on Use of Instructional Materials
Scale: Developing Internal Scheduling
At the start of the Chicago Math & Science Initiative (CMSI), 81 elementary schools with approximately 10 teachers each began implementing one of the CMSI-supported instructional materials. CMSI support included professional development specific to each set of materials. This professional development was not a single, cursory workshop but about 50 hours of training delivered through a series of yearlong sessions. As implementation continued, the number of professional development hours varied according to teacher experience level and the year of CMSI implementation (adjustments were made from 2004-2008).
In the summer of 2003, 898 teachers participated in 18,818 person-hours of CMSI professional development. During the 2004-2005 school year, the participating schools expanded implementation from one teacher per grade level to all teachers at all grade levels. In addition, 279 other elementary schools began to implement the CMSI-supported instructional materials. Together these schools sent 1,495 teachers to the CMSI professional development, for a total of 25,415 person-hours. An additional 2,345 elementary teachers prepared to implement the materials the following year. They spent 34,024 person hours in CMSI “readiness” professional development. (CUSP Annual Report, 2006).
This scaling up had significant implications for the OMS’s ability to provide on-going, grade-level professional development. It required both acquisition of CPS space (to conduct these sessions) and a large number of instructors to provide the professional development. The program planners attempted to enhance sustainability by developing internal capacity to deliver the training, through the PDLs for example, rather than relying solely on external consultants.
Teachers could choose CMSI professional development offered in weekday or Saturday sessions and at multiple sites throughout the city to facilitate participation. During the 2006-2007 school year, 322 materials- and grade-specific professional development sessions took place. In October alone, 46 of the 54 sessions (~85%) took place concurrently, stretching the human resources available to provide this professional development and straining the district’s ability to provide space for it.
Prior to the CMSI, no scheduling system existed in CPS that handled this scale of professional development. Therefore, OMS staff had to coordinate scheduling with many intermediaries outside the office. Some of the issues they faced included:
- Scheduling professional development in coordination with the official CPS calendar
- Securing venues to hold all of the professional development sessions (e.g., utilizing local schools, partnering with The Museum of Science and Industry and local universities to use space on their sites)
- Developing useable accounting measures to document teacher registration and attendance so correct numbers of CPDUs/CEUs could be recorded
- Developing data management systems to: schedule sessions, register teachers, document attendance (so that person-hours would accurately account for teachers' time away from their school building), pay for teacher stipends, and reimburse schools for substitute teachers.