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Annual Report Overviews


Annual Overview

author: Mack McCary, Susan N. Friel, Lynn A. Smith
submitter: Redefining, Reforming, and Enriching Mathematics Instruction through Problem Solving, K-* (MIPS Project)
published: 01/14/1999
posted to site: 01/14/1999

MIPS Annual Report Highlights
1997 - 1998

Serving 5 LEAs...
Elizabeth City/Pasquotank County (fiscal agent)
Hyde County
Gates County
Camden County
Washington County

P.I.s: Dr. Mack McCary
Dr. Susan Friel
Director: Mr. Lynn A. Smith

Mathematics Improvement through Problem Solving

1998 Report


On April 15, 1997, the NSF funded the MIPS grant to Elizabeth City-Pasquotank County Schools under their Local Systemic Initiative. Elizabeth City-Pasquotank County Schools serves as the fiscal agent for the five (5) school system consortia, Camden, Elizabeth City-Pasquotank, Gates, Hyde and Washington Counties. The grant was approved for 54 months at a funding level of $1,144,200. The initial award was for $950,717 for the period of April 15, 1997 through March 31, 1999. As of this report, the grant has been operation for nineteen (19) months.

In all, MIPS will serve approximately 475 K-8 teachers of mathematics in the 5 districts over the full term of MIPS, including special education teachers and replacement teachers who are employed during the course of the project. There are four tiers of content/curriculum activity involved in MIPS: Teach-Stat, K-8; CMP (Connected Math Project), 6-8; Children’s Mathematics Development K-5, and evaluation and regional adoption of an elementary math curriculum consistent with NCTM and state standards. All of the curricular elements we are pursuing or exploring are established national curriculums that were developed with NSF support and guidance. They align with National Standards and have student centered, problem/inquiry based learning as their bases. Teach-Stat is a critical core that supports inquiry based instructional change and curriculum integration. The Connected Mathematics Project is our middle school curriculum and it continues the process of relevant learning that is student centered and problem solving/inquiry based. The Mathematics Development is focused on working with a core of teacher leaders from each district around the issues of how children develop, form and use their mathematics understandings and knowledge to solve problems. This knowledge and information will inform the process for selecting the elementary curricula for each of the five districts.

Conditions of Award

In the April 11, 1997 award letter to Dr. Joseph W. Peel, NSF imposed certain conditions which are addressed below.

Cost-sharing in the amount of $113,035.00 has been documented for the 12 month period since our last report. A total of $255,665.39 has been documented for the entire grant period of 19 months. A detailed spreadsheet is provided in the budget section of this report.

From November 16, 1997 to November 15, 1998, MIPS has incurred net expenditures of $244,152.41. A total of $418,183.95 or 37% has been documented for the entire grant period of 19 months.

Since our last report, we have provided professional development and support to 268 teachers. To date, we have trained a total of 575 teachers including special education and replacement teachers. This number is higher than expected due to the high attrition rate in this region, upwards of 10% per year. Thus, we have institutionalization of induction and training of new teachers as one of our main goals for 1999.

Are We Making a Difference?

Our school has just begun our adventure with MIPS. Our adventure began this past summer for a week with Gail Lane and Marva Bond learning what Teach-Stat involved. It was a delightful week filled with fun and excitement. The investigations were enjoyable and useful. Never was there a dull moment. From the bubble blowing to the globe throwing, we explored and learned about the usefulness of using these investigations our classrooms. But the truth would come when we actually put these investigations into action in our own classrooms.

The time arrived...Lots of teachers began the first day of school with statistical investigations to find out about our new students. From there it grew and the enthusiasm of our kids was uncontrollable. They were learning and having fun doing it. Isn’t that what education is all about anyway?

Soon the halls were being filled with graphs of all the neat things that were being explored within the classrooms. Teachers are using more and more investigations....Teach Stat is interdisciplinary and we are using technology software to enhance the graphing. I find myself daily learning new and better ways to expose my children to curricula needs. I am glad that I had the opportunity to learn about Teach-Stat.

Alta Allen, Teacher
Pines Elementary, Washington County

I wanted to let you know how pleased I am to see the results of the Teach-Stat training from this summer. We are very fortunate at Grandy Primary that all classroom teachers and our resource teacher were trained. Teach-Stat is a building focus this year. From the first day of school, graphs have appeared in the halls outside the classrooms. This is definitely a training project that is being carried over into the classroom instruction.

Becky Phelps, Principal
Grandy Primary, Camden County

Developmental Math is a school focus this year. For all practical purposes, 100% of the staff have been trained. We are in the beginning stages of implementation. The attitude of teachers is positive and the interest is keen. Most of the [Northside] teachers have been trained in Teach-Stat. They - and students - love it. They also love to display Teach-Stat projects in the hall....A focus this year will be on "reading" the graphs and writing conclusions.

