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BEAMM Annual Overview

submitter: Broadening Access to Mathematics in Maine (BEAMM)
published: 12/16/1999
posted to site: 12/17/1999
Broaden Educational Access to Mathematics in Maine (BEAMM)
Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance
May 1999 - October 1999

Contact us:

Tom Berger, Principal Investigator,
Betsy Berry, Project Director/Principal Investigator,
Francis Eberle, Principal Investigator,
Jackie Mitchell, Principal Investigator,
Susan Wishkoski, Principal Investigator,
Visit our web site:

Project Overview:

The BEAMM project (Broaden Educational Access to Mathematics in Maine) is a partnership among seven Maine school districts, the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance and the Maine Department of Education. The districts involved are: MSAD #34, Belfast, Morrill, Northport and Searsmont; MSAD #60, Berwick, No. Berwick, East Lebanon; MSAD #63, Eddington, E. Eddington and Holden; Union #90, Milford, Alton, Bradley and Greenbush; Union #96, East Sullivan, Gouldsboro, Steuben and Winter Harbor; Union #106, Calais, Alexander and Robbinston; and the City of Sanford. These districts encompass 37 elementary schools and a total of 501 teachers.

This project provides professional development programs and activities for all K-8 teachers of mathematics in these seven districts. The goals of the program are to increase understanding of standards-based mathematics and develop support structures for effective classroom implementation. By the end of the 5-year project all teachers will:

  • Understand mathematical ideas and pedagogy for long-term student learning and achievement.
  • Create student-centered classrooms by using exemplary instruction, curriculum materials, and assessment practices.
  • Reflect on their practices and participate in collegial discussions about teaching and learning.
  • Work and communicate with K-8 teachers in the partner LEA's and beyond.

The strategies that are being used to reach these goals are:

  • Utilizing and building local capacity through professional development for all the LEA's teachers.
  • Developing teacher leaders within the LEA's and regionalize their in-service.
  • Bringing expertise from higher education to the initiative.
  • Providing curriculum programs as a way to implement exemplary mathematics education.
  • Institutionalizing assessment, reflection and improvement as a regular part of teacher activities.

In the first 6 months (May-October, 1999) of the BEAMM project, a number of activities have taken place. During the first weeks following the announcement of the grant award, Betsy Berry, Project Director, and Francis Eberle, Principal Investigator, and Executive Director of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, visited each of the partner LEA sites to meet with administrators and staff about their needs and to communicate with them about the details of the project. An advisory board has been created that includes an administrator and classroom teacher from each LEA, all project Principal Investigators (PI's), all MMSA mathematics specialists and the project evaluators. This group will assist the director and the PI's to plan and implement the activities of the project. The board has met three times in May, August and October and will continue to meet four times a year.

Three LEAs, MSAD #60, Sanford, and Union #90 have selected and begun to implement standards based curriculum programs in their K-6 schools. Two ten-day summer institutes were held in June and July for the three districts beginning implementation of K-6 programs. The Everyday Mathematics program was presented to primary teachers from MSAD #60 and to intermediate teachers from Sanford. Union #90 teachers in grades K-5 received training in Investigations in Number, Data, and Space.

Three LEAs, MSAD #60, Union #90, and MSAD #34 have also selected Connected Mathematics as their 6-8 curriculum program. Two one-week summer institutes were held at or near two of these BEAMM sites to provide teacher training in CMP. Middle school teachers attended these workshops from other Maine districts in addition to BEAMM participants.

Four of the districts are implementing plans to select curriculum programs for implementation in their K-8 schools. Three curriculum showcases of different formats were held to assist districts as they make their selections. In Sanford, a one-day event was held that highlighted three elementary and three middle school programs. Teachers were then given the opportunity to review these materials for the month following the showcase. The staff was then polled to select the K-5 curriculum. In MSAD #63, a team of K-6 teachers attended a two-day showcase. Classroom teachers are now piloted activities and units from three curriculum programs during the 1999-2000 school year. In Union #96, the showcase was similar, but four days were spent exploring the programs. BEAMM teachers from MSAD #34, MSAD #63 and Union #106 have also attended other one-week professional development programs featuring standards-based curriculum programs that their districts will then consider adopting.

Leadership teams at each LEA have been created and these teams have planned in-service professional development plans for the 1999-2000 school year and have been submitted to the project director. These plans include activities providing follow-up to the summer programs, exploring assessment tools and strategies, continuing to analyze and consider curriculum programs, and reflecting on classroom instruction. (See section 3. Project Training/Development for more details.)

Communication within the BEAMM community and in the wider educational community is being addressed. A web page has been created and added to the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliances website featuring the BEAMM initiative and its activities. A newsletter has been designed and distributed to all BEAMM sites and will be published five times a year throughout the duration of the initiative. The project director presented at the annual conference of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Maine and submitted an article to its newsletter.