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Annual Report Overviews


Students Using Mathematics Successfully (SUMS) Annual Overview

published: 12/07/2001
posted to site: 12/07/2001

Students Using Mathematics Successfully (SUMS) ESI-9552868
California State University, Fullerton & Santa Ana Unified School District
End-of-Year 5 - Beginning of Year 6 Report, November 15, 2001

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:

  • the classroom behavior of teachers and students as they do mathematics to reflect the reform efforts outlined by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).
  • teachers' attitudes and self-confidence in doing mathematics themselves and teaching mathematics.
  • schools' current parent involvement efforts in mathematics education to reflect reform thinking for parental involvement, including parents as resources in schools and in the community.
  • schools' current community/business partner involvement efforts in mathematics education to reflect reform thinking for community/business partner support.
  • students' abilities to do mathematics in ways reflected in the NCTM Standards and Addenda Series, e.g. investigations, problem solving.
  • the current district textbook series and help teachers successfully implement the newly selected state mathematics adoption, K-9.
  • teachers' expectations of mathematical achievement for minority students to reflect the reform philosophy that all students can do mathematics, including Limited English Proficient (LEP) students.
  • teachers' expectations of mathematical achievement for female students to reflect the Gender Equity Agenda that girls should be encouraged as much as boys.

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, Cohort 2, Cohort 3, and Cohort 5 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 5 have completed 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 or 7 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. The Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools contains the California Mathematics Content Standards and was published in late 1999. 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. As part of this system, students throughout the state take the Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition, (SAT-9) and the average percentile rankings are reported on the California Department of Education web site by county, district, then school. Schools are also given a score called their Academic Performance Index (API) and a suggested target score for increasing the API. The past three years have shown that the students in Santa Ana have made gains in math achievement and many administrators are convinced that it is because of the SUMS Project. We have no data to back that up however, because we do not have a controlled study and there are many other variables that influence math achievement in the district.

    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 did have an effect in year 4 and year 5. We were able 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, January 20, 2001 and a site-based day that varied by site. Although the district pays teachers if they attend, their attendance is voluntary. Still, the conference was a success with close to 1200 teachers and administrators attending. The program featured 112 sessions ranging from topics on the mathematics of graphs to integrating math and literature, math and art, or math and science. The second staff development day was a site-based day and took place at different times according to a site-based decision. The SUMS staff provided assistance as did 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 sixth year, we plan to offer SUMS sessions during teachers' off cycle times, paying them the sub pay to attend. 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.

    The new NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics document was published in April 2000 and we have folded information from that document into our professional development curriculum. In general, the professional development curriculum has been updated and refined with each cohort.

  • SUMS year 5 results were improved over years 1, 2, 3 and 4 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 and Cohort 3 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 began a Cohort 2 middle grade group (grades 7-8) in year 3 which completed training in year 4. Also, Cohort 3, Cohort 4 had many new teachers hired as part of the class-size reduction initiative. They are extra enthusiastic about receiving the professional development training. Cohort 5 also has many new teachers as well as administrators and some instructional assistants. In addition, we have continued to offer a specially designed Pre-K professional development curriculum for 15 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 3 were very encouraging as were the first evaluations at the end of Year 4 and Year 5. The evaluations for Cohort 4 teachers who have completed two years of professional development reflect well on the instructors and the professional development curriculum. The evaluations for Cohort 5 also are extremely positive and are consistent with past evaluations.

    During year 3 the SUMS Professional Development curriculum was re-structured so that both returning and new cohort participants learn the same curriculum. This was continued through year 4 and year 5. 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 received Curriculum A too and received Curriculum B in year 5. Cohort 5 completed Curriculum B and will complete Curriculum A in year 6. Because of a change of some personnel in the summer 2001 we are in the process of hiring new professional development coordinating and instructional staff and setting up professional development sessions to begin again in January 2002.

  • In year 1, SUMS formed an administrator advisory board made up of 12 principals or assistant principals, the director of staff development, the project coordinators and the PI. This group meets monthly to address issues related to SUMS operations, including, collecting surveys, teacher attendance at SUMS, principal attendance at SUMS, newsletter articles, reports of SUMS professional development sessions, etc. This board has been a valuable resource in terms of advice and heading off potential problems dealing with district protocol and continued to meet monthly during years 2 and 3. It continued to meet monthly during year 4 and year 5 but will not meet in year 6.
  • SUMS started its parent training component in January 1997. Teams of two parents and one teacher have attended from each school to receive leadership training in Family Math. This continued in years 2 and 3 and all schools have trained at least one team so far. We also tried a new approach, that of "pre-training" parents in order to get them ready to serve on a school leadership team. The SUMS coordinators offered an introductory Family Math course to parents and 1,100 responded. We were not able to serve all of them this year but will continue the program over the next three years. In order to do this, in year 4, we tried another format in order to better serve the schools. In this format we offered Family Math for parents at a central site in each of the four district cluster areas. This worked reasonably well and we feel that we have sufficient teams trained so that for year 5 the schools will be responsible for offering Family Math classes for parents at the school site.

    In 1999 we also began a special program called "April is Math Month" in which activity packets are sent home to parents. The packets are designed for grades K-1, 2-3, 4-5, and 6-8. Four activities, one for each week in April, are distributed to the students by the classroom teachers. This was offered again in April 2000 and again for 2001.

