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Virginia’s Mathematics Specialist Initiative. Virginia’s Mathematics Specialists: Building from Past Initiatives. NSF: V-QUEST Lead Teacher Program SCHEV Eisenhower Professional Development Grant Projects ExxonMobil Leadership Projects Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition Task Force.

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Virginia’s Mathematics Specialist Initiative

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Virginia’s Mathematics Specialist Initiative

Virginia’s Mathematics Specialists: Building from Past Initiatives

  • NSF: V-QUEST Lead Teacher Program

  • SCHEV Eisenhower Professional Development Grant Projects

  • ExxonMobil Leadership Projects

  • Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition Task Force

Strong Statewide Collaboration

  • Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition

  • Virginia Institutes of Higher Education

  • Virginia Department of Education

  • Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics

  • Virginia Council of Supervisors of Mathematics

Overarching purpose for Mathematics Specialists

To increase the mathematics achievement of all the students in their schools.

What Mathematics Specialists Do


  • Provide leadership and content expertise for practice-

    based and job-embedded professional development

  • Collaborate with school-based administrators to

    coordinate the school’s mathematics program

  • Co-plan and co-teach with classroom teachers

  • Coach teachers

  • Mentor novice teachers

  • Collaborate to assess student learning and to plan

    for remediation or extension

  • Facilitate parent workshops

Classroom Teacher’s Quote

“I think of a Math Specialist not so much as a resource but as a mentor. I am being coached on math delivery. This is my first year teaching Investigations. Without the Math resource teacher, I honestly would be fumbling.”

5th Grade Teacher 2006

Classroom Teacher’s Quote

“There are more math phobic teachers out there than you realize. I know because I was one of them. I never made it to the top of multiplication mountain myself.

Last year when I moved from grade 3 to grade 5, I was particularly scared about teaching a higher level of math. By supporting my mathematics instruction, (mathematics specialist) has made me enthusiastic and confident about the challenge. I am able to share my excitement about math in the classroom.”

Classroom Teacher 2005

Elementary School Principal’s Quote

Having a Mathematics Specialist in my building has enabled me to gain valuable insight into how children process math concepts.

More importantly, this knowledge has facilitated a process in which I can confidently provide instructional guidance that is necessary for teachers to effectively differentiate instruction in a manner that acknowledges the very best practices necessary to impact student


Elementary School Principal May 2006

A K-8 Mathematics Specialist is

A teacher who has interest and special preparation in mathematics content, scientifically based research in the teaching and learning of mathematics, diagnostic and assessment methods, and leadership skills. The school-based mathematics specialist will serve as a resource in professional development, instructing children who have learning difficulties in mathematics, curriculum development and implementation, mentoring new teachers, and parent and community education.



Virginia’s Mathematics Specialist Endorsement

Graduate from an approved mathematics specialist preparation program (master’s level); or completed a master’s level program in mathematics, mathematics education, or related education field with 30 semester hours of graduate course work in the competencies listed, including at least 21 hours of coursework in undergraduate or graduate- level mathematics.

Current Grant Projects

  • VaDOE MSP: The Virginia Mathematics Specialist Project

  • NSF-TPC: Mathematics Specialists in K-5 Schools: Research and Policy Pilot

  • NSF-MSP: Institute: Preparing Virginia’s Mathematics Specialists

Statewide Master’s Degree Programs

  • University of Virginia

  • Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Norfolk State University

  • George Mason University

  • University of Longwood

  • Virginia Tech

Core Courses in Virginia’s Mathematics Specialist M.Ed. Programs

 The courses are specifically designed to develop competencies in the proposed mathematics specialist endorsement…..

