DePaul University’s Leading with Algebra (LWA) program engages middle and high school algebra teachers in collaboratively improving instructional practices aligned to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM). LWA provides in-person, teacher-to-teacher learning for Chicago Public School (CPS) algebra teachers and algebra resources that can be shared with teachers outside the program. LWA has made great strides in building CPS middle school teachers’ capacity to deliver impactful CCSSM algebra instruction to grade 8 students. Now they are expanding their blended-learning support to CPS high school teachers and teachers in California.
Strategies for Advancing Common Core
LWA’s 150 algebra teacher leaders participate in face-to-face professional learning communities (PLCs) to deepen their CCSS-aligned instructional practices. With DePaul University and CPS math coaches, they plan and facilitate learning activities for their respective grade 8 and 9 peers in the two algebra PLCs. Learning activities in the PLCs involve examining resources and practicing strategies that support a CCSSM-aligned algebra classroom. In between quarterly PLCs, teacher leaders continue collegial collaboration and learning in the Virtual Community of Practice.
To support peers beyond LWA, teacher leaders disseminate digital resources for CCSSM-aligned instruction in algebra and encourage other CPS math teachers to participate in the Virtual Community of Practice for peer collaboration. They also host Twitter discussions and present at conferences to broaden LWA’s reach.
Teacher Leadership Capacity
Selected teacher leaders have opportunities to plan agendas and co-facilitate the quarterly, three-hour PLC sessions in a supportive learning environment alongside faculty from DePaul University and CPS staff. Other teacher leaders have the opportunity to serve on an advisory group that helps develop the Virtual Community of Practice’s online professional learning based on teacher needs and best practices of online collaboration.
In partnership with the Silicon Valley Math Initiative (SVMI), DePaul’s LWA plans to support SVMI and CPS math teachers’ exchange of strategies for using formative assessment tasks to improve teaching of diverse learners. LWA’s strong partnership with CPS supports ongoing outreach to algebra teachers throughout the district.
1 E. Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60604
Carolyn Narasimhan, Director, STEM Center
Learn more about the 2013 – 2015 initiative of DePaul University.