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Annual Report Overviews


Annual Overview

submitter: Systemic Reform of Mathematics 6-12 for Rural Virginia
published: 12/03/1998
posted to site: 12/03/1998

Systemic Reform of Mathematics 6-12 for Rural Virginia


Annual Report

Part I. Annual Overview

This grant provides support and professional development for middle and high school mathematics teachers in Buckingham, Craig, Montgomery, and Nottoway counties and Roanoke City. Patrick Henry High School, in Roanoke City, selected "Integrated Mathematics: A Modeling Approach Using Technology" (SIMMS) in 1997 and implemented it for their 9th graders in the Fall of 1997. The teachers received 60 hours of professional development centered around this curriculum in the summer of 1997, 45 hours during the 97-98 school year, and 30 hours during the summer of 1998. With this exception, the focus during the first year of the grant was on the middle school.

In the Spring of 1998, the School Boards in Craig County and Roanoke City adopted "MathScape: Seeing and Thinking Mathematically" as their textbooks for middle school mathematics, and Buckingham and Montgomery counties adopted the "Connected Mathematics Project." During the summer of 1998, the middle school teachers in these four school systems received 60 hours of professional development centered around the curriculum that had been adopted. This curriculum is being implemented during the current school year (98-99), and, as of November 1, 1998, the middle school teachers in Buckingham County have received 9 hours (three 3-hour sessions) during the 98-99 school year whereas the middle school teachers in Craig and Montgomery counties and Roanoke City have received 12 hours (four 3-hour sessions) during the current school year.

The professional development sessions have been led by teams, with each team consisting of a Virginia Tech faculty member and a classroom teacher. A PI served as a workshop leader with each group of middle school teachers.We feel good about the year’s activities because we have accomplished what we planned to do in Buckingham, Craig, and Montgomery counties and in Roanoke City. Moreover our support is growing, and the Core Evaluation Report gives a high rating to the professional development. Additional details can be found in the attached Core Evaluation Report. There is only one malcontent in the group of 121 middle school mathematics teachers in the four systems listed above who are participating in the graduate level mathematics course that is being offered and paid for by Virginia Tech (the school year professional development mentioned above).

Generally speaking, teachers report that students like the curriculum. Schools have responded in different ways in order to inform parents. These included writing letters to parents, holding Parents’ Nights, and Parent Conferences. Again, with a few exceptions, the parents are supportive. As expected, the exceptions involve students whose grade reports were low.

The lessons that we learned were anticipated; that is, it is very difficult to get everyone on board and to keep them there. In the Spring of 1998, there were a lot of meetings with small groups of teachers, and even with individual teachers, in order to address concerns that had arisen. Because of our past experience, we were aware that small problems can become large problems if they are not addressed and so we were frequently responding to issues. Among these was the alignment of the curriculum with Virginia’s Standards of Learning because the school systems are quite concerned about the new Standards of Learning Assessment tests that are being given in Virginia.