MEC Community Engagement Model Components engage diverse audiences with mathematics, issues and proven strategies to help all students reach their mathematical potential.
Components of MEC’s Community Engagement Model ensure that educators, parents and community members actively engage with mathematics and consider relevant issues in mathematics education. Components prepare participants to implement strategies to help each child learn the mathematics they need in school and after graduation. MEC components offer a range of learning opportunities for each audience over a five-year period.
In addition, the substantive leadership development strand embedded in multiple components prepares communities to sustain continuous mathematics improvement, reaching the ultimate goal: every student achieving her or his mathematics potential.
MEC Model Components
Community Math Nights
MEC Math Nights build capacity of educators and community members to learn, plan, collaborate and take action toward transforming practices and student learning in mathematics classrooms.
Community Math Nights are for parents, teachers, administrators, business and community leaders, university faculty, members of the press and the public-at-large. These semi-annual evening sessions actively engage participants as learners – developing common understandings of innovative instructional practices that support student learning in today’s classroom. Math Night sessions generate informed, independent decision-making and parent knowledge of how to help their child with math. These sessions also build support for teachers and students as current practices in mathematics classrooms are being advanced.
Mathematics Content Courses
MEC’s K-20 Mathematics Content Courses ensure that teachers are well prepared in mathematics, bridge the gap between K-12 and higher education, and model differentiated instruction to meet the range of learner needs found in today’s classrooms.
Nine-day Mathematics Content Courses are for elementary, middle school, high school and university level (K-20) teachers of mathematics. MEC summer mathematics content courses immerse teachers in an environment that fully models the in-depth mathematical content, instructional practices, including inquiry-based mathematics, and assessment strategies found in high-quality mathematics classrooms. The K-20 range of learners in each MEC course provides experience with and a model for differentiated instruction that meets a wide range of learner needs. The K-20 span also results in close working relationships between K-12 teachers and higher education faculty, bridging the gap between K-12 and higher education and allowing for a more seamless transition for students across the elementary, middle and high school and university levels. The series of five MEC content courses are designed to ensure that teachers are well prepared in mathematics with capacity to make instructional decisions that support improved student learning.
Numerical Reasoning Workshops
Numerical Reasoning Workshops are for teacher groups (K-2, 3-4, 5-6, or 7-10). This semi-annual one-day series of sessions focuses on numerical reasoning as the foundation for success in algebra and beyond. The cross-grade format promotes articulation across the grades and supports teachers as they work to improve their instructional practice. Teachers actively engage in each session, deepening their mathematical understandings, and then transfer new understandings into classroom practice. Teachers learn to examine and build on children’s mathematical ideas. Teachers also learn how to use productive questioning to support students as they develop deep understandings of the number system, number relationships, and operations. This MEC component focuses on the importance of helping students develop the knowledge and skill needed to reason numerically. Teachers learn how to build student capacity to think flexibly, as well as choose and use appropriate strategies and algorithms to solve problems, verify results and justify the accuracy of their thinking and solutions.
Community-Business Advocacy Committees
Community-Business Advocacy Committees (CBACs) are for district administrative leaders, business and community leaders, legislators, school board members, and university/college faculty from education and the mathematical sciences. These and other invited guests attend community math nights. They then meet the following day to discuss the efficacy of the ideas presented and to strategize next steps. CBAC meetings serve to ensure that educators and community leaders build a common base of understanding and a partnership plan for securing quality mathematics programs in schools and improving student learning and achievement.
Administrator Mathematics Leadership
MEC Administrator Mathematics Leadership development is for school and district administrators. This carefully designed quarterly half-day workshop sequence is focused on mathematical understandings, classroom observations and assessment practices. The workshops help administrators support teacher and student learning. Administrators develop their ability to recognize characteristics of quality mathematics programs and instruction, communicate effectively with parents and the public, and provide instructional leadership in mathematics. Knowledgeable administrators gain support as they work and communicate with teachers, parents and the public.
Teacher Mathematics Leadership
MEC Teacher Mathematics Leadership development is for local cadres of current and future mathematics leaders. These teachers, math coaches and others, comprise the Local Math Support Teams (MSTs), and are immersed in summer mathematics content courses and six days of leadership follow-up each school year. They serve as leaders and mentors within their schools and communities during and beyond the scope of MEC support. MSTs are also prepared to lead community Math Nights, Numerical Reasoning workshops and other sessions to facilitate and sustain continuous learning and access to high-quality mathematics for every student.
Regional Mathematics Leadership
MEC Regional Mathematics Leadership development is for cadres of experienced mathematics leaders, from regions throughout the country. These mathematics leaders and coaches actively participate in course work, shadow MEC leaders and engage in pre- and post-briefing sessions and MEC mentorship processes throughout the five years MEC leaders work with a district. These interns are prepared to develop Math Support Teams and facilitate replication of all components of the MEC Community Engagement Model in additional regions.
Higher Education MEC Partnerships
K-20 University/College-MEC Partnerships are for mathematicians and teacher educators at 2- and 4-year colleges and universities. Mathematicians and teacher educators engage as learners alongside K-12 classroom teachers during MEC content courses. They then collaborate with MEC leaders in a long-term higher education seminar series to address the urgent needs of K-20 mathematics education and student learning.
Pre-service Scholarship Programs provide opportunities for undergraduate education majors to participate in MEC mathematics content courses alongside K-12 classroom teachers. For their practicum they team with experienced MEC teachers who are working to improve mathematics instruction and student learning. This productive partnership enables student teachers to teach and learn in classroom environments that model best practices and reflective thinking about how to help each child learn mathematics.
As participants join MEC professional development and community sessions, they are linked with a national network of mathematics improvement initiatives and nationally recognized mathematics leaders. Participants benefit from lessons learned across the nation and contribute to national dissemination of findings from their work.
MEC’s current and past involvement with multiple nationwide mathematics improvement initiatives informs and enriches the MEC community engagement model, leadership programs and resource development. Leading researchers have attended and/or visited MEC courses.
Nationally recognized mathematics leaders advised and/or collaborated with MEC over the years on the development of MEC’s community-engagement model, and the development of the Supporting School Mathematics series of workshops resources (Heinemann, 2006). MEC has worked with the National Academies to identify characteristics of challenging courses and curricula.
Innovation, Reflection & Sustainability
The MEC model for community engagement establishes a close collaboration between external (MEC) change agents and internal (district) leaders during the five-year project. This collaboration is vital to the successful implementation of innovative efforts and builds local leadership and capacity for sustainability.
Regular meetings enable MEC and local leaders to reflect on implementation as it unfolds, examine and adjust plans to impact and improve local classroom practice, develop mathematically powerful teachers and students, and build community advocacy. From the beginning, local and MEC leaders develop and utilize the capacity of current and emerging leaders throughout the system to improve mathematics teaching and learning. Over time, local leaders and administrators plan for and assume responsibilities to sustain continuous mathematics improvement initiated during the partnership with MEC, including active involvement with parents and community partners.