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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

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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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