Mathematics Specialists are teacher leaders with strong preparation and background in mathematics content, instructional strategies, and school leadership. Based in elementary and middle schools, mathematics specialists are excellent teachers who are released from full time classroom responsibilities so that they can support the professional growth of their colleagues, promoting enhanced mathematics instruction and student learning throughout their schools. They are responsible for strengthening classroom teachers’ understanding of mathematics content, and helping teachers develop more effective mathematics teaching practices that allow all students to reach high standards as well as sharing research addressing how students learn mathematics. There is an organization, The Virginia Council of Mathematics Specialists (www.vacms.org) dedicated to furthering the mission of and support Mathematics Specialists in Virginia.
The overarching purpose for Mathematics Specialists is to increase the mathematics achievement of all the students in their schools. To do so, they:
- Collaborate with individual teachers through co-planning, co-teaching, and coaching;
- Assist administrative and instructional staff in interpreting data and designing approaches to improve student achievement and instruction;
- Ensure that the school curriculum is aligned with state and national standards and their school division’s mathematics curriculum;
- Promote teachers’ delivery and understanding of the school curriculum through collaborative long-range and short-range planning;
- Facilitate teachers’ use of successful, research-based instructional strategies, including differentiated instruction for diverse learners such as those with limited English proficiency or disabilities;
- Work with parent/guardians and community leaders to foster continuing home/school/community partnerships focused on students’ learning of mathematics; and
- Collaborate with administrators to provide leadership and vision for a school-wide mathematics program.