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DoDEA Support Helps to Implement the Mathematics Common Core State Standards Introduction The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) is dedicated to enriching the lives of militaryconnected students and their families, and the communities in which they live. DoDEA schools serve approximately 87,000 PK-12 children in 194 schools located in seven states, 12 countries, Guam, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA coordinates closely with local educational agencies to ensure that these children receive high quality educational opportunities. New advances in K-12 education in the United States occur constantly. DoDEA is committed to keeping pace with these advances so that children in DoDEA schools have the same educational advantages as their counterparts in schools in the United States. Approximately 80 percent or 1.2 million school age children from military families attend public schools throughout the United States. Additionally, 625,000 children of National Guard and 705,000 children of Reserve members also attend public schools. In 2007, DoDEA received authority in the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act to work collaboratively with the U.S. Department of Education to meet the educational needs of the 1.2 million military-connected students who attend public schools across the country. The DoDEA Educational Partnership Program provides resources, including grants, to local educational agencies (LEAs) to support schools that enroll large numbers of military-connected students. Through the Educational Partnership Program, LEAs develop strategies and programs to support the academic, social, and emotional needs of military-connected students and their families.

This report was prepared for the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity under Contract Number HE1254-09-R-0018 (Fatimah Dozier Pierce, Project Officer) and produced by Synergy Enterprises, Inc. of Silver Spring, Maryland. The views expressed in this profile do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the Department, and no official endorsement by the Department is intended or should be inferred. This document contains hypertext links or pointers to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations. These links and pointers are provided for the user’s convenience. Synergy Enterprises, Inc. does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information. Further, the inclusion of links or pointers to particular items in hypertext is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered, on these outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring the sites.

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States are currently in the midst of carrying out one of the most comprehensive reform efforts in the history of K-12 education in the United States: implementing new content standards in school systems across the nation through a Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative. Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and English-language arts for Kindergarten through Grade 12 have been vetted and approved by a consortium of state leaders. Forty-five states,1 the District of Columbia, four territories (Guam, American Samoa Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands), and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Mathematics Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The effort requires all stakeholders to work collaboratively to ensure successful outcomes. It will demand continual professional development for teachers and leaders for the near future, as the standards require new forms of assessment, both formal and informal, and new methods of teaching. This brief summarizes the background, purpose, and goals of the Mathematics CCSS as well as the DoDEA plan for implementing the standards. In addition, the brief provides examples of Common Core State Standards implementation activities in mathematics that are taking place in military-connected public schools and districts as a result of grant funding provided by the Educational Partnership Program. The examples can help inform DoDEA teachers and administrators as they begin Mathematics CCSS implementation.

The Common Core State Standards: Raising the Bar for America’s Students The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative began more than two years ago as a collaboration between chief state school officers and governors, along with the participation of other education leaders, to reform education systems across the nation. Their aim was to develop high and rigorous common content standards for America’s students to help ensure consistency in what students are learning from one state to another—for example, the content of K-12 mathematics classes in Mississippi should be similar to that of mathematics classes in Michigan or Missouri. The standards are research-based, rigorous, relevant to the real world, and reflect the knowledge and skills America’s students need for success in college and careers. The CCSS offer states a consistent, clear understanding of what students should learn. In turn, this will help teachers and families know how to help students master the standards. According to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO),2 the CCSS foster collaboration between states on a range of tools and policies, including:

»» developing textbooks, digital media, and other teaching materials aligned to the standards; »» developing and implementing common comprehensive assessment systems to measure student performance annually that will replace existing state testing systems; and

»» helping educators and schools in teaching to the new standards. The standards are changing the way teachers teach and students experience and learn mathematics. However, a recent survey found that nearly half of responding teachers feel unprepared to teach topics in the new standards. One-third of the teachers reported that they have not taken part in any activities designed to help them implement the new standards.3 Moreover, many district and state officials say they expect that students will find it more difficult to pass the tests that accompany the new standards than it is to pass


Five states have not adopted the Mathematics Common Core State Standards: Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia.

