About SD Counts
South Dakota Counts is a focused statewide professional development program designed to build broad-based expertise and leadership for improving elementary mathematics instruction. South Dakota Counts will leave the statewide educational community with a cadre of very skilled professionals to serve as resources and trainers in the ongoing effort to improve elementary mathematics instruction.
South Dakota Counts will:
- Train and place one Mathematics Specialist at each of the seven ESAs in South Dakota and one in the Sioux Falls School District.
- Provide training for one Mathematics Teacher Leader for each participating school in South Dakota.
- Support work in each participating district to train at least ten additional teachers.
- Conduct training for building principals to support the work of the math teacher leaders.
The research is clear that a skilled teacher is the most important factor in improving student learning. South Dakota Counts is designed to deepen and broaden teachers’ knowledge base about mathematics content, mathematics pedagogy, and student mathematical thinking. South Dakota Counts will provide teachers an opportunity to experience “best practices” in teaching mathematics. This will include constructivist instructional practices that promote mathematical reasoning, discourse, inquiry, and conceptual understanding for all students.
Math Specialist in each ESA:
Math Specialists will receive university level classroom work equal to 18 credits over the three years of the project. The content of the training will be centered on mathematics content, mathematics pedagogy, student mathematical thinking and educational leadership. Once their training is complete, they will qualify for the new math specialist degree approved by the board of regents. Math Specialists will support the work of the Math Teacher Leaders at the district level.
Elementary Math Teacher Leader in each school district:
Math Teacher Leaders will receive university level classroom work equal to nine credits over the three years of the project. The content of the training will be centered on mathematics content, mathematics pedagogy, student mathematical thinking, and educational leadership. Once their training is complete, they will have one half of the credits necessary to qualify for the new math specialist degree approved by the board of regents.
Each Math Teacher Leader will be expected to provide building-based training to at least ten other classroom teachers in their district over the three years of the project.
Elementary Principals will be offered 45 hours of Lenses on Learning training. Lenses on Learning training is a professional development program developed by The Education Development Center to help administrators, as instructional leaders in their schools, to understand and support effective mathematics instruction.
The evaluation will be conducted by an outside evaluation firm. The evaluation will focus on two specific outcomes for the project. First, the evaluation will judge how well the leadership structure of regional math specialists and district teacher leaders works to improve math instruction. Second, the evaluation will assess changes in classroom practice.