The US Department of Education has awarded a Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant titled Foundations for Success: Developing Effective Mathematics Educators through Cognitively Guided Instruction to the Florida Center for Research in STEM (FRC-STEM) at Florida State University. This grant will provide Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) Professional Development (PD) to Florida teachers and study the impact of CGI PD on these teachers and their students. The CGI Math Teacher Learning Center will provide the CGI PD to teachers and principals in this project. The project will reach about 3,000 teachers and will impact up to 150,000 students over the next five years.
Dr. Robert Schoen, Associate Director, FCR-STEM, Florida State University, is the principal investigator on this grant. Dr. Walter Secada, Senior Associate Dean, University of Miami, and I will serve as co-principal investigators. Dr. Amanda Tazaz, Associate in Research, FCR-STEM, Florida State University, will serve as the Senior Project Manager.
One of the many things that excites me about this project is additional resources will be provided to teachers who work in schools that serve students with the greatest needs. We will work with teachers and others in these schools’ communities to identify how CGI PD can be enhanced to better serve teachers who work with students who have been traditionally underserved by US education. I am always looking for ways to improve our PD and am especially grateful to have additional resources for focusing on improving our CGI PD for teachers who work with the students who need us most.
Another reason that I am thrilled about this project is that teachers will have the opportunity to participate in up to three years of CGI PD in either the K-2 or 3-5 track. Teaching is a complex problem-solving activity. It is naïve and disrespectful to the profession to assume that teachers can make drastic changes in a short time period. I am thrilled that we will be able to support teachers for the time that it takes to make the sustained and generative changes in their practice that have been shown to have a positive effect on student outcomes.
One more thing that inspires me in this project is the fabulous people I will be working with. Our team of CGI PD leaders overwhelms me with their knowledge of students’ thinking, ability to support teachers’ growth, and dedication to this work. I have worked with each of our CGI PD leaders for at least eight years and some of them for over 25 years. Each and every one of these PD leaders continues to grow in her knowledge and skill each and every year. They keep me learning and growing right alongside them. I am also excited to continue to work with our Florida CGI colleagues. I have worked with Rob Schoen and Amanda Tazaz at Florida State University for the past five years. Rob is a dedicated educator and meticulous researcher, and he is especially generous with his time and attention. Amanda is also a dedicated educator who can provide structure and support to huge projects without overlooking a single item. Walter Secada was one of my professors in my first semester of graduate school in 1987. He has made many contributions to the field of mathematics education and has been instrumental in moving forward our thinking about social justice in math education. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be learning alongside all of these people over the next five years.
Dr. Linda Levi, Director of the CGI Math Teacher Learning Center