National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (2010), Council of Chief State School Officers, Common Core State Standards, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington D.C. 2


Gewertz, C. (2012). Educators in search of common-core resources. Education Week, 31(22), 1-12.

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existing tests.4 One great challenge districts are encountering is the lack of resources to prepare both teachers and students adequately for the transition. Through grants, military-connected public schools and districts, as well as DoDEA schools, are garnering the resources they need for successful implementation.

Mathematics Common Core State Standards The Mathematics Common Core State Standards5 emphasize conceptual understanding of key ideas, and continually return to organizing principles such as place value or the properties of operations. Other key features of the standards include:

»» defining what students should understand and be able to do in mathematics, such as justifying, in a way appropriate to the student’s mathematical maturity, why a particular mathematical statement is true or the origin of a mathematical rule;

»» setting grade-specific standards without defining the intervention methods or materials necessary to support students who are well below or well above grade-level expectations; and

»» connecting the standards for mathematical practice to mathematical content. In addition, the standards require students to use mathematical reasoning to solve real world problems. The Council of Chief State School Officers has invested heavily in developing lesson ideas aligned to the standards. For example, an illustrative task for high school students is called ‘Traffic Jam.’ It provides students with practice on number and quantity concepts. The problem to be solved: “Last Sunday an accident caused a traffic jam 12 miles long on a straight stretch of a two lane freeway. How many vehicles do you think were in the traffic jam? Explain your thinking and show all calculations.” 6 The task addendum provides commentary for the teacher as well as the solution to the problem. These types of problems require teachers to teach for student understanding as well as appropriate application of underlying concepts. In addition, they require new curricular resources for teachers and students, as well as new professional development to support new teaching methods. 4

Robelen, E. W. (2012). Publishers’ Guide for Mathematics Stresses Focus. Education Week, 31(37), 1-19.

For more information about the Mathematics Common Core Standards, see: Standards.pdf 5

Council of Chief State School Officers. Resources: Mathematics Common Core State Standards and the Concept of Focus. See Illustrative Mathematics Project link: 6

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Department of Defense Education Activity Planning and Support for CCSS Implementation Planning for Implementation DoDEA’s implementation of the Common Core State Standards will take place gradually over the next several years. The CCSS Awareness Year is planned for SY 2013-2014. The implementation timeline begins with Mathematics; full implementation is planned for SY 2015-2016. DoDEA is establishing a group comprised of teachers, area leadership, principals and superintendents, union representation, and headquarters staff to engage in collaborative planning.

Support for Implementation Providing appropriate support to DoDEA schools is essential for successful implementation of the Mathematics CCSS. Implementing the common core state standards will require complex changes in assessment, curriculum and instruction, teacher evaluation, education policies and programs, and professional development for teachers and principals. As noted above, as DoDEA moves forward with implementation of CCSS, the plan is to acquire curricular resources aligned to the CCSS as well as supplemental materials above and beyond the current curricular requirements. DoDEA is also addressing technology needs necessary for implementing online assessments aligned with the CCSS. Long-range planning will ensure that schools have an adequate number of computers to implement the new assessments, have adequate internet access and bandwidth, and have access to expertise to address assessment-related technology issues. Strengthening teacher content knowledge and pedagogical skills is key to increasing student outcomes and school improvement initiatives, especially the implementation of the CCSS. Professional development literature increasingly cites that the collaborative problem solving that occurs in professional learning communities is more beneficial than formal, instructor-centered training.7 This is especially important to consider when implementing Mathematics CCSS in secondary schools, where students require higher-level mathematics courses to graduate and enter post-secondary institutions.

