# MIS Mathematics and Science Leadership (Mathematics Specialists)

Mathematics Specialists are teacher leaders with strong preparation and background in mathematics content, instructional strategies, and school leadership. Based in elementary and middle schools, mathematics specialists are excellent teachers who are released from full time classroom responsibilities so that they can support the professional growth of their colleagues, promoting enhanced mathematics instruction and student learning throughout their schools. They are responsible for strengthening classroom teachers’ understanding of mathematics content, sharing research that addresses how students learn mathematics, and helping teachers develop more effective mathematics teaching practices that allow all students to reach high standards.

The Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies, Mathematics and Science Leadership track is designed to prepare inservice K-8 teachers to be mathematics specialists. The program is offered in a cohort model. It is a state approved program that meets all of the requirements for the Virginia mathematics specialist endorsement. Teachers must have at least three years of experience in K-8 classrooms and a strong interest in mathematics to apply.

**Degree Requirements: **The degree requirements are described in the University Bulletin.

**Formation of Cohorts: **Twenty eight teachers have been admitted to the program and to participate in a cohort, beginning summer 2015. Funding is being sought for an additional cohort to begin in 2016

**Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition** VCU faculty provided leadership in the Virginia Mathematics Specialist Initiative. This collaborative effort has spanned 20 years and has been supported by the ExxonMobil Foundation, the United States Department of Education and the National Science Foundation. Virginia Mathematics Specialist Core Program

**The Elementary Mathematics Specialist’s Handbook. **The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics commissioned the Virginia Mathematics Specialist Initiative to develop this handbook to support specialists nationwide. http://www.nctm.org/store/Products/The-Elementary-Mathematics-Specialist-s-Handbook/

**Research on Impact of Mathematics Specialists.** VCU faculty and others nationwide have conducted research of the impact of mathematics specialists. The research has provided evidence that over time Mathematics Specialists help classroom teachers develop more effective teaching practices that positively affect student learning and achievement. For more information visit Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition page Research on Mathematics Specialists.

**Change the Equation** In April 2015 the Virginia Mathematics Specialist Initiative was independently “vetted and cleared a very high bar for quality as a proven and highly scalable STEM education program” “to help business leaders and funders maximize their impact on STEM education”. http://www.changetheequation.org/