NYC Mathematics Project

Who We Are

History

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 schools and teachers for 21 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.

Goals

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 standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, the NCSM PRIME leadership document, the NYC Professional Standards for Leaders, and the New York State standards and mathematics core curriculum into graduate courses and seminars and 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.

Beliefs

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.

Professional Development Design

One key to improving teacher practice and student performance is providing professional development that is coherent, and consistent. We believe teacher expertise and student outcomes build over time and within the context of each school. The New York City Mathematics Project offers professional development in mathematics education that is based on three mutually-reinforcing principles: 1) instruction-focused professional development for a critical mass of teachers in the form of site-based seminars or study groups; 2) guided practice for teachers through coaching and mentoring; 3) support for instructional leadership development. Our work follows a balanced approach to mathematics, incorporating skill development, conceptual understanding, and problem solving.

Results

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;

Funders

NYCMP was one of the first recipients of multi-year funding from the NSF to shape reform of and implement standards for mathematics education in New York City. By providing professional-development services to K-12 teachers in NYC public schools for 21 years, NYCMP has established itself as one of the leading professional-development programs in mathematics education, sustaining funding from the NSF, NY State Education Department, NYC Department of Education, and the Greenwall Foundation. Currently, the NYCMP is a partner in the Lehman College NSF Math Science Partnership funded program, Mathematics Teacher Transformation Institutes, and also a partner in a NYS MSP Title IIB grant.

Contact

Suzanne C. Libfeld, Director
New York City Mathematics Project
Lehman College
250 Bedford Park Boulevard West
Bronx, NY 10468
Phone: 718.960.8758
Fax: 718.960.8054
E-Mail: SuzLi@aol.com  

Last modified: Feb 13, 2013

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