posted to site:
MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE ENHANCEMENT (MASE)
K-5 USING TECHNOLOGY
Annual Progress Report,
September 1, 2000 - August 30, 2001
Linda Gregg, Leanne Fernald, Lori Fulton
II. ACTIVITIES AND FINDINGS
1. ANNUAL OVERVIEW AND PROJECT DESCRIPTION
The MASE K-5 Using Technology project is designed to deepen K-5 science, mathematics, and technology (SMT) education reform in the Clark County School District CCSD, Las Vegas, Nevada. By building upon and extending the work of the Mathematics and Science Enhancement (MASE) II program, this project utilizes the expert leadership capacities developed to date and lessons learned over the past six years. This project also extends the earlier work of MASE to additional K-5 teachers and administrators -- a natural next step and critical component in helping improve the teaching and learning of SMT and thereby extending reform to the next level. As the name 'MASE K-5 Using Technology' suggests, the goal is to develop a symbiotic relationship of SMT where students and teachers will be provided regular access, knowledge, skills, and confidence to maximize the use of instructional technology as tools to advance learning. Technology includes instructional technology, design technology, and tools.
Using tested and successful professional development designs and school development programs, MASE programs will be extended to schools and teachers not directly participating in the present LSC. The strongest MASE schools and teachers will establish K-5 Collaborative Learning Center (CLC) Schools in each geographic region of the district. MASE leaders at CLC Schools will be the pacesetters and exemplars who will guide implementation of science and mathematics frameworks and syllabi, which are based on state and national standards. CLC Schools will pair with new project schools and advance their own practice as they facilitate reform in their partner schools as well as in other schools in their region.
MASE K-5 Using Technology is designed as an inquiry into teaching and learning at every level of the project. MASE teachers and administrators will examine the status of teaching, learning, and assessment in relation to state and national science, mathematics, and technology (SMT) standards, strengths needed for their student populations, and current research on pedagogy. MASE participants will:
- 'do' science and mathematics, integrating instructional technology to learn content in standards-based settings.
- team with experts and colleagues to examine teaching and supervision practices.
- make and test conjectures and share case stories as they justify and reshape their teaching approaches through an inquiry into their own teaching and learning.
- examine student thinking and understandings as they enhance their capacity as experts.
MASE staff and lead teachers will use the same inquiry processes to design, implement, evaluate, and study professional development in the CCSD context.
In five years, MASE K-5 Using Technology will demonstrate results that include:
- content-rich, balanced, standards-based science and mathematics program models, K-5.
- six K-5 exemplary SMT Collaborative Learning Center Schools.
- 12 new K-5 MASE schools.
- additional expert lead teachers and administrators with greater depths of knowledge.
- instructional technology infused seamlessly into the curriculum.
- balanced assessment K-5 for science and mathematics.
- improved learning and achievement by all students.
- project design that uses mobility as a strength.
Scientists, educators, CCSD divisions, the CCSD Public Education Foundation, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), and community and national partnerships support the project. Working closely with our project evaluators, this project will serve as a research effort as well as an implementation effort, and thereby contribute to the broader field of knowledge related to the challenges of implementing change in a large, rapidly growing urban district.
MASE K-5 Using Technology uses a 'multiple strategies' approach to professional development and addresses the needs of novice to experienced teachers, teacher leaders, and administrators in small and large group sessions. During the baseline year of the project, March 2000 through August, 2001, project Principal Investigators, MASE staff, and CLC administrators conducted monthly meetings to shape CLC school roles and finalize project plans. School Leadership Teams were defined for CLC School areas of study, and teams were selected and included in planning for full implementation beginning in September 2000 when the 2000/01 school year began. MASE Partner schools were enrolled in August 2001 for a total of 22 MASE SMT project schools.
Baseline Year Activities and Accomplishments
Major accomplishments during the baseline year include, and are not limited to, successfully...
2. PROJECT FINDINGS
- articulating a vision and the methods to implement balanced, effective SMT instruction and learning at Collaborative Learning Center (CLC) Schools.
