The Teaching Middle Grades Mathematics Master’s and Certificate is to increase the mathematical knowledge and related pedagogical skills of New Jersey middle grades mathematics teachers. The program is designed for teachers, with New Jersey teaching certificates in disciplines other than mathematics and closely related fields, who are teaching mathematics in the middle grades or preparing for such an assignment. The program of study provides teachers with a broad understanding of the fundamental principles underlying school mathematics while making connections to the mathematics they will teach and at the same time preparing them to be leaders in their schools, districts, and perhaps, at the state and regional level. The Common Core State Standards Mathematics (CCSSM) has been incorporated into our whole program. Teachers who successfully complete the sequence of eleven courses will be able to make connections across the mathematics curriculum and to other disciplines with in the framework of the CCSSM. Their increased content knowledge and pedagogical skill will result in an observable, enhanced level of enthusiasm and comfort with mathematics, which will in turn foster a deeper understanding, and appreciation of mathematics in both their students and their colleagues.
A secondary objective of the programs is to increase the number of students in the middle grades who are academically prepared to succeed in a first course in algebra, either in middle school or when they enter high school. Students thus prepared will have more options in terms of high school course selection, post high school education and career paths. Teachers who successfully complete the programs will contribute to the achievement of this secondary objective in two ways. They will be teaching algebra to middle grades students and also be a resource to other teachers in their district who are teaching algebra.