Region 11 Math and Science Teacher Center Begins Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This week more than 650 math teachers and administrators, representing more than 50 schools, attended the launch of the Region 11 Math and Science Teacher Center at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Intermediate District 287 is the fiscal host for Region 11's $1.6 million grant and its Coordinator, Cynthia Stevenson, is housed at the District 287 Service Center.

The event was the beginning of the year-long professional development program for middle school algebra teachers. The teachers will each take part in five days of training for enhancing teaching algebra to grades 6-8, and additional professional development opportunities. The administrators also have committed to training and support of the program. The goal is for Minnesota middle school algebra student test scores to improve.

The Teacher Center and the development of the "6-8 Algebra Related to Number" module are funded by legislative appropriation through the Minnesota Department of Education and a National Governors' Association grant. Region 11 which includes 48 districts in the Twin Cities Metro area and eight regions in greater Minnesota received grant funds.

The Math and Science Teacher Center in Region 11 is a collaborative effort of Metro ECSU, and the Grants and Research Office (GRO) of Intermediate District 287and Northeast Metro 916. Higher education support is being provided by the University of Minnesota, Normandale Community College and Hamline University.

The "6-8 Algebra Related to Number" module will be presented to teachers during five workshop days. It is considered a professional development experience for math teachers as they prepare their students for success in 8th grade algebra. The module is developed using the Principals and Standards for Mathematics; the Curriculum Focal Points for pre-kindergarten thru Grade 8 Mathematics; and the new Minnesota Academic Standards for Mathematics.

The lead module author for "6-8 Algebra Related to Number" is Dr. Terry Wyberg, Associate Education Specialist, U of M Curriculum and Instruction Department. Additional authors include: Dr. Tamara Moore, Gillian Roehrig, Tom Muchlinski, Brian Lindeman, and Jonathan Rogness. This group as well as other math specialists and leaders in the region will further develop the materials and conduct the training.

In addition to the five days of teacher training, teachers will be divided into PLC (Professional Learning Communities) groups of 5 to 7 participants. The PLCs will encourage networking, problem solving and brainstorming among those who are using the curriculum in the classroom.

Support for administrators will be in two forms:

  • A school Principals' Forum Series (four two-hour sessions) will be held to prepare him or her to lead the process of aligning school goals with teacher center training and PLC work.

  • The district curriculum director and/or the district math specialist will participate in a forum series (four two-hour sessions). This will bring to them the instructional strategies and mathematics pedagogy to include in ongoing training; and the opportunity to progress in their schools.

Cynthia Stevenson, Grant Coordinator, outlined some of the details of the Academy while speaking to the more than 700 people in attendance. Wrapping up her remarks, she summarized the important role of each attendee to achieving this year's goal.

"If there are 550 teachers here, and each of you teaches 100 students this year, together, we will touch the lives of more than 55,000 algebra students," said Stevenson.

In addition to the "6-8 Algebra Related to Number" module and related training, the program will include four additional components:

  • The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Communities of Practices school districts that have already received STEM grants will meet to advise on best practices for integrating the STEM disciplines, reinforcing science and math understanding in the region.

  • The Science Museum of Minnesota will provide training on STEM integration and standards, and membership in Science House, a resource center for STEM educators, for math teachers from partner districts.

  • The Development of three additional training modules related to science and math education. All centers around the state will develop modules in coordination with the MDE and the goal of "delivering training in future years".

  • Analysis of algebra curriculum materials to make recommendations for no or low cost options in assimilating the new state mathematics standards.

This year's Teacher Center will be active through June 30, 2009.

To find out more, please go to www.region11mathandscience.org.

 

650 registered for the day's activities.
 

Each registrant received a binder as a guide
for this year's math program.
 

Debbie Luedtke - MDE, Julie Frame-Hansen - Metro ECSU,
Jane Holmberg -District 287, and
Jessica Wiley - Northeast Metro 916.
 

Julie Frame-Hansen - Metro, Karen Klinzing - MDE,
Connie Hayes - N.E. Metro 916,
and Sandra Lewandowski - District 287.
 

Participants working together.
 

Keynote speaker David Warlick.
 

Module Author Dr. Terry Wyberg.
 

Dr. Tom Carpenter, National Center for Improving
Student Learning & Achievement in Mathematics.

 

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