- building K-2 and 3-5 community and mathematics assessment leadership teams at CLC schools.
- increasing the number of knowledgeable Mathematics Assessment Resource Services (MARS) teacher leaders and implementing MARS and Mathematics Assessment for Primary Students (MAPS) assessment.
- increasing site-based support and the professional development component of MASE professional development.
- increasing the professional development focus on student thinking and learning, and teaching teachers content through student assessment.
- implementing professional development sessions focused on science and literacy that highlight oral and written communication and reading authentically embedded in challenging scientific inquiry.
- increasing collaboration with the UNLV Curriculum and Instruction Department and the CCSD Regional Professional Development Program (RPDP) staff.
- designing the four-year plan for MASE Using Technology CLC and Partner Schools to be implemented beginning in September 2001.
- designing and field-testing new professional development offerings to meet the specific needs of MASE CLC and Partner Schools, Looking at Student Work and Science content courses for teachers and teacher leaders, and Lenses on Learning for administrators.
- enrolling 17 MASE Partner Schools in August 2001.
WHAT ARE THE LESSONS LEARNED AS A RESULT OF PROJECT ACTIVITIES?
- Teacher knowledge of the nature and content of the discipline is evident when identifying attributes of expert teachers.
- Teachers do not automatically apply knowledge learned in content specific professional development. We are identifying an urgent need to make explicit connections and applications of content knowledge to standards-based materials and classroom practice (e.g., how content knowledge can inform question structure and timing, and when and how to use new knowledge of scientific vocabulary to maximize learning).
- Contextual factors (e.g., anticipation of district reorganization and change, and the era of accountability) can distract teachers and administrators, resulting in a slow-down of planned participation in professional development.
- High transience within a district system with more schools than can be included in the LSC project dilutes capacity within LSC project schools and at the same time extends the project strategies, content, and philosophy to schools outside the LSC project and throughout the district.
- As projects are scaled up, the communication system needs to be increasingly sophisticated with the ability to timely and effectively reach each participant. Every level of distribution increases the likelihood that the teacher will not be informed of professional development opportunities and lessens the capability of tracking hours of professional development participation.
- The teacher leadership development process needs to be institutionalized with secure funding and with identified consistent components to ensure a stable qualified cadre of teacher leaders within schools and the district.
- Multiple focuses defuse the impact of all improvement plans when participants are unable to identify common aspects of all programs.
- The MASE TOSA staff of four is too small to provide the traditional one-to-one coaching of teachers and teacher leaders as well as provide all other project offerings.
- There is a need for consistent, district-wide professional development for administrators related to standards-based teaching and learning, and current learning research.
3. TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
WHAT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES ARE PROVIDED BY YOUR PROJECT?
MASE K-5 Using Technology professional development is designed to model standards-based inquiry and seamlessly integrate technology with science and mathematics. Project design is grounded in current research and our basic assumptions about learning. Sessions are designed to meet participant needs while challenging their thinking. MASE K-5 Using Technology staff recognizes the need to provide standards-based learning opportunities for large numbers of teachers and administrators with a wide range of experience and expertise. Therefore, the design for MASE K-5 Using Technology offers a 'multiple strategies' approach to professional development including and not limited to:
- curriculum implementation
- workshops, institutes, courses and seminars
- laboratory lessons
- looking at student work
- one-to-many mentoring
- partnerships with science experts
- developing professional developers
MASE K-5 Using Technology professional development emphasizes site-specific sessions where TOSAs and teachers work with children and student work to apply lessons learned in workshops, institutes, courses and seminars. As per project design, CLC schools serve as regional centers for dialogue around issues of improving mathematics and science teaching and learning. CLC school classrooms will be a resource to the new MASE Partner schools, as well as for other region schools in future years.
