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Rocky Mountain Middle School Math Science Partnership: 15 Months to Highly Qualified

Overview:

The "Rocky Mountain Middle School Math Science Partnership: 15 Months to Highly Qualified" is a Partnership comprised of three core partner Colorado school districts, Jefferson County, Brighton, and Mapleton, and the University of Colorado at Denver (CU-Denver) as the lead institution. Supporting partners include the University of Denver (DU), the Metropolitan State College of Denver (MSCD), and the Colorado State University (CSU) with affiliations to Ft. Lewis College, the Front Range Board of Cooperative Educational Services, and four school districts: Adams County 14, Englewood, Elizabeth, and Gilpin County. Over the five years of the project, approximately 600 teachers will be involved and 26,400 students in grades 6-8 will be impacted. The Rocky Mountain Middle School Math Science Partnership (RM-MSP) will increase student achievement in high quality mathematics and science coursework and reduce the achievement gap between minority and non-minority middle school students by focusing the combined expertise of seven school districts and four higher education institutions on implementation of challenging curriculum taught by highly qualified and diverse teachers in grades 6-8. Invoking the motto, "15 Months to HQ" (highly qualified), this project will institutionalize the development, adaptation, and implementation of university coursework, which will boost the content and pedagogical knowledge of middle school mathematics and science teachers. The RM-MSP goals are to:


  • Enhance Teacher Quality through intensive professional development that is grounded in scientifically-based research and tightly linked to quality instructional materials, and which results in certification for teaching mathematics or science in the middle grades and a corresponding endorsement in mathematics and science at the state level;

  • Enhance Access to Challenging Curriculum ensuring that all middle school students in the partner districts will have equitable access to challenging curriculum by supporting teachers and their districts in the implementation of challenging, research-based curriculum and providing outreach, intervention and research in "differentiated instruction," particularly as it relates to Native American and Hispanic students; and

  • Enhance the Teacher Pipeline through institutionalized improvements in pre-service preparation and recruitment focusing on expanding the supply and diversity of highly qualified middle grades teachers of mathematics and science. In order to obtain these ends, the RM-MSP is characterized by the weaving together of the following:

  • Summer Academies for teachers utilizing RM-MSP grant-developed university credit courses taught by science and mathematics disciplinary faculty;

  • Structured Follow-up to support teachers in translating enhanced content knowledge into instructional practice;

  • State Endorsements for middle grades teachers of science and mathematics;
  • Dissemination of summer academy courses on-line via a content delivery system integrating video/audio/lecture content to allow for access beyond the partner districts, particularly in rural areas;

  • Outreach and Interventions for middle grades and high school students involving summer camps and academic year content enrichment labs;

  • Research on the impact of camps on the content knowledge of student participants;

  • Grant-developed content courses incorporated into the core curriculum offerings for all students in liberal arts and sciences; and

  • Recruitment of pre-service teacher candidates with demonstrated talent in the mathematics and/or the sciences through designated departmental advisors who work to identify high ability undergraduates within partner institutions, as well as those in community colleges.