on Use of Instructional Materials
Aims, Actions, Adaptations:
Coherent Policies and
CMSI Professional Development
One of the long-term goals of the CMSI was to have both a district infrastructure and set of policies that supported improved math and science instruction. This section describes how the professional development strategy contributed to building an infrastructure of support in two ways: through the design of yearlong professional development and by trying to leverage school budgets to extend implementation.
To meet teachers’ needs, the professional development workshops were offered in a grade-specific and instructional material-specific manner. In their first year of implementing the CMSI-supported instructional materials, teachers enrolled in New Users’ professional development, which started with an intensive, week-long summer experience and was followed by monthly sessions throughout the year, totaling approximately 50 hours of professional development during the one-year cycle. In their second year, teachers enrolled in Experienced Users’ professional development, which in its first inception included 40 hours of professional development during the year. In the 2007-2008 school year, the level of experienced-user training was 15-20 hours per one-year cycle (summer plus the following academic year). In this way program planners used the research findings of many (Guskey, 1995); (Cohen, et al., 1998); (Ball & Cohen, 1999); Loucks-Horsley, et al., 2003) that indicate that sustained professional development, when it is aligned with standards-based curricula and includes periods of teacher reflection on the process, can positively influence student achievement.
For the New User teacher, 50 hours of professional development represented a large investment in time and money. Summer professional development sessions generally consisted of three hours of training every day for one week. The intent was to provide teachers with enough training in their specific mathematics or science instructional materials to cover lessons through the first marking period of the school year. Academic-year sessions were delivered either during the school day or on Saturdays. Teachers received a stipend at a standard reimbursement rate for both summer sessions and for Saturdays, and for school-day sessions their schools received funds to pay for substitute teachers as needed. Funding for professional development in most cases came through the OMS, although in some cases state and private funding paid for stipend or substitute support. cite Private funding sources also enabled the purchase of instructional materials for some schools. cite
Under the site-based management structure, each school had control of their own budgets, and some of these funds were considered “discretionary.” In other words, principals could allocate these funds as they saw fit. For example, one principal might use discretionary funds to reduce class size by hiring additional teachers. Another principal might use discretionary funds to buy instructional materials. By providing schools with resources to start implementing the CMSI-supported instructional materials, the OMS hoped school principals would use their discretionary funds to purchase additional materials so that all classrooms could implement the materials. In this way, professional development support provided by the OMS could leverage further implementation.