Each MASE project school completes a four-year plan that is based on the project guidelines outlined on the MASE Mathematics/Science Inquiry into Teaching and Learning planning frame (uploaded as a separate document). During the 2001/02 and 2002/03 school years, the majority of teachers will focus on Structured Use Workshops, implementing Investigations and FOSS programs, classroom demonstration lessons and looking at student work. Teachers with more experience will form four school leadership teams: School Culture, K-5 FOSS Assessment, K-2 Mathematics Assessment, and 3-5 Mathematics Assessment.
During 2002/03, the School Culture and Learning Teams will focus on sustainability plans, establishing systems to be implemented during the 2003/04 school year to provide school-based professional development for teachers new to Investigations and FOSS. The majority of MASE professional development for teachers during 2003/04 to 2004/05 will be focused on mathematics and science content courses for teachers. The goal is to move teachers from novice to expert mathematics and science teachers.
WHAT ARE THE KEY COMPONENTS OF THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN?
The MASE professional development key components include:
- Human Resources
- Planning, Implementation, Feedback, and Refinement
- Leadership Development
- Administrator Development
- Scientist/Community Development
- Professional Development Offerings
Professional Development Curriculum
MASE professional development provides the opportunity for teachers and administrators to participate in high-quality and innovative learning opportunities. The MASE staff designs and implements nationally recognized models of classroom-based professional development and also implements professional development curriculum designed by national experts in the field.
TOSAs and Teacher Leaders train at national leadership institutes and are qualified to facilitate the following sessions:
- Mathematical Resources Services (MARS) Assessment Workshop (MI State)
- Developing Mathematical Ideas, DMI (Education Development Center)
- Bridges to the Mathematics Classroom (TERC)
- Force and Motion (Caltech Precollege Science Initiative, CAPSI)
- Entomology (TEAM 2000/Hands on Learning, Inc.)
- Geology (TEAM 2000/Hands on Learning, Inc.)
- Lenses On Learning (EDC sessions for administrators)
Lenses On Learning (LOL) is designed by the Education Development Center (EDC). Administrators learn to support teachers implementing standards-based teaching and learning using collegial supervision strategies practiced by LOL participants. They also solve mathematical problems and dialogue around issues of access, typically underserved learners, and teacher and administrator knowledge of content and pedagogy.
One MASE teacher leader is currently facilitating field-testing of the City College Design Technology professional development curriculum for students and teachers after previously field-testing the Design Technology curriculum for students. Ten teachers will ultimately participate in this professional development project.
WHAT ARE THE PROJECT STRATEGIES FOR DEEPENING TEACHER CONTENT KNOWLEDGE?
Opportunities for teachers to deepen their content knowledge begins in Structured Use Workshops by helping teachers understand the underlying mathematics and science content in each Investigations unit and FOSS module and continues through content focused sessions. (Please refer to the MASE K-5 Using Technology Professional Development Course Offerings for Teachers chart.) MASE K-5 Using Technology utilizes nationally-developed professional development curriculum to enhance teachers' science and mathematics content knowledge. Instructional strategies model effective instructional practices, creating a vision of standards-based teaching and learning practice that teachers are expected to emulate.
OFFERING: Entomology, 18 hours - NEW
OFFERING: Bring the Nevada Science Standards to "Life", 30 hours
OFFERING: Rocks Talk! - Geology, 18 hours - FIELD-TESTING IN PROGRESS
OFFERING: Force and Motion, 18 hours
OFFERING: Inquiry into Liquids, 12 hours
OFFERING: Inquiry into Matter, 12 hours
OFFERING: Geometry Content and Application to Investigations, 18 hours - NEW
WHAT ARE THE PROJECT STRATEGIES FOR DEEPENING TEACHER UNDERSTANDING OF EFFECTIVE PEDAGOGY AND ASSESSMENT THAT PROMOTES STUDENT LEARNING?
Every MASE session is designed to model effective pedagogy and focus on student thinking and learning. Teachers are asked to examine their classroom practice, in light of current research on teaching and learning, to ensure they are providing access for all students to rigorous mathematics and science learning experiences. Participants reflect on the session and examine implications for their instructional practice. This process begins in the Structured Use Workshops and is the major focus of MASE classroom-based sessions and Looking At Student Work sessions.
