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Ivan Cheng and Ken Berry California State University Northridge ARCHES California P-16 Collaboration and Student Success Conference June 20, 2007. DREAMS: A Model for Leveraging Collaboration to Promote Student Success in Algebra. Background What we did ARCHES collaborative

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Dreams a model for leveraging collaboration to promote student success in algebra

Ivan Cheng and Ken Berry

California State University Northridge

ARCHES California P-16

Collaboration and Student Success Conference

June 20, 2007

DREAMS:A Model for LeveragingCollaboration to Promote StudentSuccess in Algebra



What we did

ARCHES collaborative

The SITTE model

Principles of SITTE

Process of SITTE

What’s next

DREAMS project

Ongoing work

Building the pipeline for career technology

What more is needed?



What is the Context?

In 2000, successful completion of first year algebra became a high school graduation requirement in California.

Algebra success rate in high schools is low in Los Angeles Unified School District.

Failure in algebra “triggers dropouts more than any single subject” according to former Superintendent Roy Romer.



What is Algebra?

What is the algebra that students need?

<discussion and sample>

Each year, approximately 1200 Ph.D.s are awarded in mathematics.

Each year there are approximately 3.8 million ninth graders.

This means only 0.03% of the student population go on to study advanced math.



What is Needed?

“To improve their mathematics instruction, teachers must be able to analyze what they and their students are doing and consider how those actions are affecting students’ learning.” NCTM Principles and Standards, p. 18



What is Needed?

“Teachers learn well just as students do — by studying, doing, and reflecting; by col-laborating with other teachers; by looking closely at students and their work; and by sharing what they see.”

Darling-Hammond (1999), p. 12



What is “Six Sigma”?

A business term for describing the improvement process

Refers to the number of standard deviations required to achieve “3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO)”

For 3.8 million ninth graders each year, this means fewer than 13 will fail!!!



Applying Six Sigma Principles

Process focuses on specific projects.

Each project focuses on specific outcomes with decisions driven by evidence.

Each project limited to specific timeframe.

Supported by “green belts,” “black belts,” and “champions.”


What we did

ARCHES Collaborative

Los Angeles Unified School District

California State University Northridge

Los Angeles Mission College

Project GRAD Los Angeles

Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley

What We Did

What we did1

ARCHES Collaborative

Designed a pilot project based on research from the Inter-session Teaching and Training (ITT) project in 2004

Implemented Student Improvement Through Teacher Empowerment (SITTE) pilot projects in 2006

What We Did

What we did2

The SITTE Model

Professional development aligned with district instructional guidance systems

Professional development situated in the context of actual classroom teaching

Daily collaborative lesson planning during summer school or inter-session

Reflecting on and refining lessons based on ongoing recognition of student thinking

What We Did

What we did3

Principles of SITTE

Consideration of the local school context

Use of teachers’ knowledge to generate solutions to their students’ learning needs

A focus on student learning rather than teacher improvement

A well defined time frame for the work

The availability of resources rather than mandated strategies or curricula

What We Did

What we did4

Professional Development as a Lever

What We Did

Principles of SITTE


Learning &



What we did5

Process of SITTE


Act Do


What We Did

What we did6

Process of SITTE


Establish Experiment


What We Did

Student Thinking

What we found
What We Found

What happens when teachers are provided the social space in which they can engage in collaborative inquiry while actually teaching?

What we found1
What We Found

  • Teachers demonstrated an awareness of student thinking

    • Acquaintance with alternative solutions

    • Watchfulness of student misconceptions

    • Attentiveness to student attitudes

    • Responsiveness to student reasoning

    • Expectation of trajectories in student thinking

  • Teachers applied their knowledge of student thinking

    • Guiding principles for lesson design

    • Greater use of inquiry lessons

What we found2
What We Found

  • Teachers demonstrated flexibility and resourcefulness

    • Departing from the textbook

    • Designing lessons based on student learning needs

  • Teachers exhibited a sense of efficacy and confidence to find instructional solutions

    • Attitudes about students

    • Attitudes about self

  • Teachers demonstrated interdependence and teamwork

    • During SITTE

    • After SITTE

What we found3
What We Found

Comparisons by Subject (Algebra 1A)

What we found4
What We Found

Comparisons by Calendar Track

What we found5
What We Found

Comparisons with Same Teachers

What s next

DREAMS Project

Summer program for at-risk middle school students

Students are provided pre-algebra instruction, study skills, robotics, field trips, and food

Teachers are paid to teach and engage in professional development daily using the SITTE model

What’s Next?

What s next1

DREAMS Project

Robotics program through Los Angeles Mission College

Students receive college credit; Mission College generates FTES

Curriculum provides context for studying mathematics

Builds rigor, relevance, and relationships

What’s Next?

What s next2

Ongoing Work

Math teachers continue working with students from summer class

Ongoing professional development to infuse robotics into curriculum

Additional grant funding to scale up work to change culture and help teachers become “collaboration ready”

What’s Next?

What s next3

Building the Pipeline

Partner with businesses to provide jobs and internships

Create a pipeline of opportunities through rigor, relevance, and relationships

Provide a future for students by cultivating dreams

What’s Next?

What s next4

What More is Needed?


What’s Next?


It’s Done For Teachers, Not To Teachers

Professional development must be focused on what teachers want to help them improve student learning.


It Takes Teamwork

Professional development requires a collaborative effort for teachers to find what works for them where they’re at.

It’s About Time

Inter-session (or summer school) provides the place and time where teachers can work as a team to find solutions to their own professional needs.

Thank you

Ivan Cheng icheng@csun.edu


Ken Berry ken.bery@csun.edu

ARCHES California P-16

Collaboration and Student Success Conference

June 20, 2007

Thank You