The New York City Mathematics Project (NYCMP), a nationally-recognized professional development program of the Institute for Literacy Studies at Lehman College, CUNY, has been providing support in mathematics education to NYC public school teachers and administrators for 25 years. During this time, more than 7,000 teachers have reached over 200,000 students by taking part in Project-sponsored graduate seminars, workshops, study groups and special programs. The NYCMP held its first summer institute for teachers in 1988. In response to the critical need to improve mathematics education locally and nationally, the National Science Foundation awarded its first grant to the NYCMP in 1989. Since then, the Mathematics Project has provided ongoing professional development, on-site consulting, mentoring services and leadership development to PreK-12 teachers and administrators throughout New York City and is supported by both public and private funding.
The NYCMP believes that all students have a right to high quality educational opportunities. We also believe that classroom practices should emphasize pedagogy based on a theory of learning that stresses problem solving and conceptual development. Teachers in NYCMP programs experiment with active, inquiry-based approaches. We believe these approaches contribute to students' success in school, college, the community and the workplace. Our experience has taught us that the key to improving teacher practice and student performance in mathematics is through developing stable, long-term professional development relationships with schools. We anchor our professional development model in the belief that teachers bring knowledge, expertise, and leadership to their practice.
Our goal is to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics in NYC public schools. We promote teachers' development of new approaches in the classroom by integrating the NYS Common Core Learning Standards, standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, the NCSM PRIME leadership document, into graduate courses and seminarsand support that teachers receive from on-site consultants on a weekly basis. We seek to deepen teachers' conceptual understanding of mathematics, mathematics curricula and how students learn mathematics. We encourage teachers to demonstrate their knowledge through informed and thoughtful observation of how students learn and implement classroom practices that address students' needs. In all of our work, we facilitate ways in which teachers can connect new learning with their existing knowledge, skills, and beliefs. We also seek to improve school-based capacity by working closely with principals and other administrators. We expect that our work with educators will bring about improved outcomes for students: greater achievement in conceptualization and reasoning, increased appreciation for the power and usefulness of mathematics, increased ability to communicate mathematically, increased self-confidence, and an overall improvement in attitude toward learning.
The NYCMP's approaches to mathematics instruction take hold. In the majority of schools where the Mathematics Project has been a presence for a year or more, student performance on standardized tests, including Regents exams, improves. Data from our most recent external evaluation further reveal that:
- 90% of 6,000 students in grades K-8 improved their scores on a specially designed test aimed at gauging knowledge of mathematics and written communication skills;
- Improvement in mathematics performance occurred regardless of students' gender, race, ethnicity, or English language skills;
- 94% of participating teachers affirm that the NYCMP made a positive impact on their teaching of mathematics;