January 27, 2009 (Vol. 9, No. 1)
New Institutes at Lehman Aim to Help Bronx Teachers Improve Student Math Scores
Lehman College has launched a new initiative to help Bronx middle and high school teachers improve student performance on the New York State math Regents exams. The Mathematics Teacher Transformation Institutes (MTTI), funded by a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, will provide up to 80 teachers with training and leadership development in math over the next five years. They, in turn, will provide support to colleagues in their schools.
Student success in the Regents math curriculum is considered essential both for admission to college and for completion of undergraduate studies. "Many fields require a secure knowledge of basic high school mathematics," said Lehman Mathematics Professor and MTTI Principal Investigator Christina Sormani. "One of our top priorities is to increase the rate of students scoring above 85 percent on the first two new mathematics Regents exams: algebra and geometry."
The 42 teachers in MTTI's first cohort represent 20 high schools and 12 middle schools in the Bronx. Teachers will participate in mathematics enrichment courses; conduct research to gauge the effectiveness of various teaching methods; and receive direct leadership training so they can work with fellow teachers and administrators to improve other students' math achievement. The teachers will earn 23-24 graduate credits, as well as a certificate, through the free program.
The program was launched at a conference at Lehman on January 10, attended by participating teachers, school principals, NYC Department of Education representatives, Lehman mathematics and mathematics education faculty, and affiliates of the Institute for Literacy Studies.
In his remarks at the meeting, Lehman President Ricardo R. Fernández said that "a strong foundation in mathematics is crucial to excelling in today's global marketplace, where quantitative skills and analysis and proficiency with technology are integral to so many businesses. Yet, the achievement gap for American students continues to widen in the areas of math and science." He described the teachers enrolled in the MTTI as "determined to help the young people of the Bronx close that gap and advance in mathematics."
The program represents a collaboration among Lehman's Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Middle and High School Education, the Institute for Literacy Studies at Lehman College, and the New York City Department of Education.