Mathematics and Science Partnerships
The Mathematics and Science Partnerships (MSP) program supports partnerships between the mathematics, science, and/or engineering faculty of higher education institutions and high-need school districts. The goal of the program is to increase student achievement through high quality professional learning for teachers. It is administered by the Academic Improvement and Teacher Quality Program under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), Title II, Part B.
Montana MSP 2015-2016 Projects
The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) awarded MSP grants for the 2015-2016 grant cycle to four projects aimed at providing high quality professional learning for Montana teachers:
The Standards-based Teaching Renewing Educators Across Montana in Mathematics (STREAM) project will be building upon work completed within the 2013-2015 cycle, with an emphasis on providing systemic and sustainable professional development for high school mathematics educators.
The Montana Partnership with Regions for Excellence in STEM (MPRES) project is a continuation from the 2013-2015 cycle, specifically aimed at helping the state’s educators access effective and cutting-edge science professional development in the more rural areas of Montana.
The Flathead Reservation Algebra Collaborative (FRACtion) project is a new awardee focusing on increasing educators’ content knowledge and teaching practice around Algebra.
The Montana Pathways to Advance Teachers of High School (MPATH) project is a new program aiming to help non-licensed or misaligned high school teachers become endorsed to teach high school mathematics.
Montana MSP Past Projects
Broadwater and Bozeman Math (B&B)
The Broadwater to Bozeman (B&B) continuation project extends the objectives of the original Gallatin to Glacier project, which introduced 24 middle grades teachers from six districts to algebraic and geometric thinking, mathematical inquiry, and instructional coaching. The B&B project continues this work with teachers in Townsend and Bozeman, focusing on four objectives: to deeply study mathematical content; to embed inquiry-based learning in classrooms; to promote collaborative teacher learning; and to strengthen the relationship between prospective mathematics teachers at MSU and area middle schools.
Frameworks for Inquiry is a project providing professional development (PD) to a group of high school chemistry teachers in Western Montana. Teacher PD is accomplished by having the teachers develop curriculum materials for use in their classroom and enabling teachers to measure changes in student scientific reasoning skills and content knowledge. As a result of the project, teachers have improved their content and pedagogical knowledge, they have employed improved materials and methods in their classrooms, and student content knowledge and scientific reasoning skills have increased. A full year of groundbreaking original inquiry-based high school chemistry curriculum materials has been developed and classroom tested. Big Sky Transitions to Inquiry is a project providing PD to science teachers at Missoula’s Big Sky High School who teach required freshman and sophomore science courses. The teachers have learned inquiry teaching methods, and they have transformed their curriculum materials so that they align with inquiry methodology.
Clark Fork Watershed Education Program (CFWEP)
The Clark Fork Watershed Education Program, now formally called Cfwep.Org, is based out of the Department of Technical Outreach at Montana Tech. Cfwep.Org has held two consecutive MSP projects, the first designed for middle school and high school teachers, was called the Clark Fork Science Partnership. This project was funded for a three-year continuation with East Middle School.
The second MSP project held by Cfwep.Org was initiated in 2008 and was designed to be a blended learning model of professional development for teachers in grades 3-6 throughout southwest Montana. The project included teachers from small rural school to AA districts. The online modules were developed by STEM faculty from Montana Tech and Education Faculty from UM-Western and MSU.
The 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.
The Montana Partnership with Regions for Excellence in STEM (MPRES)project is designed to help teachers implement the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education (the Framework). Awarded in 2013, the project provides the MPRES Toolkit along with MPRES Professional Development focused on the Framework’s three dimensions: Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas. Through a combination of online, and face-to-face workshops, the MPRES model offers four options for Montana teachers, schools, and districts to engage in professional learning around the Framework regardless of size or location.
Math Through Inquiry (MTI)
The overall vision of the Continuation 2 of Math Through Inquiry: Hands On / Minds On (C2MTI) Project was to build leadership skills and content knowledge of teachers participating in a mathematics Professional Learning Community (PLC) at Newman Elementary School. In turn, this led to increased student success in mathematics courses by building students’ conceptual understanding. In order to meet this vision, Newman Elementary set the following goals: 1) strengthen the existing mathematics PLC and 2) improve student academic performance in mathematics in grades four through six.
During the 2010-2011 school year the teachers met one day each month as a PLC and received content instruction from STEM faculty. During this time, teachers also worked collaboratively to revise, implement and analyze common assessments and student interventions. Each intermediate grade teacher received classroom coaching and mentoring from the grant math coach four times during the school year. STEM faculty from Rocky Mountain College provided content and pedagogical support via direct instruction during PLC time, through e-mail, phone calls, and by participating in a classroom coaching cycle.
The Partnership to Reform Inquiry Science in Montana (PRISM) grant seeks to develop and strengthen the pedagogical and content understandings of teachers associated with science in all partner schools within the Region III Southern Montana Alliance for Resources and Training (SMART).
The Science and Inquiry Learning in Classrooms (SILC) Project is a K – 8 teacher professional development grant to improve student academic achievement in the areas of science inquiry, physical sciences, life sciences and Native American culture. The grant is implemented through the combined partnership of the Montana Learning Center at Canyon Ferry Lake and Montana State University-Bozeman in collaboration with the Bozeman and Helena School Districts, and surrounding rural schools. This three-year grant was funded beginning in 2008 by US Department of Education Title II B money through the Montana Office of Public Instruction.
The Standards-based Teaching Renewing Educators Across Montana in Mathematics (STREAM) program offers free professional learning for K-12 teachers implementing Montana’s Mathematics Standards. Beginning in 2013, the STREAM project focused on providing high-quality, school-based, content-focused professional learning to K-8 teachers through the STREAM Guide Program. The Guide program provides cohorts of K-8 teachers from the same school, district, or region with a STREAM Guide to complete online modules, participate in school-based workshops, and develop a plan for implementing what has been learned in each teacher’s respective school(s). Individual K-8 teachers not associated with a cohort also have the opportunity to enroll in online modules to increase content knowledge and Common Core based math instruction. With the most recent 2015-2016 grant cycle, the STREAM project has expanded its emphasis to include high school teachers and helping under-certified individuals become certified secondary math teachers in Montana high schools.