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Annual Report Overviews


Annual Overview

submitter: Mathematics and Science Enhancement II (MASE II)
published: 01/06/1999
posted to site: 01/06/1999

Mathematics and Science Enhancement II (MASE II)

Local Systemic Grant (#ESI - 9552863)

PI Annual Progress Report, Year Three

September 1, 1997 - August 30, 1998


Part I. Annual Overview


The Mathematics and Science Enhancement II (MASE II) project is a five year (1995-2000), $6,000,000, Local Systemic Change program for 2000 of the over 6000 K-5 teachers in the Clark County School District (CCSD) 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 one of the fastest growing districts in the United States. MASE II is grounded on work with students and teachers in real classrooms. Participants at all levels form communities of learners to extend knowledge of content, pedagogy, how children think and learn, and exemplary curriculum resources. They are asked to build a collegial culture to reflect on beliefs, practices, and practical issues teachers face.

MASE II is progressing at a steady rate toward project goals 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 school cultures 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. The MASE and Eisenhower programs are complementary designs with the same goals. Science and mathematics instruction will ultimately be upgraded in all CCSD K-5 elementary schools by using the expertise developed through MASE, existing district structures, and resources available through the district and Eisenhower professional development programs.

Project design at district and school levels is based on four dimensions: 1) vision and leadership; 2) curricula and materials 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 46 of the 142 CCSD K-5 elementary schools participate. As of August 1998, twenty-one (21) schools focus on science and staff members from an additional twenty-five (25) schools focus on mathematics, working intensively for three years within the MASE II program. Six Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs) design, implement, evaluate, and refine professional development. They work collaboratively with Teacher Leaders who are assuming increasingly important roles as the project is scaled up. Meetings for administrators focus on culture building, supervision, and support systems. Teachers participate in 100 or more hours of professional development over a three-year period; administrators participate in 36 or more hours. Project design reflects the realities of population growth, including staff mobility and large numbers of teachers new to the district each year.

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 four areas: 1) how children think and learn; 2) science and mathematics content for teachers; 3) Standards-based curriculum materials, and 4) effective instruction. All sessions model best instructional practices and provide time for dialogue and reflection. Sessions centered in the classroom with students prove to be key to institutionalizing Standards-based pedagogy.

Through partnerships with national educational organizations, national experts in science and mathematics education, universities and community members, MASE II offers enriched opportunities to project staff, school teams, Teacher Leaders, and administrators. Partnerships within the district that focus on science and mathematics benefit all stakeholders. Continuous interaction with members of each institution, local community members, and among CCSD divisions, supports MASE II systemic efforts.

Major accomplishments during year three include, and are not limited to, successfully:

  • developing capacity of teachers, Teacher Leaders, TOSAs, and Administrators to provide improved mathematics and science programs. Teachers are becoming more open to and supportive of reform efforts. The knowledge level of TOSAs and Teacher Leaders is enhanced by interactions with the national network of project consultants and experts. Administrators, positioned to impact district policy at all levels, are becoming more knowledgeable.
  • creating a collaborative district context within which to reform science and mathematics. Potentially polarizing issues were diffused and a balanced approach to reform (that reflects the community context and MASE goals) was defined and implemented.
  • participating on committees and contributing to the writing of Nevada Content and Performance Standards. MASE staff and Teacher Leaders interacted with community representatives.
  • building and strengthening partnerships within the district and the community. The Emory model partnerships with pre-med students is in final planning stages; existing partnerships are growing.
  • generating steady progress toward project goals and support at all levels within the district. MASE II teachers are increasingly recognized as improving teaching in the district.

The lessons learned from our experiences; from teachers, students and administrators; from the evaluation team; from advisory board members; and from others involved in systemic reform; guide our work and shape plans for year four of MASE II.

Lessons learned - We are learning that:

  • collaboration with all stakeholders to develop and use common vocabulary and definitions moves reform forward.
  • evolving community context must be considered and addressed in project strategies.
  • a large, knowledgeable, leadership core at every level is required to maintain high standards and expectations as the project is scaled up.
  • lessons with children in classrooms and site-based work builds school culture, opens teachers’ minds to reform, and creates patterns that lead to sustainability.
  • project staff must clearly, consistently, and repeatedly define, articulate, and communicate standards of exemplary practice and project opportunities and responsibilities.
  • networking with national experts promotes deep understandings and motivates Teacher Leaders.
  • nationally-developed professional development curricula strengthens project offerings.