Georgetta Jackson, Principal
Northside Elementary, Pasquotank County

What We Have Accomplished

As of this report, MIPS has been operational for 19 months. During this period, we have experienced the sudden loss of our director, Robert (Bob) Cullen. His passion and expertise for this project has been missed; however, in our efforts to pick up the pieces and continue his vision, we have made significant strides toward our goals and objectives.

Since our last report, we have involved 263 individual teachers and administrators from 5 school systems; Camden, Elizabeth City-Pasquotank, Gates, Hyde and Washington. The majority of participants were from Elizabeth City-Pasquotank, and Washington counties (see data section for detail). In the summer of 1998, as planned, we conducted eleven (11) professional development workshops; four weeks of Teach-Stat, four weeks of Children's Mathematics Development, and three weeks of Connected Mathematics.

A participation breakdown for the summer '98 workshops follows. There were twelve (12) administrators who participated and 263 teachers who participated. One hundred and seventeen (117) teachers or 45% of our teachers participated in Teach-Stat, thirty (30) teachers or 11% participated in CMP, and one hundred and eighty two (182) or 69% participated in Mathematics Development workshops. Twenty-five percent (25%) of our teachers participated in both Teach-Stat and Mathematics Development workshops.

The in-kind value of the time devoted to MIPS so far during the academic year totals $113,035.00. This figure includes teacher and administrator salaries and expenses, materials and supplies, and facilities and facilities support.

In our various offerings, we have striven to model instruction that parallels what we would like to see in our classrooms -- see external evaluation report. We have actively engaged all participants in relevant hands - on activities and problem solving. We provided each workshop participant with teacher editions and other materials to enhance their classroom instruction. We have made wide use of videos to model "best practices" for problem solving/inquiry based instruction. It is clear to us that quality curricula material is only one part of the equation for comprehensive systemic change and instructional improvement. The other critical piece is the instruction itself. We know that embracing the concepts and practices of inquiry based learning is not easy for teachers, particularly in a high stakes testing environment such as we have here in North Carolina. We have emphasized this change throughout our professional development offerings and follow-up activities. Our Instructional Specialists and teacher leaders are concentrating on inquiry based instruction through modeling and coaching.

As you will see in the narrative that follows, we are very actively implementing Teach-Stat and Connected Mathematics in all five of our participating districts. Through the Mathematics Development, we are laying the groundwork for beginning the evaluation of the three elementary curriculums we discussed in our proposal: Everyday Mathematics, Trailblazers, and Investigations in Numbers, Data and Space. It is still our intention to pursue the regional adoption and implementation of a curriculum like one of these three. Ideally, we would like to see the same curriculum adopted across all five districts, and that is the goal we are pursuing. The work to more formally and fully evaluate each of these curricula began this summer in the four Mathematics Development workshops. As part of that process, and with the cooperation of Central Elementary School in Elizabeth City-Pasquotank, we have set up a MIPS resource center and instructional laboratory. This center has provided: a resource center for trying out various curricula modules and lessons with students, a resource for evaluation, a library for reviewing and accessing materials, and it will serve as a MIPS teacher training center.


We conducted four (4) Teach-Stat workshops during the summer of 1998. The workshops were five full days in length with 35 hours of instruction. The workshops are to be supplemented with up to 25 hours of follow-up during the academic year. So far, we have conducted 20 formal follow-up activities from mid-November 1997 to mid November 1998 for a total of 12,584 person hours. These follow-ups have included formal mini workshops lasting 2 full days to short-term (1 to 1 1/2 hour) "reunions" to share accomplishments and concerns. A major thrust has been to model lessons in "real time" classrooms and to observe and coach teachers as they implement and focus on problem based/inquiry instruction. Ms. Gail Lane, the MIPS Instructional Specialist has modeled 131 Teach-Stat lessons in 21 different schools in 5 systems. She has worked with teachers in their planning, met with principals, done classroom observations and modeled lessons in 21 schools across 5 districts.

In our Teach-Stat workshops, we modeled a problem/inquiry based instructional approach. We used the PCAI model of pose the question, collect the data, analyze the data, interpret the data and then to report and defend findings, graphically and verbally. Teachers working in groups were actively engaged in all phases of the investigative process. Within each workshop, time was devoted to the mathematical content as well as to the applications and vocabulary. Teachers learned about, explored, and used line graphs, scatter plots, box and whisker plots, stem-and-leaf plots, back-to-back stem and leaf plots, bar graphs, and line plots. In our discussions of which graph is appropriate when, we also introduced histograms. Leveling techniques were also addressed. Calculators were used in the workshops. Knowledge charts were used as a means for teachers to identify where they began with their understandings of a variety of statistical terms, processes, and tools. Each day, teachers moved their markers under the categories to reflect the level best describing their "new found" knowledge and understandings. These charts and the process allowed teachers to assess their own work and it provided workshop leaders with feedback on needs and gaps in knowledge.

We have taken one of the first steps toward institutionalization of ongoing training and support by recruiting Teach-Stat teacher leaders from every district. Twenty-six (26) Teach-Stat teacher leaders were chosen to represent the twenty-one (21) schools in the 5 districts.

