Mathematics & Science Partnership

WCAX video shows grade 5/6 students working in their Maker Space classroom at Monkton Central School; where they are learning about motion, forces, and making circuits.

The goal of the Mathematics & Science Partnership (MSP) is:

  1. To increase the academic achievement of students in mathematics and science by enhancing the content knowledge and teaching skills of classroom teachers;
  2. To build statewide capacity for professional development of K-12 staff by establishing networks of highly skilled teacher leaders in mathematics and science; and
  3. To develop partnerships among K-12 educators, STEM faculty, and higher education personnel.

Funds from the MSP are currently being used to support high quality professional development programs in Vermont.

MSP Program Grant

The focus of the 2016-2017 MSP grant competition is mathematics. The project that is awarded the K-12 Leadership in Mathematics grant will focus on the development of a cadre of highly competent math teacher leaders as well as the development of a course for teachers of special populations. One grant for up to $300,000 will be awarded to a partnership that includes educators from high-need schools and higher education STEM faculty.

Letters of Intent are due by October 30, 2015. The deadline for applications is December 15, 2015. For more information, contact Pat Fitzsimmons, MSP Coordinator, at (802) 479-1425 or

Mathematics and Science Partnership Projects July 2015 – June 2016

Extending the Vermont Mathematics Initiative to the High School Level
Project Director: Judi Laird

The Vermont Mathematics Initiative (VMI) is a program that over the past fifteen years has trained a cadre of over 400 K-8 teacher leaders which stretches across all of Vermont. Evaluation studies have indicated that the VMI has been highly successful in increasing the mathematics knowledge of K-8 teachers and raising student achievement, especially for students from low-income families. Unfortunately, student achievement at the high school level has been lagging behind. This proposal, therefore, allows the VMI to continue the program begun in 2013-14 (Year 1 of this grant) to extend from its K-8 focus to the high school level.

The work over the past two years has included developing and piloting mathematics content course materials and convening focus groups to aid in guiding the extension to high school. The current proposal, continues this work by aligning all aspects of the VMI graduate degree program to the high school level, and further developing materials appropriate for high school teachers. Partners on the proposal are the UVM Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the Vermont Mathematics Initiative, the Orange East Supervisory Union (OESU) and in particular the Oxbow High School. The project will continue to be informed by VMI graduates who are high school teachers and VMI faculty. Members of the UVM Department of Mathematics and Statistics and other VT institutions of higher education (St. Michael’s College, Middlebury College, etc.) will assist in course development and be available in an advisory capacity.

The VMI Master’s program encompasses four goals: (1) increased content understanding; (2) improved teaching effectiveness; (3) development of teacher leader skills; and, (4) action research that informs practice. The project will continue the work toward full integration of the high school curriculum into the existing VMI program, including all four of these focal areas and an emphasis on formative assessment practices. In general, the project will foster interaction and collaboration among K-12 teachers while providing appropriate grade span experiences. The content of courses #5 - #8 (the second year courses) in the VMI Master’s Degree curriculum will be augmented and adjusted for high school teachers. Much of the mathematics content will come from materials developed by Dr. Kenneth I. Gross during Year 1 of this grant, and additional material will be developed as needed. Susan Ojala will oversee the content expansion of VMI to the high school level.

Fran Huntoon, VMI Mathematics educator, will work closely with teachers at the Oxbow High School to establish a system of ongoing professional learning. She will support the Oxbow teachers who are enrolled in the VMI as they work to improve mathematics instruction for all Oxbow students. The experience at Oxbow High School will further inform the curriculum at the VMI as it pertains to High School teachers.

As a complementary aspect of this proposal, VMI will continue to partner with interested school districts and the Professional Learning Network (PLN) to deliver content focused VMI professional development (known informally as “Phase II”) regionally. The six-credit, Phase II experience includes VMI’s signature course, Mathematics as a Second Language as well as the second course in the Master’s Degree sequence, Functions and Algebra. VMI will also continue to admit cohorts of teachers into the Phase I Master’s Degree program. Preference will be given to teachers who have enrolled in Phase II who can count their Phase II experience as 6 credits toward the 36 credit VMI Master’s Degree. Through this strategy, leadership capacity will be further increased regionally.

