What is TEAM-Math?
Transforming East Alabama Mathematics (TEAM-Math) is a partnership among Auburn University’s College of Education and College of Sciences and Mathematics, Tuskegee University, and fifteen school districts (Alexander City, Auburn City, Barbour County, Bullock County, Chambers County, Elmore County, Eufaula City, Lanett City, Lee County, Macon County, Opelika City, Phenix City, Russell County, Tallapoosa County, and Tallassee City), along with other organizations.
What is the Mission of TEAM-Math?
To enable all students to understand, utilize, communicate, and appreciate mathematics as a tool in everyday situations in order to become life-long learners and productive citizens by Transforming East Alabama Mathematics (TEAM). This mission will be met by:
- Aligning the curriculum K-12.
- Ensuring consistency in teaching
- Providing professional development
What is the Goal of TEAM-Math?
The goal of the partnership is to systemically improve mathematics education in this region, including increasing overall student achievement; addressing gaps in performance between demographic groups; enhancing the professional knowledge of practicing teachers who teach mathematics; developing a cadre of knowledgeable teacher leaders; and improving the preparation of prospective teachers at the university level.
Why Do We Need TEAM-Math?
TEAM-Math is responding to a critical need in East Alabama. Mathematics achievement in this area is lagging behind the state average, and there are significant gaps in mathematics achievement between different subgroups by income level and race. All of our students need and deserve a quality mathematics education to succeed in life.
Moreover, schools and teachers are under increasing pressure to improve mathematics achievement and may face serious consequences if they do not succeed. Colleges are also under pressure to improve their preparation of teachers of mathematics. TEAM-Math is dedicated to helping schools and universities in East Alabama meet these challenges.
Why Do We Need a Partnership?
- TEAM-Math represents a unique effort to improve mathematics education in East Alabama.
- It is a partnership of teachers and university faculty working together in a collaborative spirit to solve the problems they face.
- By working together, the TEAM-Math partners can pool their resources, their experiences, and their expertise so that mathematics education can be improved across the region.
- TEAM-Math is a “team effort”!
How Will the Mathematics Curriculum Change?
The partner school districts, in consultation with the universities, are transforming the mathematics curriculum so that it builds from kindergarten to grade 12 and on into college. This curriculum is built on the Alabama Course of Study for mathematics and the national standards for school mathematics established by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. It provides a rigorous and engaging curriculum for all students.
How Will Mathematics Instruction Change?
Students need to know more than mathematical facts and procedures, they need to be able to apply their knowledge to solve problems in mathematics and in real life. Students need to understand not just how to do mathematics, but why it works. To accomplish this goal, TEAM-Math seeks to expand the teachers’ mathematical knowledge, as well as their range of instructional tools, so that they can increase the learning of all students. Rather than relying on “show and tell”, teachers will help students to become more autonomous learners of mathematics through the use of engaging problems and innovative instructional practices, including reading and writing in the mathematics classroom and working collaboratively.
What Are the Benefits of Participating in TEAM-Math?
While the primary benefit is improved student achievement and understanding of mathematics, there are other benefits as well. Teachers will receive an intensive professional development experience that is tied to the Alabama Course of Study and TEAM-Math curriculum, materials and resources ready for classroom use, a daily stipend for participating in TEAM-Math sponsored activities, as well as professional development credit and opportunities for graduate credit.
How Do We Know TEAM-Math Will Succeed?
TEAM-Math is based on the best available research about teaching and learning, and on methods used in other successful programs around the country. The partnership is taking the “best of the best” of these ideas and adapting them to meet the needs in East Alabama. In addition, the project belongs to a network of “Mathematics Science Partnership” projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), so that the partnership has access to the best ideas being created across the country.
What Are TEAM-Math’s Plans?
TEAM-Math has been in operation since April of 2020. In that time, the partnership developed a Curriculum Guide to match the material covered at each grade level with the Alabama Course of Study and the Team-Math objectives. Once the Curriculum Guide was in place, a team completed a review of available textbooks to determine which best meet project goals. TEAM-Math also began working on the building of teacher leaders who can help other teachers improve. Additionally, University faculty are beginning to analyze and redesign their teacher preparation programs.
Since receiving a $9,000,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, the partnership is beginning to scale up its activities. This funding will allow the partnership to provide intensive, sustained professional development to all teachers in East Alabama who teach mathematics over the next five years. The first group of teachers began professional development Summer 2020, and a new group of teachers will enter the program each summer for the following three years. The partnership will also begin work on recruiting new teachers to Alabama and on retaining the teachers already here.