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Annual Report Overviews


TAASC Annual Report Overview

published: 11/16/2000
posted to site: 11/16/2000
Local Systemic Change

Local Systemic Change

PI Annual Progress Report - Year 4

Teachers as Agents of Systemic Change (TAASC)


November 11, 2000

Jack Price Co- PI

Project Activities

Teachers as Agents of Systemic Change (TAASC) is a local systemic initiative that affects all of the grade 6 - 12 mathematics teachers in four urban, multicultural school districts near California State Polytechnic University Pomona (Cal Poly). The project, run through the Center for Education and Equity in Mathematics, Science, and Technology (CEEMaST) in the College of Science, makes use of identified mathematics teacher-leaders at each of the secondary school sites in the four districts to assist in the professional development of the target teachers in improving content knowledge and renewing pedagogical skills.

The fourth year began, following the third year summer institute, with a meeting of the District Advisory Committee (DAC). Plans for the school year were developed and professional development dates were set for the school districts. This included a five-day summer institute in place of the proposed two-day institute. Feedback from attendees had been so positive that arrangements were made to continue the same format.

Teacher-leaders from the 36 schools (sixth grade teachers from two newly formed academies in Hacienda-La Puente Unified School District were added) met five times during the school year for all-day professional development meetings which included mathematics content, pedagogical renewal, and leadership skills building. Every meeting began with a mathematics problem which could be extended through all of the grades 6 - 12. The October meeting concentrated on a mathematics activity and a case study related to the activity. This provided new mathematics exploration as well as an intense look into classroom interactions. The November meeting coincided with California Mathematics Council-Southern Section annual meeting in Palm Springs. More than 20 leaders attended and five of them served as presenters. The January meeting focused on the California State framework utilizing a jigsaw method of approaching understanding. The March meeting was presented by two of the teacher-leaders building on a simple volume/area relationship and expanding through finite differences. In May Nicholas Branca, professor of mathematics from San Diego State, explored cuts on squares beginning with simple halving and moving through convergent and divergent series. From scissors and paper came some of the most important aspects of higher mathematics.

At the request of the teacher-leaders, a special February meeting was held in which teachers at their school who had not previously attended a TAASC workshop or summer program would be released for the day to find "The Best of TAASC." This was an additional day of substitutes for the districts but they supported it and more than 50 new teachers attended the workshop. Taking "What’s My Rule" through calculus and other aspects of algebraic thinking made up the day.

As in the last year, two identical professional development days for principals and assistant principals were held so that administrators from the project schools could be kept aware of the progress of the project and how they might help facilitate the goals of TAASC in their own schools with their own faculty. Review of TIMSS results and the accompanying studies including videotapes were also used with the principals. In addition Math Nights for families were held at a number of schools with and without help of the project staff.

Although last year 133 target teachers attended the CEEMaST annual conference, this year only 73 did, nearly a 50% decrease. Part of the decline came from the largest school district which took a spring break during that week instead of the week previous as did the other districts. After school meetings were conducted by many of the teacher-leaders and school districts provided professional growth days for their faculty. These were led by project staff and/or by teacher-leaders of the district; but, while the number increased, they were not in as many schools as we had hoped.

Early in the winter, surveys were sent to the Teacher Advisory Committee (TAC) to help determine what courses should be taught in the five-day summer institute. Based on their feedback and the evaluation completed by the previous summer’s attendees, a set of 21 courses was submitted to the target teachers. They were to select five and be assigned to three. Approximately 120 registered for the summer. The seventeen courses in the final schedule ranged from Number Sense/Number Theory and Teaching with Manipulatives to Game Theory, Calculus with a Graphing Calculator and Logic and Proof. They were taught by project staff, mathematics faculty from Cal Poly Pomona, University of Northern Colorado, Cerritos College, and Cal State San Bernardino, the Los Angeles County mathematics consultant, and various teachers from surrounding districts. Evaluations were received from 94 of the 120 participants and 69 said they would be willing to come next year without a stipend (This was the last summer institute.). They were complimentary about the knowledge of mathematics and the ability to teach it of the instructors. All felt it was a valuable experience. Of the 120 who attended, 61 had been in all three summer institutes and nearly 200 target teachers have attended at least one.