the first time there is involvement across the city in every region of the district by classroom teachers in significant discussion about changing the secondary curriculum. We feel that in addition to supporting the existing teachers this next year, it will be a major focus of the project to identify and recruit additional schools in every region.
One challenge in achieving this goal will be determining an effective strategy for working with those schools that continue to be on academic probation. Each such school has an external university partner which is responsible for supporting organizational and curricular developments that will improve achievement of students. We are attempting to strengthen our contacts and working relationships with two of the external partners, The Chicago Teachers' Center, a division of Northeastern Illinois University and the Small School Workshop, a program affiliated with the University of Illinois at Chicago. We also are pursuing a strategy of targeting two or three regions for our major emphasis. In our first effort at a regional emphasis, we are currently offering standards-based curriculum and teaching workshops to schools in Region 2. This series of professional development seminars is being funded by the Regional Educational Officer.
A further challenge is the issue of teacher mobility. Enrollment varies from year to year at many schools creating a certain level of uncertainty among staff for the first several years of their working for CPS. This was heightened this year with large scale staffing changes due to schools being reconstituted. Three of the teachers who received the initial thirty hours of professional development in summer 1997 are not currently teaching IMP. These teachers are still working for CPS and we hope to be able to continue working with them to provide the full professional development program. We will need to develop a plan for dealing with the mobility of teachers as we provide the full 130 hours of professional development.
A goal which has become clear in the first several months of this grant is to increase our work with administrators and counselors in order to strengthen the infrastructure support for change in the classroom. In the past we have only had one or two contacts per year with each principal. We are attempting to make ongoing discussions with administrators more of a priority. Our experience shows that principals need to be well armed to defend their use of exemplary materials in the climate of emphasis on scores on the TAP test. Although we do not have funds in our grant to do significant data collection of student test scores, we are seeking additional funding in order to support our claims concerning IMP students performance on standardized tests.
One of the major lessons from the summer experience was the necessity of being flexible and the importance of developing a wide variety of forms for teachers to be involved in professional development. A single model of the Summer Institute, while providing the strongest foundation for successful implementation of a standards-based mathematics classroom, is not able to involve all teachers and meet their needs for professional development. Some teachers are not willing to work in the summer; others have ongoing commitments which preclude involvement in the Summer Institute.