The University of Arizona (UA) and Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) partnership develops and implements a vertically integrated, nationally replicable Arizona Teacher Institute with the following components:
* A Master's Degree in Middle School Mathematics Leadership for middle school teachers, targets the large proportion of teachers who are elementary certified, * A Certificate in Mathematics Teacher Mentoring for secondary-certified teachers, * A Postdoctoral Fellowship in Teacher Preparation for recent mathematics Ph.D.'s.
In addition to teachers directly engaged, the project has long-term impact by establishing a permanent degree program serving regional and national audiences through distance learning. The Institute is designed so that, in addition to producing middle school teacher leaders, it trains secondary-certified teachers and postdoctoral faculty serving as instructors for distance versions of the courses in the Master's program, and eventually for future local versions of the Teacher Institute. Core mathematics courses in the Master's program are team-taught by mathematics faculty and master high school teachers. The number of teachers directly engaged in the Institute is 75 middle school teachers and 10 high school teachers.
The Intellectual Merit of the project is in the design of the Master's program, which draws heavily upon research suggesting that teacher professional development focuses on development of general content knowledge, knowledge of mathematics for teaching, and knowledge of how children think about and learn content. The belief that effective professional development focuses on "academic subject matter (content), gives teachers opportunities for 'hands-on' work (active learning), and is integrated into the daily life of the school (coherence) is also central to the design. The project draws on extensive experience at UA designing pre-service and in-service professional development programs for teachers, and builds on a developing teacher academy in TUSD.
Broader Impacts of the project are an increase in the number of faculty at the University of Arizona with a knowledge and understanding of how to support effective teacher preparation and in-service professional development. Through the Certificate in Mathematics Teacher Mentoring and Postdoctoral Fellowship in Teacher Preparation, a corps of mathematics teacher leaders and Ph.D. mathematicians from around the country having the knowledge and understanding to implement courses for the Master's program in their local areas are trained. A distance-learning version of the Master's program is implemented nationally. In addition, through collaboration with the UA Mathematics Department's Center for Recruitment and Retention, and its Center for the Mathematics Education of Latinos/as, the project broadens the recruitment of undergraduates into mathematics teaching, and assists in professional development of mathematics teachers in schools with high minority enrolments.