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Institute for School Partnership-led efforts to improve math outcomes featured in national publication

An ISP-led collaboration with three St. Louis area school districts aimed at improving math outcomes for all students is featured in Success Stories from Catalyzing Change, a new book published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).

Available now on pre-order, the book, edited by Karen J. Graham, Robert Q. Berry III, Sarah B. Bush, and DeAnn Huinker, includes stories about the challenges and successes of implementing equitable teaching practices in classrooms everywhere. 

One of the chapters, Using a Framework for Continuous Improvement to Catalyze Change in Middle School Mathematics, is co-authored by ISP Associate Director Rachel Ruggirello and Briana Trager, a former STEM coordinator from the Mehlville School District. Both participated in STEMpact District Immersion (DI), a three-year effort designed to provide deep, systematic instructional support at the classroom level for math teachers and coaches, as well as administrators from Mehlville, Ritenour and Maplewood Richmond Heights School Districts.

Co-authors Briana Trager, a former STEM coordinator from the Mehlville School District (left) and ISP Associate Director Rachel Ruggirello

“Sharing our critical work with other educators across the nation who are likely presented with comparable challenges and a desire to invite more students to engage in math learning with confidence is a wonderful opportunity,” says Ruggirello. “It’s also very significant to co-write this chapter on the work of the network with someone like Briana, who has been enthusiastic and committed to the work of STEM DI. Collaborating on this chapter provided an opportunity for us to build upon a core set of knowledge, uplifting practitioner voices, in order to connect research and practice.”

Stories featured throughout the publication share approaches addressing one or more of the four key recommendations from the book: 

  • Broaden the purposes of learning mathematics
  • Create equitable structures in mathematics
  • Implement equitable instruction
  • Develop deep mathematical understanding

STEMpact DI was established in 2019 as a response to educators’ expressed need for instructional support at the classroom level. With an ISP team of highly skilled math instructional specialists and educational researchers, leadership teams from all three districts have an opportunity for shared learning, professional development and ongoing assessment to ensure equitable math learning. The work is grounded in research that outlines the design elements of the most effective professional learning programs to impact student achievement.  

STEMpact is a program administered by the Institute for School Partnership at Washington University in St. Louis (ISP).