Connected Math Project

We dedicated three full weeks to the Connected Mathematics Project this past summer of 1998. The first full week consisted of 8th grade CMP presented by Dr. Susan Friel in Raleigh. This workshop was open to teachers from several districts across the state which provided MIPS teachers the opportunity to network with a wider range of colleagues. Ms. Linda Walker, Tallahassee, FL and a CMP Teacher Leader/Mentor lead the grades 6 and 7 workshops in July. We trained thirty (30) sixth to eighth grade teachers in CMP and had two middle school principals participate. We also had participants come from Edgecombe and Wake counties to participate in the workshops.

The workshop syllabi was defined by the modules themselves; teachers worked through modules just as students would with an emphasis on hands-on participatory engagement and group work. The Student Editions were used to guide the work. This summer, teachers dedicated 1,200 person hours to CMP professional development workshops. Since our last report, we have devoted a total of 612 person hours to CMP follow-up. In the follow-up sessions, heavy emphasis has been placed on inquiry based learning and instructional techniques. We have conducted four (4) full days of CMP Workshops for "new teachers."

Mathematics Development

MIPS provided four full weeks of Children’s Mathematics Development workshops in the summer of 1998. One hundred and eighty-two (182) teachers participated in addition to fourteen administrators and MIPS staff. A total of 7,560 person hours were allocated to the workshops and there have been approximately 426 hours of follow-up. The workshops were developed and presented by Dr. Susan Friel (UNC-CH)and Dr. George Bright (UNC-G). It is our plan that selected teachers from within the group will take more leadership responsibility in our upcoming workshops and follow-up. This builds regional capacity and assures a resource for continued professional development for new and experienced teachers. We also expect to add additional teachers from the other districts/schools to this teacher-leader group this academic year. This group now consists of teacher leaders from many of the elementary schools participating in the MIPS Project; our goal is to have at least two from each school. These teachers, based on their teaching experience and knowledge gained from these workshops, will guide the processes in their schools and districts, for evaluating and adopting one of the various elementary curricula available under the MIPS Project.

Teachers first learned about number fluency, number sense, and number systems. On day two, developing operations were explored and the concepts and practices of Cognitively Guided Instruction was introduced and explored. Day three continued with CGI and included working with and interviewing students. Place value was also investigated later in the day. On day four, place value was tied to operations and the group learned about invented strategies and the role of algorithms in solving mathematical problems. On day five, teachers continued to explore the concepts of invented strategies and algorithms. Throughout the workshop video tapes were viewed and discussed including those by Kathy Richardson and selected excerpts from the Annenberg collection. There were readings assigned each night. Teachers also used manipulatives throughout the week.

Teachers are expected to dedicate 15 hours to Mathematics Development follow-up during the school year. A number of teachers are utilizing CGI in their clasrooms as a learning and diagnostic tool for assessing student understanding and mastery. Each participant received a copy of Van de Walle's Elementary and Middle School Mathematics which they are actively using to enhance their mathematical understandings and instruction.


As required, we have actively participated in the NSF Local Systemic evaluation initiative administered through Horizon Research, Inc. We have also utilized both formal and informal internal evaluation to inform our programs and the overall MIPS Project. Dr. Ron Preston is our external evaluator. Please refer to his detailed report at the back of this manual.

Our internal evaluation efforts resulted in several outcomes. After reading reflective journals each afternoon, workshop leaders met late each afternoon to adjust their workshop schedules and activities to meet teacher needs. The internal workshop evaluations (see evaluation summaries) revealed important subjective data of importance to MIPS. This internal evaluation tool can be broken down into several broad categories: (1) presentation which includes presenter proficiency, promptness, and organization of materials, (2) practicality or relevance of information which includes ideas that can be used in the classroom and addresses concerns about SCS and EOG, (3) personal reflection - how has this changed my thinking or my way of teaching, and finally, (4) value and suggestions for future workshops.

Ninety-four percent (94%) of the 329 teachers participating in MIPS workshops this summer ('98) found quality and organization in the workshops. Generally, teachers agreed that they could use the information learned in the workshops in their classrooms (90%). Ninety-two percent (92%) felt strongly that the workshops had changed their way of thinking about math and their teaching strategies. Teachers were open and honest with their discussions of the value and suggestions for future workshops.


Through November 1998, MIPS has incurred net expenditures of $418,183.95 or 37% of the funds approved for expenditure. In adddition to that amount, significant direct and indirect in-kind and cost sharing expenditures have been incurred by the districts. ECP spent $14,075 of their Eisenhower funds (not counted as in-kind) to support higher stipends ($80/day) for their teachers and the participation of non-mathematics teachers. Washington County provided $900 in funding for their full-time substitute teachers to participate. Cost sharing and in-kind contributions from districts and Elizabeth City State University totaled $113,035 and is detailed on the spreadsheet that follows. These amounts cover the expenditures from the last 12 months.