Greater Birmingham Mathematics Partnership

Building Communities of Learners and Leaders in Mathematics


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2012 GBMP Summer Courses Recap

The Greater Birmingham Mathematics Partnership held its annual professional development courses for teachers from June 19th - 29th, 2012 at Irondale Middle School.  A total of 5 courses were held during the 2 week period and included 2 Patterns I courses, one Numerical Reasoning course, one Patterns II course, and one Reasoning About Data course. Each of the courses carries 60 professional development contact hours.   The Reasoning About Data course was rolled out for the first time this year and was developed in response to feedback we received from participants in past years who asked for a more extensive course dealing with Statistics These courses were once again taught by the Mathematics Education Collaborative, MEC, who has been a partner in GBMP since it started.

In total, 168 participants (167 local teachers and undergraduate college students) completed a course this summer for an average of almost 34 participants per course, and together they received 9,635 hours of professional development. Nearly half of them, 77 of the 168, took the Patterns I course, and for nearly all of those teachers, this was the first GBMP course they had ever taken.  As has been the case each year we have held summer courses, the self-reported impact of this first course on these participants who are new to GBMP, was transformative.  After each course, we ask participants to complete a 1 page course evaluation form.  For the Patterns I course, 99% of the teachers agreed that the course improved their mathematical skills and understanding.  The same percentage indicated the course improved their understanding of pedagogy/teaching practices.  But what are even more telling are the responses these teachers shared with us when we asked them to reflect on their experiences in the course. Here are some examples:

(My) personal mathematics skills improvement is unbelievable. I love math now!

I will teach totally differently.

I learned so much in this course about how children learn.  It has completely changed my view of teaching and now I am motivated to help children discover and solve problems for themselves, rather than me telling them how to do it.

My understanding of how math should be taught changed with each passing day (
of the course)

Describing personal growth in mathematics) Gone from stagnant or maybe a regression, begun to grow, and feel like the sky is the limit.

Math finally makes sense.

I will completely change (
my instruction).

Results from evaluations for each of our 2012 summer courses were overwhelmingly positive. In total, 99% of the participants agreed or strongly agreed that the course they took improved my mathematical skills and understanding and that their instructor was knowledgeable and effective.  98% agreed or strongly agreed that the teaching modeled and the mathematical ideas presented in this course will be useful to me in the upcoming school year; that the course improved my understanding of pedagogy/teaching practices; and that the course was interesting and engaging.

Funding from the National Science Foundation supported 55 of the teachers who participated in the courses, most from middle school school grades, and all but 1 from the 15 schools participating in our GBMP Phase 2 project.  Thirty-eight teachers from other local schools, almost all from K-5 grades, were sponsored with funding from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham.  And the participation of 74 additional K-5 grade level teachers from local schools, was made possible as a result of funding from the Malone Family Foundation.  These sponsors allow us to provide each course participant a $100 per day stipend to attend the courses, a kit of mathematical supplies or book (or both), and cover the cost of each participant's $775 tuition.  Without the support of grants from these organizations, and the willingness of the wonderful administration and staff at Irondale Middle School to host us, providing these professional development courses would have been impossible.  We thank each of them for their generous support.         


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Teachers Respond Enthusiastically to 2005 Summer Mathematics Courses

Faculty Participate in 2005 Summer Courses, Revise IHE courses


This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award Nos. DUE 0632522 and DUE 0928665.  Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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