Benefits for Military-Connected Students The military student population will benefit from the Common Core State Standards implementation. As noted earlier, most states have approved use of these standards; therefore, when DoDEA students transfer to public schools within the United States, the students should be familiar with the general emphases in the new curricula. For example, the Mathematics CCSS focus on critical thinking skills such as understanding when and why to use a particular equation to solve a word problem, rather than only memorizing a formula and plugging numbers into it. DoDEA’s implementation of the common core state standards can therefore help students avoid major learning gaps if those students transfer to public schools. Likewise, the common core state standards are geared to prepare all students for college or careers. In fact, an alternate term for the CCSS is the College- and Career-Readiness (CCR) Standards8 which emphasizes the aims of the task force that developed them.

Croft, A., Coggshall, J. G., Dolan, M., & Powers, E. (2010). Job-embedded professional development: What it is, who’s responsible, and how to get it done well. Washington, DC: National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. Retrieved from publications/JEPD%20Issue%20Brief.pdf 7

Council of Chief State School Officers. May 28, 2013. Chiefs Release Principles to Ensure Successful Transition to High-Quality, College- and Career-Ready Assessments. 8

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Highlights of DoDEA Grant Support to Military-Connected Districts and Schools Since 2009, DoDEA has awarded nearly 200 grants to LEAs to implement projects to enhance learning opportunities and military student support services. Current grants in the 2012–2013 school year serve 102 districts in 32 states, and include nearly 600 PK–12 schools. The examples below illustrate activities that military-connected public schools and districts are undertaking with the DoDEA grant funds to help educators as they progress toward full implementation of the Mathematics CCSS. The standards require new methods of teaching to enable students to meet the more rigorous standards. The examples highlight how selected 2012 DoDEA grantees are using DoDEA support to create professional learning communities, bring curriculum into alignment with the Mathematics CCSS, develop expertise in teaching to the CCSS, and cultivate shared leadership in implementing them. Additionally, the last section of this document includes questions for discussing the CCSS in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), Communities of Practice (CoPs), or in professional development sessions.

Selected Examples Barstow Unified School District (CA) All teachers at the three militaryconnected elementary schools are receiving an iPad as they transition to the CCSS and align pedagogy with STEM principles. All Grade 6 students and Grade 5 classrooms are also receiving iPads. The teachers are participating in professional development focused on using the technology and facilitating instruction in a computing environment. Grade-level teams receive ongoing professional development during team meetings that focus on creating common instructional units integrating technology. During bi-monthly Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings, the teachers share best practices for implementation. Schools are incorporating learning software (e.g., Prentice Hall SuccessNet), online supplemental instructional units (e.g., Khan Academy) and interactive applications (e.g., QuickGraph) into regular instruction and interventions. Students are utilizing technology resources to increase mathematics and technology proficiency, access and present information, communicate effectively, and solve real-world problems.

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Cache Public Schools (OK) The district has distributed iPads to all Grade 3-8 classrooms, and to science and mathematics classes in high school throughout the three schools in the district. Teachers are participating in Oklahoma State Department of Education Train-the-Trainer professional development sessions for STEM and co-curricular teaching. A previous 2009 DoDEA grant helped Cache establish structures for ongoing teacher collaboration. Thus, teachers are forming grade-level STEM collaboration teams to augment the ongoing professional development. Teachers are receiving training about using the tablets and Smartboards and incorporating technology into lesson plans. Cache notes that teachers continuously use the technology, and have created professional development structures to support this next level of development. They are working together to develop cross-curricular, project-based lesson plans that will include student use of technology. These methodologies align with the Mathematics CCSS, which emphasize project-based learning so that students engage in real world problem-solving.

Carthage Central School District (NY) Carthage is establishing STEM teams of 8–15 teachers (Grades 5–12) to attend classes at Clarkson University and receive yearlong STEM content training. The professional development is designed to improve teacher understanding and content knowledge in mathematics and science; demonstrate how teachers can integrate digital and online technology into the curriculum; demonstrate how teachers can help students use technology to solve real problems and understand natural phenomena; and improve teacher-developed curricular materials that include CCSS and 21st century skills and assessments. The grade-level teams are developing project-based STEM courses and units of study for middle and high school classes. Students also participate in after-school and summer STEM-based programs to obtain hands-on, problem-solving skills practice, remedial and accelerated math content and access to online AP math classes.

