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Annual Report Overviews


Annual Overview

submitter: Mathematics and Science Enhancement II (MASE II)
published: 07/23/1998
posted to site: 07/23/1998

Mathematics and Science Enhancement II (MASE II)

Local Systemic Grant (#ESI - 9552863)
PI Annual Progress Report, Year Two
September 1, 1996 - August 30, 1997

Part I. Annual Overview


The Mathematics and Science Enhancement II (MASE II) project is a $6,000,000, five year (1995 -2000) Local Systemic Change program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). MASE II builds on MASE I to improve mathematics and science programs for all K - 5 students in the Clark County School District (CCSD), one of the fastest growing districts in the United States. MASE II is grounded on work with students in real classrooms. Participants at all levels form a community of learners to extend knowledge of content, pedagogy, how children think and learn, and to reflect on beliefs, practices, and practical issues teachers face.

MASE II is guided by the vision of:

  • high academic standards for all students

  • mathematically and scientifically literate students

  • students engaged in effective, inquiry-based, hands-on mathematics and science

  • improved understanding, performance, confidence, and achievement

  • effective use of technology

Project goals are to 1) provide in-depth professional development in mathematics and science for K-5 teachers and administrators; 2) implement the district's curriculum goals and objectives through effective use of exemplary, nationally recognized curricula; 3) support schools as they build a school culture to sustain Standards-based mathematics and science programs; 4) assist school teams as they identify and/or develop methods and tools to monitor student progress; 5) increase the number of qualified teacher leaders; and thereby 6) provide quality mathematics and science programs for all students as evidenced by improved student learning, performance, and achievement.

Project design at district and school levels is based on four dimensions: 1) vision and leadership; 2) curricula and material resources; 3) professional development; and 4) contextual and community support. The MASE II project supports the individual teacher and administrator within the school and district systems as they initiate and sustain improved mathematics and science programs. K-5 elementary school staffs committed to implementing Standards-based instruction apply to participate in MASE II. All staff members from 60 of the 142 CCSD K-5 elementary schools participate. Thirty (30) schools focus on science and staff members from an additional 30 schools focus on mathematics, working intensively for three years within the MASE II program. Nine K-5 school sites joined this child-centered project during year two; 51 schools will be added during years two and three. Teachers on Special Assignment and teacher leaders work collaboratively in the MASE II Leadership Development Component to provide high quality professional development. Meetings for administrators focus on supervision, support systems and mathematics and science content. Using the expertise developed in these 60 schools, existing district structures, and resources available through the Eisenhower professional development program, science and mathematics instruction will ultimately be upgraded in all CCSD K-5 elementary schools. Project design reflects the realities of population growth, including staff mobility and large numbers of new teachers.

The MASE II model of professional development is a collegial inquiry into teaching and learning science and mathematics. Small and large group sessions are offered for novice and experienced teachers, teacher leaders, and administrators from all project schools. Initial sessions focus on district adopted Standards-based curricular resources, Full Option Science System (FOSS) and Investigations in Number, Data, and Space. Subsequent sessions focus on inquiry-based teaching strategies, science and mathematics content, and instructional decision-making. Each session highlights one or more of five areas: 1) understanding how children think and learn; 2) enhancing teachers' understanding of content; 3) understanding Standards-based curricula; 4) implementing effective instructional strategies; 5) working with children. All sessions model best instructional practices and provide time for dialogue and reflection. Teachers participate in 100 or more hours of professional development over a three-year period; administrators participate in 36 or more hours.

Through partnerships with national educational organizations, universities and community members, and within the District, MASE II offers enriched opportunities to project staff, school teams, teacher leaders, and administrators. MASE II staff collaborates with staff at the Exploratorium; the Workshop Center, City College of New York; the Education Development Center; TERC; the Lawrence Hall of Science; the University of Las Vegas, Nevada; and the Caltech Precollege Science Initiative (CAPSI), California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Continuous interaction with members of each institution, local community members, and between CCSD divisions supports MASE II systemic efforts.

Major accomplishments during year two include, and are not limited to, successful:

implementation of a variety of MASE II professional development offerings that focus on children, teaching, and learning for staff of nine project schools and applications within each school. As a result, teachers see the MASE II project as supportive of their work to improve science and mathematics programs. The project has been able to show how basic skills are part of Standards-based mathematics reasoning and problem solving. Principals are supportive of teachers and the goals of MASE II. Exemplary curricular resources are implemented by most teachers at a structured level, one of the MASE II goals for first year teachers. Teachers and principals share stories of improved school-wide collaboration and student interest in, and increased learning of, mathematics and science. More science is now being taught in project schools.

refinement of project design as the cornerstone for scaling up implementation for an additional twenty schools in year three and thirty schools in year four. Based on work in the first nine schools, Teachers on Special Assignment were able to define and utilize the school as the "unit of work" to continue offering high quality, reflective professional development which integrated content and pedagogy. Classroom-based work with children continues to be the hallmark of MASE II.

partnerships with scientists and museums. Partnerships were formed as MASE staff, scientists, museum representatives, and Nevada Medical Society representatives worked together.

design of a database and the Professional Development Program Guide to facilitate communication with participants and maintenance of accurate MASE records for ultimately over 2000 participants. Inverness Research Associates worked with district staff to design and test the data base.

The lessons learned from our experiences, from the evaluation team, from advisory board members, and others involved in systemic reform, guide our work and shape plans for year three of MASE II. Lessons learned include the following: 1) project staff must clearly define and articulate a vision of quality mathematics and science; 2) work with children in classrooms is an essential project component; 3) professional development and demonstration lessons must model best practices of inquiry learning; 4) project goals and strategies must integrate with district and community goals to be endorsed and sustained; 5) focus on quality instruction and inquiry into teaching and learning is more effective without reform rhetoric; 6) community partnerships at all levels are critical to success and sustainability.