• $2.8 million grant will help PPS shape math instruction for K-5 students

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     Collage of math

    The DLTP program is led by (clockwise from top left) PPS's Sarah Davis, Senior Director of STEAM, and Rose Palmer, Teacher on Special Assignment for PK-5 instructional math; Chandra Lewis of RMC Research; and Nicole Rigelman, a professor in Portland State's Curriculum and Instruction Department.

    The project is called Developing Leaders, Transforming Practice – or DLTP. While the name might imply a complicated academic process, the project’s goal can be summed in the words of Portland State University professor Nicole Rigelman: “Deeper understanding of math for your children.”

    Portland Public Schools, in partnership with Portland State and RMC Research, is undertaking DLTP, a four-year project to use research and data to shape math instruction for PPS students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The project is being funded by a $2.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

    The project will identify which instructional model works best for K-5 math in PPS, with four models being evaluated at 12 PPS elementary schools (three schools per model). DLTP is being led by Rigelman, a professor in PSU's Curriculum and Instruction Department; PPS's Sarah Davis, Senior Director of STEAM, and Rose Palmer, a Teacher on Special Assignment for PK-5 instructional math; and Chandra Lewis of RMC, which conducts evaluations in education and health.

    The project will help assess the most effective way for schools to utilize an Elementary Mathematics Specialist (EMS) – an educator with specialized training in math content, teaching methods and leadership. The models being evaluated include having one EMS at each grade level teach all the math; having an EMS at each grade level who trains teachers and also teaches; having a building-level EMS along with one for each grade; or having a building-level EMS train all teachers, but not teach students.

    Informed by research gathered by RMC, the district will shape its K-5 math instruction in an equitable way, which could take the form of a streamlined, district-wide model, or models that serve specific needs of cohorts or individual schools. Either way, the goal remains singular:

    “It’s quality instruction -- it’s very intentional, research-based and purposeful instruction,” Palmer said. “It’s supporting the teachers to be able to provide the best instruction for their students.”

    For details on the four models and more information, see the DLTP webpage, or contact Rose Palmer.