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Math in the Middle Profile


Math in the Middle Institute Partnership

Overview:

The Math in the Middle Institute Partnership (M2) comprising the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) and Educational Service Unit (Educational Service Units (ESU) #6, #7 & #13 and 15 Rural School Districts), creates and sustains a partnership with the capacity to educate and support teams of outstanding middle level (Grades 5-8) mathematics teachers (122 total) who will become intellectual leaders in their schools, districts, and ESUs. Investing in high-quality teachers, the long-term goal is improving K-12 student achievement in mathematics and significantly reducing achievement gaps in the mathematical performance of diverse student populations. The work of the M2 Institute informs and provides evidence-based contributions to research on learning, teaching, and teacher professional development. Commitment to rural teachers, schools, and districts is a focus feature of M2.

Math in the Middle
Institute Partnership (M2) consists of three major components:

  1. The M2 Institute, a multi-year institute offers participants a coherent program of study to deepen their mathematical knowledge for teaching and to develop their leadership skills;

  2. Mathematics learning teams develop collegiality. Teams led by M2 teachers, supported by school administrators and university faculty, help teachers align their teaching with state standards, and assist teachers in examining their instructional and assessment practices; and

  3. A research initiative transforms the M2 Institute and the M2 mathematics learning teams into laboratories for educational improvement and innovation.

The M2 Institute: (1) enriches teachers' mathematics knowledge; (2) assists them in transferring mathematics knowledge into their classrooms; and (3) creates communities of professionals (K-12 and college) who work together as leaders to strengthen middle level mathematics courses and curricula in the middle level classroom. Strengthened by the knowledge and leadership skills gained in the M2 Institute, M2 teachers lead district and ESU efforts to improve mathematics teaching and learning, creating mathematics learning teams in which they mentor and coach their peers developing ways to enhance student achievement. The research agenda generates new evidence-based knowledge about mathematics teacher professional development.

Intellectual Merit. The M2 Institute becomes a model for a content-focused professional development Institute producing intellectual leaders with a deep understanding of the mathematics taught in the middle grades and the ability to lead school and district efforts greatly increasing student achievement in mathematics. Learning teams combine the expertise of teachers and university faculty ensuring that the benefits of the M2 Institute reach far beyond the original 122 middle school participants.

Broader Impacts. The extensive engagement in teacher education by faculty and graduate students in a departmental culture supportive of educational activities sparks further change in the university culture and develops a generation of mathematicians with a strong commitment to outstanding teaching, teacher education, and K-12 outreach. Successful models for higher education faculty working across colleges improving teacher professional development and pre-service education are developed.

Supporting education in rural schools contributes to a segment of our education community that has been neglected for too long.