Required Leadership Courses (9 Credits)

  • Leadership I: Standards and Standards Based Instruction

  • Leadership II: Working with Teachers Centered Around


  • Leadership III: Curriculum and Assessment Centered Around

    Lesson Study

    Elective Courses (6 Credits)

  • Research in Mathematics Education (3 Credits)

  • Working with Diverse Populations (3 Credits)

Overarching Goal for Mathematics Content Courses

Programs to prepare mathematics specialists must include the study of appropriate school mathematics content linked to classroom practice and model pedagogy essential for teaching that content and for building and sustaining communities of learners of mathematics.

Overarching Goal for Mathematics Content Courses

Mathematics specialists require a

  • deep understanding of K-8 mathematics and knowledge of its connections to higher levels of mathematics,

  • a comprehensive knowledge of the developmental sequence of mathematics concepts to understand how children make sense of mathematics,

  • and a command of various ways to assess students’ understanding of mathematics.

Core Courses in Virginia’s Mathematics Specialist M.Ed. Programs

 Required Mathematics Courses   (15 credits)

Numbers and Operations (Prerequisite for all other courses)

Functions and Algebra

Rational Numbers and Proportional Reasoning

Geometry and Measurement

Probability and Statistics

Elective Mathematics Courses ( 6 Credits)

Algebra for Middle School Mathematics Specialists (3 Credits)

Geometry for Middle School Specialists (3 Credits)

Contact Information

  • NSF Institute: Preparing Virginia’s Mathematics Specialists

  • Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition

  • Virginia Commonwealth University

  • University of Virginia

  • Norfolk State University

Contact Information

Loren D. Pitt

Dept. of Mathematics

University of Virginia

Charlottesville , VA 22904

[email protected]

William E. Haver

Dept. of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics

Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA 23284-2014

[email protected]

Vickie Inge

Mathematics Outreach

University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies

Charlottesville , VA 22904

[email protected]

Functions and Algebra Quote

“ I found that this Math Specialist Program placing (sp.) a lot of emphasis on understanding why a rule is the rule. In the beginning of this class I related the song “I will survive” to my high school algebra experience. During the beginning of this class, there was no doubt that this was going to be my “theme song” this time around as well. With all the emotional stress, mathematical challenges, and mathematical talk I’ve endured during this class I must say my theme song has retired and a new one is in town---”I believe I can prove, I believe I can justify.” {goes to the tune “I believe I can fly” by R. Kelly]

Spring 2005

Functions and Algebra Quote

“This two week intensive algebra and functions mathematics course was well worth the time and effort. I have gained a firmer understanding of algebraic functions, patterns, and properties. I feel more confident and competent with working with all grade levels, K-8, on mathematics.”

Summer Institute 2006

Functions and Algebra Quote

“During the reading I became totally fascinated with tables and their relationships with graphs and slopes. In Chapter 3 I really enjoyed Drew. The funny thing is as much as I HATE the focus questions, if not for having to answer I would not have understood Drew’s thinking.”

Summer Institute 2006

Rational Numbers and Proportional Reasoning Quote

“I gained more knowledge about how the basic aspects of rational numbers may be seen through illustration compared to how I was taught with formulas and/or computation.”

MSP Institute Participant 2006

Rational Numbers and Proportional Reasoning Quote

“In proportional reasoning, I would have solved most situations with a proportion—and solved for the missing value. Now, I can find other ways to do it. It’s much clearer understanding.”

MSP Institute Participant 2006

Rational Numbers and Proportional Reasoning Quote

“I think I will have students more actively involved in solving and creating problems and using manipulatives. I will focus on teaching the underlying meanings of rational numbers and the relationships they have with other areas of Mathematics.”

MSP Institute Participant 2006

Rational Numbers and Proportional Reasoning Quote

“The resources we had were very good. I thought the work we did from the Lamon book was excellent. I felt challenged by the work we did from this book. The Young Mathematicians at Work was a good book, but we only did several problems from this and we perhaps could have used this more. We also had the CMP units on Rational Numbers. Overall, I think the materials we had for this course were great, but I just don’t think the class connected these three resources all together.”

MSP Institute Participant 2006

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