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Douglas School District 51-1 (SD) Douglas is implementing a new Kindergarten through Grade 5 math curriculum, “Investigations Math,” designed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). The curriculum incorporates the Eight Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMP) of the CCSS in Mathematics. The implementation plan includes hiring an instructional leader with a background in “Investigations Math;” a strategic phase-in of two teachers per grade (12 total) in year one; and professional development for principals at each school focused on developing a school-wide implementation schedule and evaluation procedures. In years two and three, the district plans to scale up the new mathematics curriculum to all classrooms, facilitated by grade-level collaboration, evaluation, and feedback. The project includes providing iPads to all students in Grades 3-95 classrooms to access online evidence-based applications for practicing mathematics skills.

Hawaii State Department of Education (HI) Hawaii’s project enhances and supplements mathematics instruction with Student Online Achievement Resources (SOAR) to Success Math9 in Grades 3–12 at seven schools. SOAR, an online assessment and tutorial resource, engages math investigation skills and enhances students’ understanding of unifying concepts, themes, and the interrelation of math, science, technology, and society—an emphasis within the Mathematics CCSS. Students can access SOAR during the school day, in after-school support programs at school as well as on base, in base libraries, and from home. Teachers are receiving professional development about how to integrate the mathematics modules and assessment data into individualized lesson plans. The training also is open to families, military base representatives, afterschool program leaders, and base library staff to encourage use of SOAR in the home and community. For more information about the SOAR to Success Program, see: Teacher_SOAR_Integrated.pdf 9

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Long Beach School District (MS) Building on experiences with a previous DoDEA grant, Long Beach is focusing this grant on science curriculum and technology integration. The district is participating in the Sally Ride Science10 program that offers professional development for teachers in Grades 2–6 focusing on science and technology. Long Beach is also adopting project activities that integrate AIMS Mathematics and Science materials for Grades K–3.11 Many of the AIMS materials feature electronic games that expect students to solve ‘real world’ problems; for instance, in ‘Shape Sleuth,’ students kick a virtual soccer ball at a hidden shape and determine what kind of shape it is by observing how the ball bounces off of it. The AIMS materials align with the Mathematics CCSS, which expect students to be able to solve real world problems. Families request that students have better access to technology, including Skype,12 to foster communication with family members deployed overseas. The district is purchasing mobile tablet labs for each grade to facilitate communication and increase access to other STEM projects. 10

For more information about the Sally Ride Science Program, see: See; also category/learning-links/mathematics. Also AIMS Education Foundation at 11


For more information about Skype, see

Lyme Central School District (NY) Based on a district needs assessment, Lyme is focusing on improving student mathematics achievement by integrating STEM principles in Grades 3–8. Using DoDEA funds, the district is hiring a part-time STEM Integration Coach with expertise in implementing the Common Core State Standards. The coach is helping both teachers and students use tablets and a student classroom response system to support a CCSS-focused practice of inquiry-based instruction and exploration. After completing professional development, teachers introduce Engineering by Design into lessons by using tablets to support students’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in mathematics. Students are engaging in STEM-based research activities using PASCO13 science kits designed to develop technological literacy, and learn concepts and principles in an authentic problem-solving environment. 13

For more information on PASCO Scientific, see

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Ozark City (AL) Ozark City is one of several districts that trained in the Alabama Math and Science Teaching Initiative (AMSTI). AMSTI uses lab-based education, and aligns with the Common Core State Standards. AMSTI specialists are providing middle and high school teachers with professional development that focuses on the instructional strategies required by the CCSS. Additionally, the district is using DoDEA funds to purchase Connected Math14 materials and manipulatives to support inquiry-based math learning in Grades 6, 7, and 8. Additionally, to support the implementation of the CCSS, the district is developing pacing guides, benchmark tests and new inquiry-based instructional strategies. As part of the program, students in Grades 8-12 are participating in the BEST Robotics, Inc.15 competition, a program enhanced by interactive media, videos and simulations. 14

