Annual Report Overviews
SUMS Annual Overview
California State University, Fullerton & Santa Ana Unified School District
End-of-Year 3 - Beginning of Year 4 Report November 18, 1999
The Students Using Mathematics Successfully (SUMS) Project will use the current California Mathematics Framework (1992) and National Council of Mathematics (NCTM) Curriculum and Evaluation Standards (1989), as models for the professional development of 1620 teachers, and 480 instructional assistants & administrators (Grades Pre K-9) from the Santa Ana Unified School District. The project will galvanize parents, teachers, support staff, administrators, and community advocates who expect quality education for students. Specifically, the goals of this project are to change:
Over a five year period, all teachers, instructional assistants, and administrators from pre-K to grade 9 (2100 participants) will participate in two years (100 hours) of staff development in mathematics content and pedagogy with emphasis on newly-adopted instructional materials and reform. Ongoing support of this instruction will include implementation of site-based Action Plans focusing on teacher discourse, reflection, and classroom observation and coaching, resulting in an additional 100 hours of participation. Parents, community and business partners will learn about reform as well as assist in the reform effort through site-based events and activities resulting in another 100 hours of participation. As part of the district's commitment to the project, two district-wide staff development days a year will be devoted to mathematics, involving all teachers, instructional assistants, and administrators.
Major Accomplishments and Lessons Learned
The project began in July of 1996, so at this point, the participants in Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 have completed their second year of 8 professional development sessions per year. Two of these sessions are the two district-wide staff development days involving all teachers and administrators in the district. The participants of Cohort 3 have completed their first year, and the participants of Cohort 4 have just begun their first year of professional development. Not all teachers completed all 12 sessions of the SUMS training, so we are also in the process of monitoring "make-up" sessions for those teachers who missed one or more sessions. This is done by advising teachers of a specific SUMS training session that will serve as a "make-up" for them.
As with any new project, it has been an interesting and energizing experience, made somewhat more challenging by a new state initiative to reduce class size in the primary grades. The initiative has resulted in a scarcity of classroom space and substitute teachers. As a result, we have not been able to process the numbers of teachers we planned for in the grant. It has also meant that there are more new teachers needing the professional development training. This does not mean that we will not be able to meet the goals of the grant, however, it probably will mean it will require 6 years, rather than 5 years to have all the teachers complete the SUMS professional development program. This expectation has been mentioned in an e-mail to the program officer, Joyce Evans.
In addition to class-size reduction, California has introduced a new Mathematics Framework and new Mathematics Content Standards in the past year. Both of these documents were introduced along with a new state testing program, called the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program. All of this change falls under the rubric of the California Standards-Based Accountability System and has been surrounded by much political turmoil and upheaval. Finally, in an attempt to increase the number of days of uninterrupted instructional time, the Legislature passed SB 1193, the Instructional Time and Staff Development Reform Program. This bill repealed older legislation that allowed professional development to be counted for average daily attendance (a.d.a.) reimbursement, thereby curtailing staff development days during the school year. This did not affect the SUMS Project operation during year 3 but will have an effect in year 4. At this time we plan to satisfy the requirement of the two district-wide staff development days being devoted to mathematics professional development by offering a SUMS conference on Saturday, February 5, 2000. However, although the district pays teachers if they attend, their attendance is voluntary. The second staff development day will be a site-based day and will take place at different times according to a site-based decision. The SUMS staff will provide assistance as will the SUMS Site Support Providers and Instructors. This change in the law and subsequent concern has been mentioned in e-mails to the program officer, Joyce Evans, and to Frances Fennel and Anna Suarez during a site visit in April 1999.
We have overcome some early space obstacles when we obtained two dedicated rooms for professional development. at one of the high schools (Valley HS). We have done a pretty good job of solving the substitute problem by hiring additional subs for SUMS. Unfortunately, several have taken full-time positions in the district, so this is an ongoing problem. To get a better handle on this problem for the fourth year, we have been working with the district Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources to build up the district's sub pool and we are using subs from this pool. The teachers now request the substitute when needed instead of having this done by the SUMS office staff because the process became too time consuming. This new procedure has worked out much better, freeing up the SUMS coordinators to focus on more important tasks, including writing the substitute teacher lesson plan (math units) and training the substitutes. We have also incorporated the new Mathematics Standards into the SUMS Professional Development curriculum, making connections to the Standards as appropriate. Similarly, the SUMS training has included information about the STAR Program, including making connections to the state standardized test, Stanford Achievement Test (Ninth Edition), or SAT-9, when appropriate.
