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Lincoln Middle School Math Teachers Chosen for Poincare´ Institute

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Lincoln Middle School Math Teachers Chosen for Poincaré Institute
Posted on 09/15/2015
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Two Lincoln Middle School math teachers have been invited to be instructors at the Tufts University Poincaré Institute in Everett, Mass. Working mostly online, Claire Olson-Crocker and Zachary Brown will help other teachers enhance their mathematics teaching skills.

“This is quite an honor for these teachers, our school, and the district,” said Lincoln Principal Suellyn Santiago.

The mission of the Poincaré Institute is “to improve the teaching and learning of middle school mathematics by helping teachers deepen their understanding of key mathematical concepts and of how students learn,” according to the institute’s website. It offers graduate level courses to teachers of students in grades 3 through 9. “The courses focus on deep mathematical content and on teaching and learning by considering students’ reasoning about mathematics. The program relies on a function approach to mathematics that better prepare students to learn algebra and to consider isolated topics in arithmetic, geometry, algebra, and functions as unified under more abstract ideas and concepts,” the website says.

The institute partners with school districts to make sure the courses truly meet teachers’ needs and support their collaborative work, and the Portland Public Schools is one of the districts the institute has chosen to partner with.

Olson-Crocker said she and Brown will mostly use electronic communication to work with the teachers taking the courses. “Our responsibility is to read drafts of teacher submitted work, offer feedback and constructive suggestions to lead them to deep levels of learning,” she said. The two teachers’ work begins this week and will continue for three semesters.

Brown will share his extensive knowledge of mathematics and technology with the teachers, as well as his experience with techniques and strategies that make the learning accessible. Olson-Crocker’s background training is in special education, so she identifies with non-math majors, and will share her conceptual style of thinking about the "why’s" and "how’s" behind the procedures.

Also, she said, “many math teachers here in Portland have completed the coursework and we found the collaboration with them to be of high value. We are fortunate to have so many excellent, dedicated math educators in our midst (at the Portland Public Schools).”

Olson-Crocker said both she and Brown feel honored to have been chosen for the work. She added, “We, of course, are very proud to represent Lincoln Middle School and Portland Public Schools through our work with the Tufts University Poincaré Institute.”