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COMPASS POINTS Powered By Docstoc

Networking High Schools for Mathematics
       Kasi Allen Fuller - Lewis & Clark College / Inverness Research
                        Eric Robinson - Ithaca College
                    Margaret Robinson - Ithaca College
             The Facts
 A national network of professionals implementing
  NSF-funded, NCTM Standards-based curricula at
  the high school level.
 Professionals include teachers, administrators,
  educational researchers, mathematicians, and
  teacher educators.
 16 participating high schools
 4 secondary integrated curriculum programs
 1 national implementation and dissemination center
 50+ educators spanning the high school and college
 3+ years of collective work


         COMPASS Central Site

           Member High School Sites

             Curriculum Development Sites
Criteria for Membership
Nominated schools had all implemented (at least) one
NSF-funded secondary mathematics program, meaning:
  A comprehensive implementation such that the full
   program had existed for at least two years.
  An on-going professional development component
  Documented support at the department, school, and/or
   district levels
  Commitment to maintaining the curriculum for (at least)
   two additional years at the time of Network induction
  Interest in continued improvement of the program
  Willingness to collaborate with COMPASS-related
     Professionals Operating in a Network
     for Teachers and Students) is a
     network of schools and educators
     using challenging NCTM standards-
     based curriculum and student-centered
     teaching to help all high school
     students learn meaningful, powerful
*COMPASS = Curricular Options in Mathematics Programs for All Secondary Students
       Why members join
When I started with [our program] my teaching career became rejuvenated. I
think that the best thing I have done professionally (outside of the classroom)
has been to network with math teachers throughout the country that are dealing
with the same issues I am. That is why.         - high school math teacher, ME

I am an advocate for "reform" curricula at all school levels (K-16); from the
perspective of a mathematician, I think they more accurately reflect
mathematical practice and from the prospective of a math educator, I think they
allow students to develop a much more thorough understanding of the
mathematical content. Being involved with POINTS seemed like a good way for
me to support the efforts of educators who are trying to use these reform
curricula.                                       - professor of mathematics, NY

I joined COMPASS POINTS because I believed in what they stood for, and I
wanted to work with people that had a committment to reform curricula.
                                            - high school math teacher, WI
As members of COMPASS POINTS, a network of secondary mathematics teachers,
teacher educators, administrators, educational researchers, and mathematicians, we
share the following foundational belief statements.

Learning: Learning is complex, ongoing, and dynamic. Investing the time to understand
students’ formal and informal knowledge and habits of mind is necessary and
foundational for learning and growth. Respect for students’ thinking is central.
Fostering positive dispositions toward mathematics and learning is essential. Examples
include motivation, curiosity, risk-taking, and perseverance. Fostering good work habits
is also important.

Curriculum: Curriculum plays an important role in developing students’ mathematical
competencies. Curriculum should engage students in worthwhile mathematical tasks
that have multiple access points and incorporate higher-order thinking skills.

Equity: Knowing how to think analytically and to solve problems are attainable,
teachable, and essential goals for all students. These goals must be an intentional
component of a mathematics program: Mathematics teaching must develop in all
students better processes of thinking, communicating, and uses of technology.
Mathematics is empowering and impacts students’ fundamental view of themselves;
thinking of oneself as being good at mathematics is an avenue to empowerment in our

Teaching: Teachers need a variety of tools and strategies to reach all learners. Teachers
must be flexible and willing to make adjustments in their teaching. Teachers should be
committed to meeting students where they are and moving them ahead. Reflection on the
practice of teaching mathematics is fundamentally important for the growth of teachers.

Professional Development: Strong, on-going professional development and
collaborative networks of teachers are essential in realizing the goal of creating highly
effective teachers, reflective practitioners and sustainable programs. Professional
development goes beyond implementation of the curriculum in the classroom to include
involvement of administrators, counselors, other teachers, students, parents, members of
the community, and higher education faculty.

Realizing Our Vision: Successful implementation and sustainability of research-based
curricula requires support from all stakeholders. Administrators, school leaders,
university mathematicians, educators, and researchers alike—in addition to students,
parents, and teachers—must work together to make this a reality.
             This Study
 Exploratory in nature
 Ongoing
 Data includes:
   Participant observations
   Focus groups
   Analysis of network-generated
   Network member survey
       Preliminary Findings
 Network members know very little about
  each other’s programs, apart from what they
  may have learned during their own adoption
 Prior to joining the network, members have
  little contact with other high schools and
  districts implementing NSF-funded curricula
 Network members discover that their
  programs and their implementation
  experiences are more similar than they
  Areas of Common Success
 Students taking more math
 Students performing better in the math (as
  measured by grades and district/state
 Students expressing affinity for math
 Teachers feeling more passionate about
  their subject
 Teachers experiencing personal/professional
 Areas of Common Challenge
 Inconsistent administrative support
 Resistant colleagues
 Communication with parents
 Community education
 Alignment with state standards and
 College math placement tests
     Areas of Common Work
 Creating increased awareness for the
  existence and potential effectiveness of the
  NSF-funded curricula
 Collectively advocating for best practices in
  secondary math education
 Supporting each other in the political work of
  mathematics improvement/reform
 Educating each other about successful
  strategies with respect to common
       Value of Bringing Strong
       Implementers Together
This meeting was far more beneficial than I ever thought it would be.
The activities were a huge plus because they got us interacting
with members of different innovative mathematics communities
and they got us thinking about our individual programs and
how to make them more stable. I didn’t need any input on the benefits
of my program but I did need to know that the problems I face
in my school are the same as those in innovative mathematics programs
all over the country.
                                    - high school teacher
I have learned so much about the other curricula. It is great to know
that they share my problems. I like the idea of working as a large group
to push our goal of better high school math.
                                       - department chair
   Extent to which participants believe that the theory of
     action underlying the COMPASS POINTS is valid
                    (% of participants)