OFFERING: Looking at Student Work (LASW), 6 hours per year - NEW
OFFERING: MARS Performance Assessment Workshops, 24 hours
OFFERING: Science Assessment - DEVELOPMENT AND FIELD-TESTING IN PROGRESS
OFFERING: Science as a Context for Literacy, 6-18 hours
OFFERING: Life Science and Technology, 6 hours
OFFERING: Geometry and Technology, 3 hours
OFFERING: Data and Technology Applications (DATA), 3 hours
OFFERING: Inquiry into Technological Design, 18 hours
HOW DO YOU HELP TEACHERS BECOME CONVERSANT WITH THE INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS DESIGNATED FOR CLASSROOM USE?
Structured Use Workshops are designed to help teachers implement district-adopted Full Option Science System (FOSS), and/or Investigations in Number, Data, and Space, the project-designated instructional materials. The main purpose of the sessions is to become conversant with the instructional materials so that teachers can confidently implement the modules/units in the classroom. The Structured Use Workshops are thoughtfully designed to illuminate important content ideas, program philosophy, pedagogical content, processes, and how children learn. The sessions are followed by site-based professional development (classroom demonstration lessons and/or LASW) so that teachers receive support throughout the implementation process.
OFFERING: Structured Use Workshops: FOSS, 18-24 hours; Investigations in Number, Data, and Space, 30-36 hours.
WHAT ARE THE PROJECT STRATEGIES FOR SUPPORTING TEACHERS AS THEY IMPLEMENT THE MATERIALS IN THEIR CLASSROOMS?
MASE teachers first attend Structured Use Workshops where they perform the activities, learning the science and mathematics content that is the focus of each lesson. They study the program philosophy, pedagogy, and assessment. In Investigations, MASE teachers also study examples of student responses. Mathematics workshop series are arranged over time so that teachers are able to implement the lessons with students and return to the session for further assistance and to learn about the next unit. All sessions focus on content, how children learn, effective pedagogy/instructional practice, and assessment. Classroom and site-based sessions, looking at student work (LASW), and laboratory lessons further support teachers as they implement the materials. These sessions also move teachers toward insightful use, thereby supporting implementation. There are the school 'walk-throughs' where TOSAs visit a project school, meet with the administrator, and walk the building to visit classrooms, observe lessons, and provide informal feedback to teachers and the administrator. Due to the ratio of TOSAs to teachers, MASE implements a one-to-many coaching model. The principals' knowledge of inquiry teaching and learning, and the expectations they communicate influence the degree and quality of implementation of curriculum resources. Therefore, professional development for administrators is a critical component in support of teachers as they implement standards-based teaching, learning and curriculum resources in their classrooms.
MASE TOSAs continue to be the major source of expert support for site-based and classroom-based sessions with teachers, as they implement FOSS and Investigations in their classrooms. The goal is to assign a resource team including one science and one mathematics TOSA, and two teacher leaders to each MASE school in order to strengthen the site-based support of standards-based materials, in this case for Investigations in Number, Data, and Space and Full Option Science System (FOSS).
OFFERING: Demonstration/Laboratory Lessons
WHAT STRATEGIES DO YOU USE TO DEVELOP LEADERS?
Expert leadership is key to sustaining the high quality of professional development in the MASE project. Consultants, TOSAs, and the core Teacher Leadership cadres from MASE II provide experienced leadership for the MASE K-5 Using Technology project.
The MASE K-5 Using Technology project will develop leadership roles at every level of the project.