  • SUMS has initiated community/business partner involvement in several ways: 1) a partnership with AmeriCorps involving homework centers in schools and community centers; 2) a partnership with the Santa Ana Public Library to place children's literature books that integrate math in SUMS professional development libraries (the books are used in the SUMS professional development curriculum); 3) a partnership with Allergan Corporation, which has helped fund the district Math Field Day; and 4) a partnership with Santa Ana Networks, a consortium of CSU Fullerton, University of California, Irvine, Santa Ana College and Santa Ana Unified School District, that has helped support Math Clubs and Family Math. The AmeriCorps project did not seek re-funding so that partnership has been phased out. It was replaced by Santa Ana Networks, funded by the Ford Foundation, that has also supported homework centers and Saturday Math for middle school students and parents. Dr. Pagni is a member of the Networks Steering Committee.

    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.

  • The mathematics adoption for the district receives SUMS support through professional development. In year 4 we offered training sessions in July and September for school principals and their School Site Providers (SSPs) to develop a year-long action plan for helping teachers on site implement the mathematics curriculum. This continued in year 5.
  • In 1998 the district superintendent, Dr. Al Mijares, placed special emphasis on math and reading through his ATM (Above The Mean) program. Students will spend two periods on math in order to work on the basics as well as conceptual understanding. SUMS has been supportive of this effort and we have made connections to ATM in the professional development sessions.
  • California voters passed Proposition 227 in 1997 but it was implemented beginning July 1998. This law essentially does away with bilingual education. However, parents may opt to have their children in bilingual classes, but the request must come from parents. As a result, there are some bilingual classes offered, but for the most part teachers and principals are immersing children in English. SUMS continues to support the district's goals in this area. Professional development sessions promote effective math teaching strategies for reaching all students. We will probably cut back on the number of materials we translate into Spanish, but we will follow the district lead in this area.
  • SUMS began training a special cohort of pre-school teachers during years 2, 3, 4, 5 This will not continue in year 6. These teachers are responsible for the state pre-school program and receive a special curriculum related to the age of the child they teach. They will receive the same number of hours of training as the K-5 teachers.
  • SUMS has been supporting a Math Field Day for students of grades 4-8 since 1996. The annual Math Field Day in 2001 was attended by 432 students, 85 coaches, 20 volunteers, 10 district admnistrators, and 400 parents and family members. New questions were designed for the competition. Thirty elementary and all nine middle schools participated.
  • SUMS has been supporting math clubs at the elementary and middle school levels since since 1997. In 2001, 30 elementary and 10 middle schools sponsored a math club. A Math Club Handbook was designed and distributed to all Math Club Facilitators.
  • SUMS has been supporting a professional library at each K-8 site since 1996. A partnership with the Santa Ana Public Library has enabled us to purchase $6,000 worth of new literature books that integrate mathematics in 2000-01. During the year, new resource and literature books were also added to the library. At the end of the 2000-01 school year, each elementary school had 132 literature books and 80 teachers' resource books in the SUMS Professional Library. Each middle school had 38 literature books and 55 teachers' resource books, and the four State Pre-School classrooms had 85 total books.
  • SUMS has replaced its lead evaluator with the knowledge and approval of NSF program officer Joyce Evans. Dr. Evelyn Hawkins decided to resign her subcontract as the outside evaluator for personal reasons. She was replaced by Dr. Ruth VonBlum. Dr. VonBlum was Dr. Pagni's evaluator for a Eisenhower project that existed in the Santa Ana Unified School District between 1992 and 1996 called Secondary SAFEMAP. For this reason, she was a good choice because of her familiarity with the district. She has performed her duties well and, because she lives in the Los Angeles Area, she has been readily available for meetings and observations. This proved to be true for 2000-2001 as Ruth attended our SUMS annual retreat and was readily available to make school, professional development, and planning visitations.

    In addition, she has been working with other evaluators involved with LSC projects and as a result has been trained in the HRI Classroom Observation Protocol. It was a timely accident that she was finishing two other projects and was looking for a new project. Evelyn Hawkins, the evaluator who left, stayed on to transition Ruth Von Blum. Dr. VonBlum was assisted by Dr. Hawkins in preparing the SUMS Core Evaluation Report for 1998. In 2000 and this year, Dr. Von Blum has been solely responsible for preparing the SUMS Core Evaluation Report. She also completed a case study of two schools in the district, one elementary and one middle school. The case study was supported partially by Horizon Research as an activity that supplemented the core evaluation. Dr. VonBlum also produced a report of the case study.

With respect to our current budget, we are working on our year 4 increment that officially ended on September 30, 2000. This is because we had requested and received a no-cost extension from April 1, 2001 to March 31, 2002. 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 7th year of the project, allowing us to serve a new cohort of approximately 100 teachers (Cohort 6) beginning in Year 6 and ending in Year 7. We will also be trying to help Cohort 5 and previous cohort participants to "make up" sessions missed. Our current balance for the year 4 budget is $917,890. As per my conversations and e-mails with Joyce Evans from March 2001, I am not requesting the Year 5 increment until we have expended most of this funding. The cost-share figures for 2000-2001 as well as the cumulative cost-share figures are attached with this report.