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Developing Math Leaders (DML)

Developing Math LeadersThe Developing Math Leaders (DML) grant began in 2005 and involves Middle School Mathematics teachers from Riverside Middle School in Billings, MT. Riverside is a Title I Middle School with approximately 500 students.  Fifty-five percent of the Riverside student population receives free or reduced lunch. The goal of the DML grant was to improve student academic achievement through the use of common assessments and a focused curriculum. During the 2010-2011-school year, teachers from Riverside Middle School also began mentoring teachers at Lewis & Clark Middle School as a part of their journey.

For the past 3 years, teachers from Riverside have been meeting as a Professional Learning Community (PLC) once a month throughout the school year.  The district math coach has facilitated the PLC meetings. During the PLC meetings, the following components were examined or addressed: 1) Professional Development articles or videos focusing on topics ranging from differentiated instruction to motivating students; 2) Celebrations of accomplishments; 3) Data discussions; and 4) Review and revision of common assessments.

 

Professional Learning Community (PLC) Agendas

Professional Learning Community (PLC) meeting time has allowed for collaboration and discussion on content, pedagogy, instructional strategies and student needs.  It was this gift of time that allowed teachers to feel united rather than isolated in their analysis of both student work and individual teaching practice.  They continued to experience a lighter work load by working together. Together they were able to solve problems they faced in their individual classrooms.  On a smaller scale, the same collaboration and discussions took place between school district personnel, STEM faculty, and leadership at the building level. 

 

Data Sources

Throughout the grant, the following assessments have been used:

Teacher Assessments and Surveys...

Diagnostic Mathematics Assessments for Elementary School Teachers
Diagnostic Mathematics Assessments for Elementary School Teachers serve two purposes: (1) to describe the breadth and depth of mathematics content knowledge so that researchers and evaluators can determine teacher knowledge growth over time, the effects of particular experiences (courses, professional development) on teachers' knowledge, or relationships among teacher content knowledge, teaching practice, and student performance and (2) to describe elementary school teachers' strengths and weaknesses in mathematics knowledge so that teachers can make appropriate decisions with regard to courses or further professional development.

The assessments measure mathematics knowledge in four content domains (Whole Number/Computation, Rational Number/Computation, Geometry/Measurement, and Probability/Statistics/Algebra). Each assessment is composed of 20 items—10 multiple-choice and 10 open-response.

Survey of Enacted Curriculum (SEC)
The primary aim of SEC is to support conversations among teachers about curriculum and pedagogy by offering them the opportunity to compare and discuss their instructional practices with the practices of other teachers in their school, district or state. Content analyses of state standards and assessments that have been and continue to be conducted through content analyses workshops sponsored by CCSSO and WCER also provide teachers the opportunity to compare instructional content with state standards and assessments.

Student Assessments and Surveys...

MontCas: The state CRT is aligned to Montana content standards. It is given in grades 3-8 and 10.

NWEA and MAP tests:  NWEA Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) tests present students with engaging, age-appropriate content. As a student responds to questions, the test responds to the student, adjusting up or down in difficulty. The result is a rewarding experience for the student and a wealth of detailed information for teachers, parents and administrators. Riverside teachers use this data as a formative assessment in order to help align their instruction with student needs.

 

 

Data Results

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Overall Impact

Lessons Learned...

Professional Learning Community (PLC) meeting time has allowed for collaboration and discussion on content, pedagogy, instructional strategies and student needs.  It was this gift of time that allowed teachers to feel united rather than isolated in their analysis of both student work and individual teaching practice.  They continued to experience a lighter workload by working together. Together they were able to solve problems they faced in their individual classrooms.  On a smaller scale, the same collaboration and discussions took place between school district personnel, STEM faculty, and leadership at the building level. 

Teacher Comments about the grant...

"It is the best training I have received that directly impacts student achievement. "

"The math coach's guidance and leadership has been a crucial part of the process.  Her involvement needs to continue in order for the Professional Learning Community to make the necessary progress that will benefit student achievement."

I anticipate that the most lasting impact of my participation in the MSP Continuation Project will be…

"my classroom teaching and dealing with parents, students and co-workers.  I expect every student to learn and participate in my classroom and create ways to ensure that this happens."

"the use of formative assessments to teach ALL students, not just the majority of the class."

"remembering that all students can learn and that holding them accountable is very important."

"the helpfulness of hearing other math teachers' views and philosophies and comparing them to my own.  We don't always agree, but it's nice to be heard in a safe environment."

"focusing and following up on students who are struggling and, therefore, choosing not to do their work."