- Teachers on special assignment (TOSAs)
- Classroom teachers
- School team leaders
- Region teacher leaders
- District teacher leaders
- Principals and assistant principals
MASE leaders have the following roles:
- Vision builders
- Designers - Planners
- (Self) Assessors - Evaluators
Administrators are critical to the successful implementation of FOSS and Investigations. The MASE staff implements professional development to support them in their roles as instructional leaders. Administrators lead study groups and workshops for other administrators. Workshops are designed for open dialogue about real issues surrounding reform. The goal is for administrators to develop a learning community in order to deepen their understanding of standards-based teaching, learning, supervision, and problem solving. Topics discussed include, but are not limited to, selection and replenishment of materials, teacher and administrator content and pedagogical knowledge, creating a learning community, and sustainability. Using the Horizon protocol, administrators view videos, and/or visit classroom lessons and discuss the implications for meaningful interactions with teachers to promote insightful use of instructional materials, informed decision-making, student learning, and achievement on all forms of assessment. They participate in readings and dialogue groups and share what is working and problem solve together.
WHAT IS THE EXTENT OF TEACHER INVOLVEMENT IN MASE?
Teachers become increasingly involved in planning each year of the project. All teachers are involved in the decision-making process regarding whether to become a MASE project school. Each year TOSAs meet with the school planning team for mathematics and science to collect feedback and design site-based project work to match the students and teachers. The four-year MASE K-5 Using Technology Plan creates a framework for the school planning sessions, as individual teachers select courses based on their needs for specific content knowledge.
During the baseline year, 303 teachers at 8 schools participated in MASE K-5 Using Technology professional development. Teachers participated in a total of 8,736 MASE professional development hours from September 1, 2000 to August 31, 2001.
WHAT IS THE DEGREE OF CLASSROOM AND SCHOOL IMPLEMENTATION?
MASE K-5 CLC Schools were chosen from exemplary MASE II schools and are therefore actively implementing either FOSS or Investigations in Number, Data, and Space. During the baseline year, CLC teachers from mathematics schools participated in FOSS and teachers from science schools participated in Investigations Structured Use Workshop sessions to implement the new content to their school. The degree of classroom and school implementation in MASE Partner Schools is not yet evident at this early stage of participation. All schools set a (floor minimum number of units/modules) to implement each year of the project. There is no ceiling; teachers may always implement more than the minimum number of units/modules. Ultimately, the goal is to effectively implement all units/modules for each grade.
There is a range of degree and quality of implementation evident in the schools as observed by TOSAs and reported by administrators and project evaluators. Due to current emphasis on accountability as determined by norm-referenced tests, many teachers use a textbook or other resources to add practice to Investigations in Number, Data, and Space. Generally, we find that teachers in schools with the most years of MASE professional development have the greatest confidence in the materials and principals observe higher degrees of implementation by teachers who have accumulated higher hours of professional development and/or those with the most success using FOSS and/or Investigations.
WHAT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES ARE AVAILABLE FOR NON-TEACHERS?
MASE K-5 Using Technology continues to provide professional development for science experts, UNLV science students, and informal educators. Science experts are recruited locally and attend a half-day orientation before teaming with a teacher leader in the FOSS Structured Use Workshops. The orientation introduces the science expert to the national Science Education Standards and Nevada Science Content Standards, an overview of how children learn, and MASE goals for all students. Science experts continue their professional development as they participate in Structured Use Workshops and classroom visits. Science experts who are qualified and willing will advance to team-teaching content courses such as Geology - Rocks Talk and Force and Motion with TOSAs and teacher leaders, adding rigor to MASE content and FOSS offerings.
UNLV students are paired with teachers in selected schools to assist with the science lesson in the classroom. Their initial professional development with the MASE TOSA is similar to the one science experts attend. A university professor then continues to work with them throughout the term as they assist in the classroom.
Informal science educators meet bi-monthly with a MASE TOSA and classroom teachers for a combination business-professional development meeting. They have the opportunity for in-depth work on scientific inquiry, standards, how children learn, and questioning strategies. Half-day sessions are offered twice a year to informal education staff and volunteers who lead educational tours.
WHAT ARE YOUR REFLECTIONS ON THE BASELINE YEAR?
