New GSE grant supports math instruction in Hillsboro

DEMIL_GrantThe Developing Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leaders (DEMIL) project is a new grant that will help develop math skills in elementary students in Hillsboro School District for the 2015–16 school year. The Noyce Grant is from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which sponsors the Master Teacher Fellowship capacity building project. Principal Investigator Nicole Rigelman will lead the grant, which involves, in the first phase, two teacher leaders at each of these schools: Witch Hazel, Lincoln Street, Reedville, L. C. Tobias, Mooberry, W. Verne McKinney, and Ladd Acres Elementary Schools.

The grant, for $75,000, is the foundation of what is anticipated to be a model for developing building-based leaders who support mathematics instructional capacity. It supports professional development for teachers to focus on highly effective mathematics instructional practices. Classroom teachers are supported by teacher leaders. A second phase next year will expand the concept to more teachers and include PSU teacher candidates as well. Teachers who persist will be able to earn an Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leader (EMIL) specialization through PSU.

“We really want to develop a culture for learning at all schools,” said Rigelman, who leads a similar project in East Multnomah County with David Douglas School District, Centennial School District, and the Multnomah Education Service District. “We want to help teachers think about how they might engage their colleagues in building-based learning through lesson studies and book studies. The Master Teacher Fellows will be eligible for scholarships for the EMIL courses, which include content, pedagogy, and leadership development.”

Partnering with and in school districts is intended to better link University math instruction, which can be theoretical relative to the practical work that happens in classrooms with students. By facilitating increased ownership of curriculum practices, creating a common focus, and increasing student engagement, schools should have an easier time meeting Common Core standards. One thing professors have already learned is that by moving math courses out to the district, more teachers are able to participate. Fall EMIL classes saw a significant increase in enrollment, which predicts future success.

For more ideas on elementary math instruction, follow Nicole Rigelman on Pinterest.

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