   75%                                                                       68%

                 0%             0%
            Completely        Mostly          Mixed          Mostly      Completely
              invalid         invalid                         valid        valid

                            COMPASS POINTS Theory of Action:
If you bring high school teams together that are engaged in similar math improvement efforts, and
support them with professional development, give them direct access to curriculum developers,
and provide rich opportunities for them to learn with and from other experienced educators – then
their schools will be more likely to succeed in implementing and advocating for innovative math
programs than they would be if they were working on their own.
     Network Contributions to
• knowledge of the five NSF-funded curricula as a set of
    related programs
• vision of high quality mathematics teaching and
• connection to national experts dedicated to improving
    mathematics education
• interest and confidence in addressing the political
    aspects of mathematics reform
• interest in serving as a mathematics leader in school
    or district
         Participants who say that COMPASS POINTS
     contributed substantially to their professional growth

    I am encouraged to grow as a
   math teacher and as leader for                               94%

   COMPASS POINTS provides me
with a unique form of professional                            84%
          support that I do not find

 I have had many opportunities to                         77%
    explore new ideas and issues

                                       0%   25%   50%   75%     100%
       Participants who say that COMPASS POINTS
        contributed substantially to their vision and
     understanding of mathematics teaching & learning

Connection to national experts
 dedicated to improving math                                    90%
        Vision of high quality
    mathematics teaching and                              76%

Understanding of how students
think about/learn mathematics

  Ability to teach mathematics                52%

                                 0%   25%   50%         75%      100%
         Participants who say that COMPASS POINTS
         contributed substantially to their interest and
           confidence in assuming leadership roles

 Confidence in serving as a math
      leader in my school/district

      Interest in serving as a math
       leader in my school/district

    Confidence in addressing the                        62%
 political aspects of math reform

Interest in addressing the political
            aspects of math reform

                                       0%   25%   50%     75%       100%
      What members say …
COMPASS and the reform mathematics curricula contributed to my
growth professionally and personally. My mathematics understanding
has increased immensely, and I was personally was given the opportunity
to address the National Mathematics Panel providing them with the
ground work, comparisons, successes and failures of teaching traditional
curricula and reform curricula. Professionally, my experiences with
COMPASS and reform mathematics has raised my level of expertise and
given me many new job opportunities.
                                     - high school math teacher, NC

The struggles with implementation have forced me to frequently reflect on
what we are doing - the support of the individuals involved in COMPASS
POINTS has helped me to solidify my stance.
                                     - high school math teacher, WA
Contribution of the Network to
   Implementation Efforts
 Connection to other schools engaged in the
  work of implementing one of the NSF
 Commitment to implementation effort at
  member school
 Ability to support math implementation effort
  in school or district
 Understanding of the issues involved in
  implementing one of the NSF-funded
      Participants who say that COMPASS POINTS reduces

I have learned that different math
        programs can face similar                             97%
      implementation challenges

COMPASS POINTS has helped me
feel less isolated in my work as a                           90%
            mathematics educator

COMPASS POINTS has provided a
 way for other schools to benefit                           84%
           from my own schoolÕs
   implementation experiences
                                     0%   25%   50%   75%     100%
         Participants who say that COMPASS POINTS
       contributed substantially to their commitment to,
          understanding of, and ability to implement
         the NSF-funded high school math programs

      Connection to other schools
        implementing NSF-funded                              76%
Understanding of issues involved
 in implementing one of the NSF-                         73%
                funded programs
         Commitment to the math
curriculum implementation at my                          73%
      Knowledge of the five NSF-                       63%
               funded curricula
       Ability to support the math
curriculum implementation effort                       63%
              in my school/district
                                      0%   25%   50%    75%        100%
        What members say …
It has helped me with research for parents that were asking at our
presentations. Looking at student work helped me to see how our
students and teachers were doing, expectations, quality of work, etc.
                                    - high school math teacher, OR

Due to turnover at my school, I was the only teacher to have recieved
complete training, and was therefore the only one who carried the initial
excitement. After the first 3 meetings - attended with a building
administrator - I was able to involve 2 other members of my department.
Our building administration is 100% behind what we do after being a part
of the meetings.
                                      - high school math teacher, WA

When our program comes under fire from students, parents or other
school personnel, we know we have support from COMPASS. We aren't
alone in the wilderness. We have a network of people who we can
approach with questions, issues, to gain information, etc. People I would
have never met. I have learned we are not alone in our issues.
                                    - high school math teacher, WY
      Participants who say that COMPASS POINTS created
                     a learning community

   Members of COMPASS POINTS
      are constantly learning and                            90%
              seeking new ideas

 COMPASS POINTS leadership is
       open to feedback from its                           87%
members and is willing to change

   COMPASS POINTS serves as a
 professional learning community                       77%
                           for me

                                    0%   25%   50%   75%     100%
 Percentage of COMPASS POINTS participants who would
continue to be involved if the project received more funding


         75%                                        70%


         25%                  17%
               Definitely   Probably   Probably   Definitely
                  not          not
        The Future of
 Members continue to collaborate
  electronically, by phone and at
 The Network is currently seeking
  funding for continued face-to-face
 For updates, check the website:

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