Making Professional Development in Math More Effective
VISMT's Mathematics Program Is Changing the Way it Offers Professional Development. Why?
As you know, the VISMT math program has traditionally offered a wide selection of workshops during the summer.  This year we stepped back to evaluate the results of this approach.  What we concluded was that the strategy was successful for individual teachers, but not for students. Why?

Evaluating the impact of our regional workshops, we realize that the courses impact teachers from various schools sporadically, one in one school, a few in another. Although those teachers will benefit, the student population in their schools are likely to gain little as they proceed through the grades. For most students, attaining the standards requires a consistent quality instruction from every teacher they have. Few other subjects are so singularly dependent on the contribution of the teacher at each and every grade.

How Will Professional Development be Offered?
To focus more closely on substantially improving student performance, we have chosen to concentrate our services in the future at the school level, rather than on individual teachers from different schools.  There are numerous strategies for doing this that respect both the availability of funds and teachers time.  What this means for schools and teachers is that we will be looking to form partnerships with the schools and districts almost exclusively rather than providing open enrollment summer workshops.

Are There Any Exceptions?
Having said this, we recognize the need for some exceptions. There are cases, when only a single member or a few members of a staff need a particular training.  One example could be a new teacher in the school.  Another exists when a school wishes to send a representative or two to a workshop to decide whether it will meet their school¹s needs.  In cases like this we will be glad to help individual teachers find a spot in a nearby workshop.

For a full list of the services/workshops in mathematics that VISMT provides to schools, please call (802) 828-0078 and request a copy of the VISMT¹s list of Mathematics Services.

We look forward to working with you all:
supporting teachers and administrators in substantially improving student performance.

Jim Abrams

Jim Abrams
Director of Mathematics Education
Vermont Institute for Science, Math and Technology
7 West Street
Montpelier, Vt   05602
Ph: (802) 828-0069
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