Just as well-designed curricula and assessments can help improve teaching and learning, the right tools can help schools and school districts be more effective in organizing for improvement, supporting teaching and learning, and communicating with parents and the community. Such tools need to be flexible and adaptable, address critical issues, and be easy to use in order to meet the needs of each individual school district.
The Mathematics Network of Improvement Communities (Math NIC) is a collection of district administrators, principals, mathematics coaches, and teachers representing ten school districts and professional organizations. With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the NIC team convened in 2015 to identify challenges to the improvement of their mathematics programs. The NIC design group then collaborated with the districts to design nine prototype tools.
The tools look at the essentials of an issue so that participants can focus on challenges and options for making progress. Each tool consists of downloadable materials primarily designed to provide detailed support for a workshop-style session, typically lasting 90-120 minutes. Partner districts have piloted the tools, which are now ready for broader use, but they are far from polished or in final form. We hope you will find some of the tools useful and will try them with your school district. We welcome any feedback you can provide on how to improve the tools. On the back we outline the purpose of each of the following tools and the intended user groups; we give an explanatory introduction to the issue and how it is addressed. Contact us for further information, to give feedback, and for possible partnerships.
Teaching Mathematics for Robust Understanding
What makes a mathematically powerful classroom?
Program Coherence Health Check
How well do our various “drivers” support policy?
Designing Professional Development
How can we make PD more effective?
What is it, and how can it improve teaching and learning?
World Class Mathematics for Parents
What is it and what does it mean for my child?
Lesson Study for Professional Development
What is Lesson Study, and how can it help?
What does it mean to “think mathematically”?
Developing Mathematical Proficiency
What kinds of activities help students grow mathematically?
Observing Mathematics Lessons
What should we focus on, and how?