The University of Arizona
Please note that this project is no longer active.

Promoting Reform in Mathematics Education (PRIME)

(1994 - 1998)

Marta Civil
Fred Stevenson
Elias Toubassi

"Promoting Reform in Mathematics Education" (PRIME) is a five year training program to enhance the mathematical knowledge and leadership skills of teachers of grades 3-8. The goal is to select, when possible, teams of teachers from the middle school and feeder elementary schools. The program adopts an integrated approach to the teaching of mathematics - to blend the teaching of subject matter with the use of problem solving and technology.

Each year thirty selected teachers from the Tucson area attend a total of six weeks of summer courses at the University of Arizona, Tucson, over the training period of three years. The participants attend courses [These course deal with geometry, probability and statistics, the number system, how students learn, and reform in the schools.] for three weeks the first summer, two weeks the second summer, and one week the third summer for a total of 14 graduate units. During the summers the participants are on campus for seven hours daily, which includes a two hour block to pursue workshop activities of their choice. Participating teachers receive graduate units of course credit, free tuition, and a $300 stipend per week. The teams of teachers work together during the duration of the program. All participants also attend two to four one-day inservices each academic year during their three year training period.

Teachers participating in PRIME are provided with various support activities during the academic year including team meetings, inservices, and classroom visits by PRIME faculty and support teachers, peer teachers, and evaluation team members. During the academic year, the support teachers have a unique role as the key link between the University of Arizona Department of Mathematics and the participating schools. The support teachers are "on call" for any needs that the participants may have. They may help PRIME participants teach a lesson they are not quite comfortable with yet, or help model a different approach to teaching a particular lesson, or demonstrate how to integrate technology in the classroom. The support teachers also help plan new lessons, inservices for non-PRIME participants, and Family Math Workshops.

PRIME participants are expected to work with their team members to develop a plan to implement change in their schools, share information with colleagues, participate in an academic year Family Math Workshop, and assist with the evaluation of the project. To facilitate the implementation of the goals of the program, the participating school districts equip the classroom of each participating teacher with a set of calculators, a microcomputer with overhead and LCD panel, selected manipulatives and software.

To start a program similar to PRISM or PRIME the interest of local school districts, administrators, and teachers is needed. PRIME funding is a combination of private grants, university sources, state funds, and federal grants. The school districts have obtained private grants for equipment, University and State sources have contributed matching funds, other funding has come from the National Science Foundation. Although it depends on how the program is structured, i.e. stipends, salaries, etc., the University of Arizona Mathematics Department recommends running a similar program on approximately $250,000 per year.

Note: The project was continued as the PRIME Extension Consortium by Linda Griffin and Kim Boling from 1998 until 2001.