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Partnerships for (Systemic)Reform to Improve Mathematics Education(PRIME) Annual Overview

published: 12/21/2000
posted to site: 12/21/2000
Partnerships for (Systemic)Reform to Improve Mathematics Education

Partnerships for (Systemic)Reform to Improve Mathematics Education

Oxnard School District and the University of California Santa Barbara

Annual Report Overview :September 1,1999 – August 31,,2000

The Partnerships for (Systemic)Reform to Improve Mathematics Education (PRIME) was a K-8 systemic change project designed to involve all segments of the Oxnard school community (teachers,students,parents,and administrators)in a district where 88%of the 12,876 student population are students of color,74%receive free or reduced lunch,and 46%are limited English proficient.As the project completes its fourth and final year,the Oxnard School District(OSD),with the support of the Tri-County Mathematics Project (TCMP)at the University of California at Santa Barbara,has collaborated to implement the PRIME project with 587 teachers in the 17 schools of this K-8 district.

The goal of Project PRIME was to establish a sustainable process of systemic change that resulted in classrooms where all students are engaged and are mathematically powerful.The professional development program for teacher leaders and teachers supported the improvement of mathematics teaching and learning through:increasing mathematics knowledge,changing mathematics pedagogy and assessment methods,understanding of equity issues and acting on these understandings,and developing partnerships with families.Administrators also learned how to support teachers in the change effort and new ways of evaluating classroom teaching. Parents learned how to take leadership with other parents in supporting mathematics reform as well as how to support their children ’s mathematics learning.

Key activities that were conducted in the fourth year of the project included:

• Eight four--day Mathematics Professional Development Institutes provided for teachers during their off-track time (the district operates on a five-track,year-round calendar);

• 38 Site--Based Professional Development Days conducted by teacher leaders;

• Two five--day Mathematics Education Institutes for teachers recently hired by the district that incorporated the use of the reform curriculum and an introduction to PRIME and its goals;

• A three--day Leadership Workshop and three full-day seminars for Site Facilitators (teacher leaders);

• Four half--day seminars for the PRIME Administrator Academy that provided professional development and collaboration with site principals,district administrators,and project leaders;

• A two--day retreat (in conjunction with the Site Facilitator Leadership Workshop)and four Saturday or evening leadership seminars for PRIME Parent Leaders;

• 38 Family Math Partnership Evenings planned and conducted by 74 teachers and 13 parent leaders,with approximately 1,300 parents participating;

• A School Portfolio Group comprised of two school teams that carried out documentation of mathematics reform at their school through the development of school portfolios;

• A Teacher Inquiry program where six teachers took part in designing teacher research projects investigating mathematics education reform and student learning in their classrooms.Key accomplishments this year included:

• Leadership development of OSD teacher leaders during the project that resulted in many of the Site Facilitators taking full responsibility (working in teams)for planning and conducting the four-day mathematics professional development institutes.This model has been incorporated in the district

’s mathematics professional development for the 2000-01 academic year.

• Leadership development of parent leaders that enabled an increasing number of parents to plan and conduct (in collaboration with teachers)Family Math Partnership Evenings and to work with other parents to share ways of supporting children

’s mathematics learning.

• Institutionalization of New Teacher Institutes focused on mathematics education reform curriculum and pedagogy to support the large numbers of new teachers that have been entering the district due to the California class size reduction policy.

• Development of and successful piloting of unit--based study groups (described below).This model has also been incorporated in the district

’s mathematics professional development for the 2000-01 academic year.

• Growth in teachers''mathematical content and pedagogical knowledge and abilities to teach using reform mathematics pedagogies that was evidenced in steady growth in higher overall ratings of classroom observations, principals'reports in questionnaires,and teachers'self-reports in questionnaires

• Growth in students''problem-solving skills,as evidenced by the state standardized tests (SAT 9)and teachers'reports in annual open-ended questionnaires

Over the four years of this project,a number of innovative professional development models were used: (a)new teacher institutes and follow-up meetings;(b)four-and five-day institutes for all teachers led by teacher leaders with the assistance of Project Leaders and university faculty;(c)math for teachers courses led by Project Leaders and university faculty;(d) performance assessment workshops in which teachers examined student work;(e)unit-based study groups held over a 5-6 week period in which teachers at one grade level gathered to examine mathematical content,instructional strategies,and student work for one complete curriculum unit and were supported by Project Leaders and university faculty;(f)administrator academies focused on supporting teachers,students and families in mathematics education reform;(g)parent leadership seminars;(h)Family Math Partnership evenings;and (i)joint sessions for parent leaders,teacher leaders and administrators.Professional development observations over the four years indicated a consistently high quality level ranging from 4 to 5 on a 5-point scale.

Another significant component of the professional development for all constituents (teacher leaders,teachers,administrators and parents) was a focus on equity issues in mathematics education and how to support mathematics learning for the majority students-of-color and English language learner population in the Oxnard School District.