For more information see


For more information on Boosting Engineering Science and Technology (BEST) programs, see

Sparta Area School District (WI) In order to raise achievement in middle school mathematics, Sparta is implementing Grade 6-8 STEM-based curricula created by The STEM Academy.16 Teachers are receiving on-site professional development and mentoring provided by The STEM Academy on the principles, content, and delivery of the curriculum. The project also supports professional development in the use of the district’s redesigned K-12 mathematics curriculum, which is aligned with the Mathematics CCSS. Another professional development strategy focuses on the work of the Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). The middle school teachers have been working for three years within PLC teams. The district is providing additional dedicated time for PLCs consisting of mathematics, science and technology education teachers to focus on using mathematics achievement data, developing differentiated instruction for mathematics, and continuously improving implementation of The STEM Academy curriculum. The STEM Academy is a national non-profit status organization dedicated to improving STEM literacy for all students. For more information, see 16

Yuma Elementary School District 1 (AZ) As a DoDEA grantee, the Yuma school district is fully implementing AVID17 to support increased mathematics achievement in the middle schools. With the support, the district is hiring and training additional middle school tutors for AVID elective classes that support underserved students taking advanced mathematics and science classes. Additionally, all mathematics and science teachers are participating in extensive, collaborative professional development to establish school-wide use of AVID learning strategies, including authentic inquiry, problem solving, and writing across all subjects. Teachers are participating in professional development that focuses on the Mathematics Common Core State Standards. DoDEA is supporting the use of substitute teachers to provide teachers the time to participate in the professional development. This ensures that the lesson plans developed to incorporate AVID strategies align with the CCSS. 17

For more information on Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) see

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Conclusion As states, schools, districts, and DoDEA schools prepare for the full implementation of new Mathematics Common Core State Standards, it is vitally important that all schools and teachers have the tools and support to build educators’ capacity to teach the new standards. The examples above provide a brief insight into how military-connected public schools and districts are preparing and moving towards full implementation of the Mathematics CCSS. Each project incorporates specific curriculum or approaches aligned with the Mathematics CCSS. These approaches provide a structure for conducting ongoing professional development and incorporating technology or other materials to encourage hands-on learning and expand problemsolving opportunities—key components of the Mathematics CCSS. Questions posed below can serve as prompts to administrators and teachers in DoDEA schools as they discuss the activities in the examples.

Curriculum »» Does your current curriculum align with the Mathematics CCSS? If not, what needs to change or be added?

»» What resources do your districts or schools need to teach curriculum aligned to the Mathematics CCSS?

Instructional Practice »» How can your district or school use CCSS-aligned instructional practices that promote conceptual »»

learning to improve student outcomes? Would any practices highlighted in the examples augment current practice?

Professional Development »» What types of professional development are needed in each major area of schooling— e.g. curriculum, instructional practice, technology, use of data and assessments?

»» What would be your best sources for professional development? »» How can DoDEA districts and schools partner with colleges or universities, consortia, professional associations, and/or regional education labs to provide needed expertise?

Use of Data and Assessment »» To what extent will the current approach to collecting, managing, and using formative data, support »»

monitoring student progress in meeting the CCSS? What aspects of monitoring students’ progress can be kept, what must be modified, and what must be developed?

Technology »» How should the technology and hands-on materials be fully leveraged to implement the CCSS? »» How might some of the pedagogical models and professional development structures in the »»

examples help DoDEA districts and schools use technology and hands-on materials more fully? Are DoDEA districts and schools aware of all of the technology resources available and is there evidence of their effectiveness in practice?

Additional Challenges »» What challenges might arise in implementing the Mathematics CCSS and how do the examples point to potential solutions to meet the challenges?

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DoDEA Support Helps to Implement the Mathematics Common Core State Standards  

DoDEA Support Helps to Implement the Mathematics Common Core State Standards

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