The rural outreach program entitled Improving Mathematics Achievement in Rural Schools (IMARS) was designed to improve the effectiveness of rural middle school math teachers in standards-based mathematics and literacy integration. The IMARS program was a collaborative of CEURE and four rural school districts in Western New York. Intensive professional development training focused on constructivist techniques, New York State Mathematics standards, and assessment techniques. The instruction was delivered via distance learning and face-to-face sessions to a team of math teachers from each district. The program was designed to overcome the barriers in delivering high-quality, sequential and current professional development to teachers in the remote regions of Western New York.
Each district sent a team of 3 to 5 math teachers in grades 5 through 8. The participating rural teachers received 20 hours of professional development focusing on standards-based mathematics instruction in grades 5 – 8, through six workshops with sessions scheduled approximately every six to eight weeks. The IMARS participants formed an informal network, sharing suggestions and State Education Department information frequently via email. Teachers also gained familiarity with online resources. They were very appreciative of a chance to network with other math teachers and indicated that one of their challenges was the relative isolation of rural math teachers. Most of the participants were the only person teaching math at their grade level in their district. The IMARS workshops began the development of a rural school consortium that will continue in the future.
- Dr. Susan McMillen
- Dr. Nancy Chicola
- Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES
- Bolivar-Richburg Central School District
- Belfast Central Schools
- Ellicottville Central Schools
- Salamanca Central Schools