Teachers from Local Elementary Schools Say California Mathematics and Science Partnership (CaMSP) Summer Institutes Have Increased Student Engagement; Put “Tools” in their Toolbox
Press Release – La Puente/Pomona, CALIF — Public Works, a non-profit evaluation services organization that serves as the statewide and local evaluator for the California Department of Education’s California Mathematics and Science Partnership (CaMSP) Program recently found seventy percent of Hacienda La Puente Unified School District (HLPUSD) teachers felt confident in integrating curriculum across STEM disciplines. Furthermore, ninety-eight percent felt confident integrating technology into their students’ learning experiences.
“Teachers and principals have been very positive about the CaMSP training,” said Mikala Rahn, president and co-founder of Public Works, and lead evaluator for CaMSP at HLPUSD. “Principals are very enthusiastic about their teachers’ participating in the projects, and teachers have said that the CaMSP professional development has increased their enthusiasm for teaching math.”
In 2014, the Math and Technology CaMSP Program recruited fifty HLPUSD 3rd through 5th grade teachers for participation in its professional development program. The first of three summer institutes began in 2014, where professional development focused on expanding the mathematics content knowledge of teachers, aligning mathematics curricula and practice to the California Common Core Standards, integrating technology into teacher lessons, and identifying technology resources that can be used by students to enhance their learning. Now in its third and final year of the project, Dr. Laurie Riggs, Professor, from neighboring California State Polytechnic University Pomona Mathematics and Statistics department continues to guide participants by teaching the integration of science concepts within applied math instruction.
“The summer intensives have been a rich learning experience that have explored tools and manipulatives to help teachers build understanding and take a deeper look at the math and science content in the new Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards,” Dr. Riggs said. “Using hands-on tools and new technologies proved to be very valuable because it allowed teachers to deepen their understanding and reflect on how the strategies could work in their classrooms. Teachers were also able to bring what they learned back to their schools, and share the content and ideas with their colleagues. These talented teachers have demonstrated leadership and commitment to improving instruction in the new standards.”
Carrie Peck, project director for the HLAUSD Math and Technology CaMSP Project has seen the increased confidence, especially in seasoned teachers, many whom have been teaching math and science to elementary school kids for 15 or more years.
Maggie Jardine, who has been teaching for 17 years and currently teaches 5th grade at Temple Academy in La Puente, says science has always been a passion and the Math and Technology CaMSP Summer Institutes have helped increase her self-esteem and confidence integrating math and science. “The Summer Institutes puts tools in my tool box,” says Jardine. “I knew I would have to integrate science in language arts and bring in Common Core, but I couldn’t see where I could implement those disciplines. Dr. Riggs has provides us with hands-on ideas we can use in the classroom and it has really opened my eyes to things I can do.”
Jose Ariaza, a 3rd grade teacher at Lassalette Elementary in La Puente, has been a passionate teacher for nearly 20 years and was surprised to find that he wasn’t doing the maximum he could for students. “Dr. Riggs introduced ‘Number Talks’ as a method to really engage students in a collaborative, verbal thought process for problem solving,” said Araiza. “Using one problem and presenting it to the students for us to discuss for 10 minutes was an eye opener. To hear the students diversity of answers and problem solving really helped me see how some of the students are really gifted. It’s taken away the fear for students knowing that there isn’t just one correct way of solving a problem.”
About Public Works
Public Works is a non-profit corporation founded in 1998 dedicated to working with schools, government agencies and the non- profit sector by providing services and resources to organizations that educate and inform children, youth and families. Our mission is to put data into action, transforming statistics into information that informs decisions, improves accountability and communicates the impact of public policy. Public Works serves as the statewide and local evaluator of the CaMSP program. More information can be found at www.publicworksinc.org.
About the California Mathematics and Science Partnership
The California Mathematics and Science Partnership (CaMSP) program began in 2004. CaMSP is funded by a statewide competitive grant program administered by the Professional Learning Support Division’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Office of the California Department of Education (CDE) under the Improving Teacher Quality (ITQ) component of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Since that time, over 100 partnerships of local school districts and universities have been authorized by CDE involving hundreds of schools and many thousands of teachers. More information can be found at: www.cde.ca.gov/pd/ca/ma/camspintrod.asp.