Creating Mathematically Connected Communities

    MC² Summer Professional Learning Framework
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM 88003

Mathematically Connected Communities (MC²) is an implementation and research project that utilizes a systemic approach for professional learning in partner school districts in New Mexico. Using the MC² Capacity-Building Model, a series of summer professional learning experiences have been designed and implemented in multiple classrooms, as a process for supporting teaching and learning in mathematics.

MathLab™ situates professional learning for teachers and administrators in K-12 classroom practice, utilizing live video-streaming for facilitating the participants’ learning environment. Video streaming the lessons from math classroom labs to teacher observation rooms allows for student voices to be at the forefront of the experience. 
In the morning:
  • Teacher Leaders implement a student-centered lesson in selected grade level classrooms
  • Participants observe students doing mathematics and discuss pedagogical practices with their peers 
In the afternoon, participants:
  • Delve deeper into the mathematics behind the lesson 
  • Leave with familiarity related to how students learn mathematics, including what they understand and don’t understand
  • Gain knowledge on how to enact effective strategies that promote collaboration and conceptual understanding of math for diverse learners
Math Institute provides partner district teachers who attended MathLab™ with the opportunity for studying mathematics to further deepen their individual understanding of mathematical concepts presented in MathLab™. The Institute is organized into grade bands so teachers can develop pedagogical content knowledge relevant to the mathematics they teach.  Teachers work alongside mathematicians to deeply understand the conceptual underpinnings of the concepts in the state mathematics standards and build a repertoire of strategies for incorporating the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Content and Mathematical Practices (CCSS-M) into daily lessons.

The overall plan for summer professional learning integrates theories, research, and models of human learning to achieve its intended outcomes (Learning Designs Professional Learning Standard, 2011). It is framed by an understanding of the systemic change process, including:
  • Concerns-Based Adoption Model-CBAM (Holloway, 2003)
  • Kotter 8-Step Change Process (NMCCSS Implementation Plan, 2012)
  • Six Strategies for a Change (Bradley, Munger, Hord, 2015)
  • Implementing the Four Levels: A Practical Guide for Effective Evaluation of Training Programs (Kilpatrick, Kilpatrick, 2007)

The professional organization, Learning Forward (2011), and multiple researchers (Cohen & Hill, 2001; Blank, de las Alas & Smith, 2008) have found that isolated teacher professional development workshops, even when highly rated by teachers, have little effect on changing classroom practice.   MC² summer professional learning is designed to increase student achievement in mathematics by escalating teacher knowledge/skills and providing ongoing support for changing practice.  This requires at least 14 hours of relevant professional learning opportunities if student learning is to be affected (DeMonte, 2013). MC² provides 60 hours of summer professional learning with the opportunity for additional follow-up hours. Organized opportunities for collaboration and assessment are part of an ongoing cycle of continuous improvement, which require teachers to study mathematics content, curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment (DuFour, Eaker, DuFour, 2005). Hightower, Delgado, Lloyd, Wittenstein, Sellers, and Swanson (2011) determined that teacher quality has been consistently identified as the most important school-based factor in student achievement.

Professional learning opportunities in mathematics content and pedagogy are essential to support teachers as they encounter the higher expectations of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M) (NGA & CCSSO, 2010).  All aspects of the MC² project are framed by research about Teacher Professional Learning as summarized above. In addition to research on teacher professional learning, the MC² Summer Professional Learning Framework is comprised of the topics below: 

For a copy of the complete framework including details of the topics above click here.

For more information, questions, and/or comments, email