The baseline year of MASE K-5 Using Technology was a foundation building year. In collaboration with CLC schools planning teams, teachers, and administrators, the MASE staff examined the strengths of MASE II and the areas needing improvement. Decisions were made to increase emphasis on site-based components, assessment of student thinking and learning, and community building to support data-driven decision-making that will lead to the research component of MASE K-5 Using Technology.
From March through August 2000, MASE staff and CLC School principals planned to shape implementation of the project with technical assistance from project evaluators. They articulated the project goals for Collaborative Learning Center (CLC) Schools and steps to accomplish these goals. Professional development was organized to move CLC Schools toward project goals. Beginning in September 2000, MASE CLC teachers participated in Structured Use Workshops, and FOSS or Investigations to become Science, Mathematics, and Technology (SMT) schools. They also participated in field-testing site-based sessions for courses specific to the new project such as Science as a Context for Literacy and Looking at Student Work (LASW).
District reorganization definitely impacted and slowed the timeline for MASE implementation. There was and continues to be a necessity to build communication and understanding with new Region administrators to strengthen advocacy for the goals and potential of MASE to build its capacity within each region, providing access for all students to challenging content, and thereby improving student learning in SMT. The MASE focus on research and data-driven decision-making supports MASE as an inquiry into teaching and learning, with teachers and administrators asking questions and pursuing evidence to use to make informed decisions. This component also supports the district movement toward data-driven decision-making.
The project efforts to balance sessions that teachers attend outside the school and site-based sessions strengthens the support provided for teachers as they make standards-based teaching and learning a reality. The work is with students, teachers, TOSAs, and teacher leaders working together and meeting to reflect on issues of implementation and student thinking and learning.
Feedback from teachers and administrators continues to indicate the importance of Structured Use Workshops for FOSS and Investigations, MARS assessment sessions, and Looking at Student Work (LASW) to advance novice teachers toward becoming expert teachers.
MARS assessment proved to be a vehicle for enhancing teacher content knowledge as well as a means to focus teacher attention on student thinking, the quality of implementation of curriculum, and best practices. LASW also focuses teachers on student thinking and opens minds to fair testing of new strategies to improve student learning. LASW allows TOSAs to work rigorously with all teachers at a school over a two-day period in two-hour blocks for a minimum of three times a year, which leads to other requests for assistance from teachers. Based on feedback from the field and project evaluators, MASE II shaped the four-year plan for MASE K-5 Using Technology.
In collaboration with MASE administrators and teachers, the MASE staff defined and articulated the goals for MASE K-5 Using Technology, designed and field-tested new professional development technologies, and constructed the four-year plan to provide a generative structure for decision-making and implementation of MASE K-5 Using Technology.
As documented in the Core Evaluation Report, MASE faces multiple contextual challenges such as the continual growth of the district, mobility of teachers and administrators within the district, the political climate, and communication with teachers and administrators. In response, MASE will continue to implement a balanced approach to teaching and learning, and maintain the focus on a student-centered approach to professional development and increased data collection and reporting on student learning as described in Section Five of this report. Efforts to improve communication are being examined and the technology to support a more effective communication system is in progress. The MASE support staff is finally complete, providing the capacity for a more timely distribution of reports to teachers and administrators regarding professional development hours.
In reflection, MASE is well-positioned to support the district focus on literacy and build K-5 foundations for algebra. During the past two years, we have studied and field-tested a strong literacy component based in challenging, content-rich scientific inquiry. The Science as a Context for Literacy workshop series models and helps teachers see how writing, reading, listening, and speaking are naturally embedded in scientific inquiry. All mathematics sessions are highlighting why and how concept development and MASE approaches to mathematics teaching builds foundations for algebraic thinking and success for all students.
Finally, all planning includes embedding the work in school, region, and district structures to promote sustainability. In reality, the most important element may be the human resources developing in the field as a result of the MASE work teachers, TOSAs, and administrators who will build the future, based on their experience and beliefs about teaching and learning. It is critical to maintain focus, ignore distractions, turn challenges into opportunities, and perform the work. MASE design is generative and intended to be the basis for informed decision-making in today's world as well as in the future.