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Math Reasoning Profile

Making Mathematical Reasoning Explicit


This project is developing mathematics teacher leaders to serve as school and district-based intellectual leaders and master teachers in a set of small rural school districts in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. Teachers in these underserved areas are geographically isolated and intellectually removed from colleagues in the same discipline. To counter these circumstances the team of investigators is combining in-depth mathematical content knowledge focused on reasoning, justification, and generalization of mathematical ideas, with ongoing, purposeful, supported professional development activities during the academic year. Supporting these activities is a partnership among teachers, school administrators, and higher education faculty intended to create a mechanism for sustained school change, resulting in continued improvement in teaching and student achievement.

Cohorts of teacher leaders attend 3 three-week summer institutes, joined by administrators during the last 3 days of each institute. This intense work is accompanied by academic year support that gradually phases out as teacher leaders transfer their new knowledge to their own classrooms and then to their colleagues through the establishment of purposeful local professional development communities.

The strength of this project lies not only in the blend of its innovative activities and focus on making mathematical reasoning explicit, but also on its potential to advance understanding of how to achieve the sustainable transformation of school cultures. Towards these ends, a strong leadership team of mathematicians, mathematics educators, and school leaders is actively guiding these efforts. The influence of this project is felt through its work with three cohorts totaling 72 teachers and 30 administrators from 30 rural schools with high minority (Hispanic, Native American, migrant, low SES) populations. All told, the project expects to directly impact an estimated 8,000 students during the award period. In addition, the project holds promise to serve as a model for sustainable professional development that emphasizes school-based change and is applicable to other schools nationwide, particularly in other rural isolated regions.