Brooklyn College

K-9 Mathematics and Science Consortium

Sponsored by a Grant from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Title IIA Professional Development Program

    The many complex challenges which face teachers of Mathematics and Science in New York City will only be addressed successfully in a systemic way. There are at present many different types of activities which can further the reform of school teaching of mathematics-implementation on new standards-based curricula, school-based or district-wide workshops for current teachers, undergraduate and graduate coursework, and classroom support of teachers by student teachers and/or staff developers. However, these activities are often uncoordinated, fragmented, and hence lack the potential for systemic change. The proposed program, a collaboration among the Mathematics, Geology and Education departments at Brooklyn College, two Community School Districts, the United Federation of Teachers and the American Museum of Natural History, aims to develop a coherent model for reforming school mathematics in grades K-8 at the school and district level by involving preservice teachers, college faculty (in Education, Geology and Mathematics departments), novice teachers who are beginning their masters degrees, experienced teachers who are working on incorporating new standards-based mathematics and science curricula in their classrooms, and experienced staff developers in interrelated activities. The program will offer teacher development in mathematics and science at different levels and to different audiences as follows.

  1. Undergraduate teacher preparation programs. The audiences here are prospective teachers of grades K-6 and of grades 7-12. Education coursework for both of these groups includes placement in field sites which will be in program classrooms. The program will have an important impact on the redesign of the undergraduate teacher preparation programs which is mandated by the New York State Board of Regents in the coming years, with a particular focus on rich content background and field experiences which support the development of high expectations for all students in mathematics and science.
  2. Graduate masters degree programs. The audience here are novice teachers who are not fully certified, who will be recruited for existing masters programs in environmental science (grades K-6) and in mathematics (grades K-9). These teachers will enter the graduate programs as a cohort, and their experience in coursework will have the context of the new curricula infused in all courses. They will be offered one course each semester with free tuition. In addition, faculty will work with a team of staff developers and master teachers to develop an extension of the existing science program to grades 7-9, with a concentration on earth science. This aspect of the program is especially timely in the expectation of a new middle school certification, for which both of the Masters program will be expected to qualify.
  3. Graduate non-degree courses. These courses, which will be offered in collaboration with the UFT, meet the needs of uncertified teachers of mathematics and science (mostly middle school) who have not yet met entrance requirements for the Masters program-that is, provisional certification. The program will revise existing mathematics and science methods courses for teachers who have not had adequate content area preparation in their undergraduate years to teach the new rigorous K-6 curriculum.
  4. Non-credit school- and district-based workshops. These workshops, open to all District teachers, meet the needs of experienced teachers who have no need for credit-bearing courses, but who are in need of very specific help in implementing new standards-based curricula. The workshops, to be offered in conjunction with District staff development efforts and the UFT Teacher Centers, will also be open to student interns and student teachers placed in the collaborating Districts. These workshops will provide a context to develop and support local teacher-leaders, allowing teachers who have demonstrated success in implementing standards-based curricula a way to influence others in their school district.
  5. City-wide conferences. The program will collaborate with the UFT Teacher Centers and the American Museum of Natural History to offer conferences open to mathematics and science educators city-wide, with a special focus on implementation of nationally validated curricula. The master teachers developed through the school-based workshops will be provided with an opportunity here to share their successes.

Throughout these varied formats for teacher development will run two common threads: a focus on implementation of new curricula and means of assessment which reflect the New York State standards; and the collaboration of representatives from colleges (both Education and Mathematics/Science departments), K-8 school teachers and staff developers, representatives of the UFT Teacher Centers, and the Department of Education of the American Museum of Natural History.


Rosamond Welchman, Project Director -

Eleanor Miele, Project Co-Director -