About the Elementary Mathematics Specialists & Teacher Leaders (EMS&TL) Project

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McDaniel College’s Elementary Mathematics Specialists and Teacher Leaders Project (ems&tl) includes the following components and goals:

  1. A master of science degree program which includes Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) certification as an Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leaders (EMIL);
  2. A nationally respected clearinghouse designed to address the growth, development, and ongoing needs relative to elementary mathematics specialists;
  3. Collaborative work with a core group of elementary mathematics specialists from central Maryland.  This element of the ems&tl Project provides project leaders with the needs and day-to-day challenges, milestones, and ideas which influence our work;
  4. Providing professional development opportunities for area elementary mathematics specialists;
  5. Providing professional development for mathematics specialists – nationally, through the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics’ (NCSM) leadership conferences, prior to National Council of Teachers of Mathematics regional conferences and during the NCSM Summer Leadership Academy.
  6. The project seeks to determine the impact of work related to mathematics specialists at the regional and national level through the study of course offerings at the college/university level; review of state certification efforts; and analysis of school and school district programs which involve specialists, with particular attention to student achievement and teacher background. 

The ems&tl Project has established the Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leader program (EMIL) as an integral and growing component of McDaniel College’s Graduate and Professional Studies program and, in 2010 McDaniel College became the first college/university in the state of Maryland to receive Maryland State Department of Education approval for the Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leader (EMIL) certification endorsement.  The Project has also established and expanded on its national clearinghouse website.  The website which will soon surpass over 100,000 hits includes the following sources of information relative to the work of the elementary mathematics specialists: school district-based initiatives which involve elementary mathematics specialists; college and university graduate level programs for mathematics specialists; state certification guidelines for elementary mathematics specialists; publications ranging from texts to testimonies, and the more recent discussion forum which includes the soon to be popular “This Worked!” activities for specialists. 

The ems&tl Project will continually update the Project’s clearinghouse with the hope that the site’s discussion forum and “this worked” activities will engage more specialists.  The Project will continue to develop case-based work focused on mathematics content, pedagogy, and the leadership issues which face mathematics specialists.  The cases will be provided within on-line modules and are designed to ensure the continuing professional development for mathematics specialists.  This work will always be generated locally, piloted regionally, and disseminated nationally.   

As indicated, the ems&tl work involves the development of interactive, online leadership modules for elementary mathematics specialists. This work, initially supported by the Cisco Learning Institute (CLI) was developed in conjunction with an effort in mathematics and pedagogy at the University of Michigan. The ems&tl collaboration with the University of Michigan extends the work of the Project by providing leadership activities in conjunction with the University of Michigan sessions related to the mathematical knowledge for teaching efforts involving fractions.  Project Director, Francis (Skip) Fennell, and colleagues Jon Wray, Howard County (MD) Public Schools, and Beth Kobett (Stevenson University) lead the effort in developing leadership module(s) based on the experiences of a cadre of experienced mathematic specialists from the region. The leadership modules are currently being piloted regionally and have had some national exposure.  This work will be a component of the University of Michigan project which focuses on the mathematics content and pedagogy background of elementary teachers.

The ems&tl Project recently received support from WestED to consider use of the Doing What Works (DWW) materials related to Mathematics Intervention, the work of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel and the more recent What Works Clearinghouse report on Fractions (2010).  These materials will be critically reviewed by a core group of project mathematics specialists and graduate students preparing to be mathematics specialists/instructional leaders.  This group will present a plan for regional use of the Doing What Works materials by participating specialists in the 2011 regional professional development days of the ems&tl Project

Dr. Francis (Skip) Fennell is the Project Investigator (PI) of the ems&tl Project. Jon Wray serves as project manager and Beth Kobett is lead consultant for the project. The project began in the Spring/Summer of 2009 and will continue through December, 2012.

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