$2.8 million grant will help PPS shape math instruction for K-5 students1/13/2020
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.”