SUMS year 3 results were improved over years 1 and 2 overall. This was a result of everyone learning from mistakes and making midcourse adjustments to improve the program. Whereas the professional development sessions for year 1 focused on the grade 4-5 teachers at the elementary level and grade 6 teachers at the middle school level, the Cohort 2 curriculum focused on the K-3 level teachers while stressing a professional development curriculum that spans the K-5 levels. This worked out a lot better. We did not have a new middle school cohort begin in year 2, instead, we have begun a Cohort 2 middle grade group (grades 7-8) in year 3. Also, Cohort 3 has many new teachers hired as part of the class-size reduction initiative. They are extra enthusiastic about receiving the professional development training. Cohort 4 also has many new teachers as well as administrators and some instructional assistants. In addition, we have offered a specially designed Pre-K professional development curriculum for 16 State Pre-School Teachers which has been very well received. Before SUMS, these teachers never received staff development in mathematics.
The curriculum for the sessions has been well planned by the instructional consultants who have in turn done a good job of preparing the seventeen teams of instructors to present the lessons to the participants. The instructors have done a good job of presenting the lessons overall, with definite improvements noted from year 1 and year 2 in terms of organization, presentation skills, etc. The work done by having each team do a self-reflection on team preparation, participation in the instructor training, trying the ideas in their classroom prior to the SUMS session presentation, organization of their instruction, effectiveness of presentation, sensitivity to the needs of the participants, pacing, mathematical understanding, and areas of weakness and room for improvement has paid off. We continue to have the instructional consultants and instructors reflect on their presentations. We have used these reflections to help instructors do a better job. In a couple of cases, we have replaced instructors who were not doing as good a job as is needed. Overall, the evaluations written by the participants at the end of year 2 were very encouraging as were the first evaluations at the end of Year 3. The evaluations for Cohort 3 teachers who have completed one year of professional development reflect well on the instructors and the professional development curriculum.
During year 3 the SUMS Professional Development curriculum was re-structured so that both returning and new cohort participants learn the same curriculum. This eliminated the problems associated with re-scheduling missed sessions. Thus, if we call the first 50 hours Curriculum A, and the second 50 hours Curriculum B, all participants in year 3 received Curriculum B. This was right for Cohort 2 since they were finishing up their 100 hours. Meanwhile, Cohort 3 received the same Curriculum B and will switch to Curriculum A in year 4. Also, in year 4, Cohort 4 will receive Curriculum A too and will receive Curriculum B in year 5. The plan is to have a new Cohort 5 begin Curriculum B then too.
SUMS has also developed a relationship with the office of the mayor, the mayor being a dignitary who helped launch the SUMS project with media coverage. The mayor also makes a presentation of the annual Santa Ana/CSU Fullerton Mathematics Scholarship each fall. In 1998 we published and distributed our first SUMS Business Leaders newsletter with the goal of increasing business/school partnerships. The response from this newsletter was not good. As a result, we have decided to make business partnerships a site responsibility, which pleases principals, and we monitor all business partnerships by checking bi-annually with site principals and publishing a list of these partnerships.
With respect to our current budget, we are working on our year 3 increment that officially ended on September 30, 1999. This is because we had requested and received a no-cost extension from January 1, 1998 to September 30, 1998 in order to get the grant timeline in synch with our professional development timeline. The original early award date of the grant of January 1, 1996 did not match up with our start date of July 30, 1996 and as a result, we always had unexpended funds in December because we were essentially less that half way through the project year. Also, because of the substitute problem mentioned above, we have not used the substitute teachers at the rate we originally anticipated and this too has meant that we have not expended the grant funds at the rate we originally planned. For this reason, I anticipate we will be requesting an no-cost extension to have a 6th year of the project, allowing us to serve a new cohort of approximately 350 teachers (Cohort 5) beginning in Year 5 and ending in Year 6. Our current balance for the year 3 budget is $87,097. With this report I am requesting our year 4 increment. The cost-share figures for 1998-99 as well as the cumulative cost-share figures are attached with this report.