Annual Report Overviews
Austin Annual Overview
Year 2 Progress Report
Austin Independent School District
ACME target population is the Austin Independent School District that serves 77,000 students, approximately 55,000 of whom are of elementary and middle school age. The project currently works directly with 71 elementary and 17 middle schools. The district serves a racially and ethnically diverse student population. Forty-three percent of the students are Hispanic, 37% are Anglo, 18% are African American, 2% are Asian, Pacific Islander, or Native American. Among the students, 13% have limited English proficiency and 50% qualify for free or reduced lunch through federal funds. The mathematics achievement of these diverse populations varies widely. Although in recent years the percentage of students who pass the mathematics segment of Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) has increased, African American, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students consistently perform below the average for all students.
The major goal of the project is to raise mathematics achievement of all students in the district by implementing a rigorous, standards based curriculum in every school. The district recognizes the need to provide students with the understanding, reasoning, and communication skills that move mathematics beyond computation. Knowing that schools hold a key to student success, ACME provides continuous professional development in standards based curriculum and instruction for teachers and administrators. As educators develop their knowledge and skills as mathematics instructors, ACME also seeks to build a community of learners among school faculty that ensures continuous professional growth beyond the initiative.
Specific activities of ACME include:
Through ACME, every K-8 mathematics teacher in the district participates in a minimum of 120 hours of formal professional development. The intent of professional development is to (1) build sound and proven practice in mathematics instruction, (2) ensure consistent implementation of quality mathematics curriculum and, (3) provide on-going support for teachers and administrators to implement standards based curriculum and instruction.
ACME professional development was designed to address the specific needs of Austin ISD while ensuring quality implementation of state and national mathematics standards. Although individual sessions are modified according to the needs of participants, the typical ACME professional development sequence consists of five professional development phases with major components of standards based curriculum and instruction addressed in each phase.
The sequence of professional development enhances teachers knowledge of content, pedagogy, curriculum and assessment, and develops a community of learners that understand and support implementation of national education standards.
The ACME project began in the fall of 1997 with professional development training for 5th and 6th grade teachers. Fourth and 7th grade teachers were added to the project in the summer of 1998. Summer Institutes for all second, third, and eighth grade teachers began in 1999. Because of a 1999 district adoption of standards based curriculum resources, Investigations in Number, Data, and Space, kindergarten and first grade teachers were given the option of joining ACME in the fall of 1999 rather than waiting until the summer of 2000 to begin their sequence of professional development. Well over half of kindergarten and first grade teachers opted to begin with the fall training.
In support of the professional development model, ACME also provides a comprehensive approach to district mathematics reform through planned activities for district administrators, campus principals, teacher leaders, curriculum specialists, and parents/ community members. As a district initiative, ACME is developing a broad base of advocates and active supporters of reform in school mathematics.