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The Unit Workshop

The Vermont Institutes, 45 College St., Montpelier, VT 05602, 802-828-0060; fax 828-0076

 

MATHEMATICS PROGRAM

The mission of VI's Mathematics Program is to significantly improve the mathematics performance of Vermont students through professional development and consultation with school faculties and leadership.

Our work with schools is guided by the following principles:

  • Professional development needs to be embedded in a multi-year strategic action plan.

  • Resources, including time and money, must match intended goals.

  • Sustained attention over time is necessary to change classroom practice.

  • Measurable goals and periodic evaluations are essential to monitor progress.

  • Effective changes in practice require the active involvement of administrators as well as teachers with the focus on student learning needs.

  • Internal structures must be created to sustain and build upon change.


VI Partners and Membership Organizations

VI works closely with its many Partners and Membership Organizations. In Mathematics, these include The Vermont Mathematics Initiative and Vermont Mathematics Partnership.

The Vermont Mathematics Initiative (VMI)

The Vermont Mathematics Initiative (VMI), is a comprehensive statewide professional development program whose mission is to ensure high-quality mathematics instruction and high levels of student learning. Through their VMI experience teachers build strong mathematics content knowledge, develop the ability to conduct action research about their teaching practices, cultivate leadership skills, and apply this acquired knowledge and skill in their classrooms and at the school or district level. Now in its seventh year, the VMI has trained 183 teachers (including 135 graduates) from 100 schools and 50 school districts, which represent 40% of the elementary schools and 85% of all school districts in Vermont. The VMI represents a partnership of the University of Vermont, the State Colleges of Vermont, several private colleges and universities in Vermont, the Vermont Department of Education, local school districts, the Windham Foundation, and the Vermont Institutes.

Applications are now being accepted to the Vermont Mathematics Initiative. The selection process for admission to the VMI will be made on the basis of material included in the application and an interview with a VMI staff member or program graduate. The VMI encourages schools, especially those with larger enrollments, to submit applications for more than one teacher. We have found that teams of teachers, ideally representing different grade levels, often generate more broad-reaching systemic changes. Therefore, please share this information and application packet with colleagues. Detailed information about the VMI is enclosed with the application packet. Completed applications are due (postmarked) no later than March 10, 2006. Right click on your choice of format (PDF or MS Word), then choose "save target as" to download the application packet to your computer.

The Vermont Mathematics Partnership (VMP)

The VMP is among a small number of math and science partnerships, nationwide, that were selected to receive Nation Science Foundation and US Education Department funds for a major 5-year initiative, that is intended to meet the challenges posed by the recent federal “No Child Left Behind” legislation. The VMP has been established to significantly improve student performance, across all levels and all subgroups, by expanding the scope and depth of the work currently underway in the Vermont Mathematics Initiative, a comprehensive, 3-year professional development program for Vermont educators.


VI Math Staff will provide the following core services to schools (click on link, where available, for more information):

Best Practices in Teaching Mathematics

This program provides teachers an opportunity to experience and identify "best practices" in teaching mathematics, i.e. constructivist instructional practices that promote mathematical reasoning, discourse, inquiry, challenge, understanding and achievement by all students in all grades. Participants develop a set of criteria as a "lens" for examining their mathematics teaching practice and their own curriculum for evidence of and/or opportunities for best teaching practices. Teachers design an action plan for reforming and/or refining their instructional practices. Classroom support is available to teachers as they implement their plans (see Coaching).

Getting the Most from Your Mathematics Program: The Unit Workshop

This staff-development model provides a venue for teachers of standards-based mathematics programs to meet within their schools on a regular basis in order to delve into the content and teaching strategies of a particular unit of their program. Participants will examine a strand of mathematics over the course of several grade levels in order to understand how math concepts are built. Other areas of focus include embedded problem solving, examination of student work in relation to teaching objectives and sharing of effective instructional practices.

Audit Process

This service provides schools with an in-depth snapshot of where they fall on a continuum that compares current practices, stated goals, and objectives to national standards in mathematics. It can be used to show how work in the classroom reflects national standards and to form the basis for professional development and action planning efforts within a school or district.

Mathematical Content

In this series of seminars, teachers study K-6 mathematics content and examine how math ideas develop across the grades. Case studies, videotapes, lessons and student work are used throughout the program. As teachers make more connections for themselves, their ability to help students do so is enhanced. Instruction is offered through a learning community model, which enables participants to continue this work in their own school or district.

Improving Student Learning Through Assessment

This professional development series uses assessment to link the Standards, curriculum and instruction. Using the Balanced Assessment in Mathematics model from Michigan State University, participants look at student work, examine tasks that support learning, develop and score rubrics. At the school or district-level, systems that use assessment to improve student performance can be designed. Benefits that can be derived from such systems include coordination of curriculum, NSRE-type experiences for students and teachers, and fulfillment of local comprehensive assessment requirements for Act 60.

Additional Services Include:

Coaching

Mentor coaching is available as follow-on to other services and is delivered either one-on-one or to small groups. Peer coaching is a stand-alone two-day workshop for staff ready to coach one another in various aspects of their practice.

Consultation

This service is made available to schools or districts that may want assistance in defining a particular need and/or identifying the most appropriate way to fulfill a need with consideration of existing resources.

Professional Development Planning

This service is offered to schools that are interested in developing a long-term plan for program and staff improvement that balances needs with resources and looks for the most efficient and effective way of achieving the best results.

Program Selection

This series of five or six sessions delivered over the course of several months is designed to help elementary or middle school teachers choose an appropriate standards-based math program for their school. Participants determine local criteria, review and pilot several standards-based math programs, inform and communicate with school boards, parents and other community members, select a program, and plan for the professional development needed to support successful program implementation

Technology Training

Training for teachers in the use of the graphics calculators (which are essential parts of all standards-based mathematics programs from middle school upwards), the calculator based ranger (CBR) and the calculator based laboratory (CBL) is available. This training can be customized to meet the individual needs of a school including embedded classroom modeling and coaching.

For more information on any of these services, please contact the VI Math Staff at (802) 828-1301. You can also download a copy of the math program brochure for reference (PDF file).

(Services List Revised 3/15/02)

Page updated: January 2, 2006