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Annual Report Overviews


UIC All Learn Mathematics Annual Overview

submitter: UIC-ALL Learn Mathematics
published: 01/20/2000
posted to site: 01/21/2000
The University of Illinois at Chicago-All Learn Mathematics project (UIC-ALM) established partnerships with thirty-nine Chicago public schools in a school-university initiative to improve the teaching of mathematics in grades four through nine.

UIC-ALM's two-year comprehensive staff development program for 600 teachers includes in-school follow-up support, classroom implementation of Standards-based curricula, development of teacher leadership within schools, and math-related programs for families and students.

UIC-ALM has established the following goals:

  • improve the teaching and learning of mathematics;
  • assist teachers with the implementation of Standards-based lessons;
  • deepen teacher content knowledge in mathematics;
  • assist schools in the development of a positive mathematics culture;
  • help schools to develop teacher leadership committees to take responsibility for sustaining improvement;
  • promote broad-based community understanding and support for mathematics improvement.

UIC-ALM emphasizes assisting students in developing problem-solving skills; focusing on the way children construct their own mathematical ideas; expanding the role of technology; and using authentic assessments as an integral part of the instructional process.

UIC-ALM has made significant progress in improving mathematics teaching and achievement in a variety of Chicago public schools including schools from the most troubled neighborhoods that serve the students from the Robert Taylor Homes, Dearborn Homes, Cabrini Green and the community of Englewood.

Four components of the program have been essential to UIC-ALM's success. First, UIC-ALM teachers did not have a clear picture of Standards-based instruction even after attending initial staff development sessions. Many argued Standards-based instruction would not be effective in an urban setting. UIC-ALM combats this resistance by using a Principal Investigator and project staff to model Standards-based lessons for teachers. Participants evaluate and then discuss the lessons with project staff. To make expectations clear, administrators and parents have also been invited to observe these lessons. Second, project staff provide UIC-ALM teachers with 20 hours of staff development in their classrooms each year. Each staff member spends one full day in each school every week. The UIC-ALM staff members have become "insiders" at the participating schools due to their hard work, dedication, and professionalism. They have each established a collegial relationship with administrators and teachers in each school. The trust that has been established has created a line of communication between the teachers and the project. Teachers become comfortable seeking advice and looking for resources from the "insider." Over the course of the first and second years, a transition from observing to co-teaching to teaching Standards-based lessons occurs. This component has enabled UIC-ALM to again show that Standards-based instruction does work in an urban setting. Third, all of the teachers are attending the professional development because the participating schools have made it a priority. The participating teachers are released by substitute teachers to attend workshops during the school day. Teachers were also given the opportunity to suggest staff development topics based on the needs of individual schools. Fourth, with a transition from traditional lecture to more-interactive instruction, teachers faced the need to develop a new style of classroom management. To assist teachers in this regard, UIC-ALM has created a classroom management component. In this workshop, teachers discuss organization of materials, management of tools and manipulatives, motivation of students, and changing the role of teacher from sole authority to facilitator of group learning. Additionally, teachers discuss these topics within other staff development sessions and with the project staff assigned to the school.

The National Advisory Panel of the National Staff Development Council's Results-Based Staff Development for the Middle Grades has reviewed UIC-All Learn Mathematics. UIC-ALM has met the stringent criteria for inclusion in the project's publication as an example of a staff development program that increases student achievement.