VSI Science and Engineering Academy
Project Director: Alan Giese

Vision. The Vermont Science Initiative (VSI) is an established leader of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professional development (PD) in Vermont.  In recent years our programs have emphasized PD that balances and integrates the four STEM areas.  Through authentic science and engineering challenges teachers in our programs build new knowledge of core ideas and crosscutting concepts while practicing scientific thinking and the engineering design process.   Math is applied through pattern description and predictive analysis.  Technology is both a means (e.g. using technology to gather data) and an end (e.g. creating a technology to solve a problem).  The degree of alignment between our programs and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) has and continues to be high.  While we are proud of our accomplishments, there is more that needs to be done.  The vision of our proposed programs is to (1) expand and balance our statewide impact, and (2) position Vermont at the national vanguard of science education.

Goals. The proposed programs will have the following outcomes:

Activities and Key Features.  In the VSI Science and Engineering Academy teams of K-8 teachers will attend a summer institute plus three follow-up sessions dispersed across the school year. Year 1 will feature life-science instruction focused on the use of technology, math and engineering to solve environmental problems.  Teachers will develop and implement a science/engineering unit in their classroom.  Use of the NSTA’s online learning center and PLCs will foster collaborative learning, build a system of support, and promote reflective practice.  Content will change in Years 2 and 3.

In the NGSS Teacher Leader Program teams of K-12 teachers will attend a summer institute, then return to their districts and facilitate the training of 5-15 additional teachers.  The summer institute will utilize the newly developed NGSS Exemplar System (NGSX).  Year 1 will focus leading participants in our Pilot Program (currently underway) through facilitation at their home districts.  In collaboration with the NGSX developers, lessons learned from the Pilot Program will be applied to full implementation in Years 2 and 3.

Evaluation of the program will be based on pre and post content assessments, and pre and post self-report surveys.  Comfort with and employment of the project’s targeted instructional knowledge, practices, and dispositions will be assessed. A quasi-experimental design will be used to measure student gains in science practices and understanding using assessments developed by PEER Associates and other valid and reliable tools.

Partners will include districts or supervisory unions, Lyndon State College, Tidemark Institute, and Clark University.

The Vermont Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Leadership Institute - VSTEM LEADS
Project Director: Regina Toolin

The Vermont STEM Leadership Institute (VSTEM Leads) seeks to address urgent issues, questions and deficiencies in STEM education and achievement through the establishment of a 3-year STEM Leadership Program for K-12 teachers in Vermont. VSTEM Leads will provide ongoing STEM professional learning and leadership experiences for teachers to enhance the STEM knowledge, practices and pedagogical skills necessary to teach and prepare students for STEM achievement and college and career readiness, and to serve as STEM leaders within their schools and supervisory districts.

VSTEM Leads comprises a 4-day summer STEM leadership program for K-12 teachers conducted at UVM with follow-up professional learning experiences during the academic year at UVM and the partner schools. The primary goal of VSTEM-Leads is for teachers to actively engage in and reflect upon STEM content, practices, pedagogy and leadership models aligned with the NGSS, Common Core Mathematics/English Language Arts, and Transferable Skills Standards. Participants can then help to transform their schools into dynamic and exciting places of authentic and interdisciplinary STEM inquiry and learning for K-12 students. Coupled with these professional learning experiences are opportunities for teacher leaders to reflect upon meaningful ways to engage and mentor their peers in the principles and methods of project-based, place-based and proficiency-based experiences through the exploration of the principles and practices of scientific and engineering design. VSTEM professional learning experiences will emphasize three primary learning objectives:

  1. Teachers will demonstrate an understanding of STEM knowledge and concepts necessary to respond to the learning needs of all students. This includes a deep understanding of:
    • NGSS core knowledge and practices and VT Transferable Skills Proficiencies;
    • Common misconceptions that children hold in regard to fundamental science concepts;
    • Science as a way of thinking by engaging in Science and Engineering Practices;
    • Engineering is the practical application of mathematics and science;
    • Ways to integrate the knowledge of content, instruction, assessment and technology; and
    • Ways to integrate CC Math and Literacy into meaningful science learning opportunities.
  2. Teachers will demonstrate improved teaching skill and effectiveness with a focus on project, place, and proficiency-based teaching and learning.
  3. Teachers will develop leadership skills that include an understanding of the effective use of resources and tools to support the implementation of NGSS.

As part of VSTEM Leads program outcomes and requirements, participating teachers will:


Pat Fitzsimmons, Common Core/Math & Science Partnership Coordinator, at or (802) 479-1425

Page Last Updated on November 2, 2015