Creative University-School Partnerships (CUSP)

The NJDOE awarded Montclair State University/PRISM a 3-year Math Science Partnership grant to fund improvement of mathematics education which is in alignment with the Common Core.  Approximately 70 teachers representing seven districts were provided professional development either through a 2-week Grades 5-8 Mathematics Summer Institute or by enrolling in the Teaching Middle Grades Mathematics Certificate program at MSU.

CUSP School Districts

  • Bloomfield
  • Butler
  • Clifton
  • Kearny
  • Montclair
  • Orange
  • Paramus‌

Mathematics Summer Institute Pathway

Summer Institute participants experienced 70 hours of PD,  7 hours per day, M-F, 8:30 am—3:30 pm.  The school year follow-up of 30 hours included large and small-group meetings (Districts were reimbursed for the substitute cost through the grant) and collaborations using an online forum and a culminating poster session.

 Summer 2015 addressed the following Common Core content strands: Measurement and Data, Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. In addition, the Mathematical Practices permeated throughout the program.  Elements of the summer institute included teachers as learners, content-driven sessions in which the facilitators modeled pedagogical approaches through content, and reflections and debriefings about learner and teacher experiences. Activities involved teachers exploring  rich mathematics content, justifying mathematical thinking, asking questions of each other, and doing hands-on, content-driven activities.  Toward the end of the summer institute, teachers developed  action plans that would help them investigate a particular content area and pedagogical practice they would like to focus on improving throughout the academic year. These action plans became the basis of the academic year support and were embedded in the follow-up workshop sessions and online collaborations.

Teachers came together three times during the school year (October, January, March) for all-day follow-up sessions.  Districts were reimbursed for the substitute cost through the grant. These sessions were driven by needs that the teachers identifyied at the conclusion of the Summer Institute and by their action plans.

Certificate Pathway

Participating district middle grade teachers enrolled in the Teaching Middle Grades Mathematics Certificate program for which they took one 3-credit course each semester (tuition and fees provided by the grant). The certificate program was a five-course sequence of content-driven courses specifically designed for practicing middle grades teachers. Teachers in the program had the option of continuing their studies for a Masters of Arts in Middle Grades Mathematics through an additional 18 credits. Similar to the Summer Institute Pathway, the courses in Year 1 engaged teachers in the Numbers and Algebra strands of the CCSSM. In Fall 2014, Number and Operations in the Middle Grades (MTHM 505) was offered for Cohort 2 and Measurement in Middle Grades (MTHM 509 for Cohort 1.  Followed by Algebraic Thinking (MATH 506) in Spring 2015.

MTHM505: Number and Operations in the Middle Grades (3 hours lecture)

Topics are organized around the fundamental concepts of number and operations with them. This course prepares middle-grade teachers to help their students understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, number systems, operations on numbers, how to compute fluently and how to make reasonable estimates. 3 sh. Prerequisites: Acceptance in the certificate or Master's program in Teaching Middle Grades Mathematics (TMGM) and permission of the graduate program coordinator.

MTHM506: Algebra and Algebraic Thinking in the Middle Grades (3 hours lecture)

Topics from pre-algebra and algebra are studied to prepare middle-grades mathematics teachers to enable all students to understand patterns, relationships and functions; represent and analyze mathematical situations and structures using algebraic symbols; use mathematical models to represent and understand quantitative relationships; and analyze change in various contexts. Topics initially approach algebra from a numerical perspective. Strategies for gradually increasing the use of variables and abstract thinking with middle-grade students are discussed. 3 sh. Prerequisites: MTHM 505 and permission of graduate program coordinator.

MTHM507: Geometry for Middle-Grade Math Teachers (3 hours lecture)

Topics are organized around the fundamental concepts of geometry, the use of geometric thinking as a problem-solving tool, and the methods and techniques needed to help students understand and apply these concepts and skills in the middle grades. Teachers gain the knowledge needed to enable their students to develop spatial sense and an ability to use geometric properties and relationships to solve problems in mathematics and in everyday life. Specific emphasis is placed on recognizing, visualizing, representing, and transforming geometric shapes in two and three dimensions. 3 sh. Prerequisites: MTHM 505 and permission of graduate program coordinator.

MTHM508: Data Analysis and Probability in the Middle Grades (3 hours lecture)

Topics include the basics of collection, summarization, and interpretation of data, and the fundamental ideas of probability. Sampling techniques, experimental design, graphical and numerical summarization of data and the basic ideas of drawing conclusions from data are discussed. Methods for teaching these concepts in the middle grades are discussed in tandem as the material is presented. 3 sh. Prerequisites: MTHM 505 and permission of graduate program coordinator.

MTHM509: Measurement in the Middle Grades (3 hours lecture)

Topics are organized around the fundamental and unifying topic of measurement. What attributes of an object are measurable? How are those attributes measured? What system of measurement should be used? What are the units and how are the results converted to other systems? Measurement is a topic that is found across the school curriculum, not just in the mathematics curriculum, and thus it is a topic that can be used to develop cross-subject discussions and investigations. Methods for teaching measurement in the middle grades are discussed in tandem with the content being studied. 3 sh. Prerequisites: MTHM 507 and permission of graduate program coordinator.

 

PRISM located in the BMS Center for Science Teaching and Learning
(Blanton Hall)
973-655-7753
973-655-4430(fax)