What is the Arizona Math Partnership (AMP)?
The Arizona Mathematics Partnership consists of Promoting Excellence in Arizona Middle School Mathematics:  Increasing Student Achievement through Systemic Instructional Change.   MSP (Math and Science Partnership) involves 10 Core Partners: Scottsdale Community College, as the lead, Chandler-Gilbert and Glendale Community College, and the Deer Valley, Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, Chandler, Florence, J.O. Combs school districts, as well as Salt River Pima – Maricopa Community Schools. Supporting partners are: Arizona State University, Maricopa County Community College District, and the Glendale, Mesa, and Peoria school districts.
This targeted MSP project supports teachers in advancing their knowledge about the teaching and learning of middle school mathematics, as well as developmental mathematics in community colleges. The project provides a systemic model of sustainable professional development in partner schools and colleges to achieve the goal of increasing student achievement in middle school mathematics courses enabling them to make a successful transition to more challenging courses and curricula in high school. The project also produces research about the characteristics and mechanisms of a sustainable professional development program, as well as contributes to the body of knowledge for understanding teachers’ and students’ mathematical thinking and beliefs.

Why was AMP created?
Research has shown that middle school is the gateway to high school course taking and college enrollment (Hill, 2007; Riley, 1997; Silva & Moses, 1990). In particular, completion of Algebra II in high school is strongly correlated with success in college as well as future earning potential (Adelman, 1999). We therefore believe that students possessing a solid foundation in middle school mathematics are more likely to experience positive outcomes in high school mathematics, further preparing them for success in mathematics beyond high school.

When was AMP created?
Members from the 7 core partner districts have collaborated with Scottsdale Community College faculty since Spring 2009 to plan for the proposal and to contribute to the evolution of the Projects’ vision, goals, outcomes and activities.  Work with the teachers began in June, 2012 with our first Summer Institute.

How many students does AMP expect to reach?
The project is expected to impact a total of 24,000 students in grades 5-8.

How many teachers does AMP expect to train?
The project targets 300 in-service middle school mathematics teachers, 32 middle school mathematics teacher-leaders, 40 middle school administrators and 140 pre-service middle school teachers in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

How do you get teachers to participate in the AMP project?
Professional development for teachers has traditionally focused on methods and strategies for teaching, but AMP focuses on the mathematics and the Common Core State Standards. Teachers recognize the need to participate in the AMP experience so they can be prepared for the new national/state assessments coming soon. Teachers who commit to the two-year program receive a stipend of $2,500 per year.  By the end of their involvement, they will have received about 200 hours of professional development.  The teachers are also given the option of earning graduate credit from Arizona State University.

How does AMP improve math outcomes for middle school students?
Our philosophy is rooted in the notion of deepening teachers’ mathematics knowledge of middle school content as a way for motivating meaningful changes in the classroom, specifically related to promoting the Standards for Mathematical Practice from the Common Core State Standards. By specifically targeting middle school mathematics teachers, we can significantly improve middle school students’ mathematics achievement and at the same time greatly impact their high school course selection and future success.

Why are community college math professors qualified to work with middle school math teachers on this project?
A primary strength of the Project is the community college faculty involvement. While the faculty are teachers entrenched in the classroom, we are also mathematics education researchers who bridge the gap between research and practice. Many team leaders have K-12 teaching experience and all Project leaders strive to make research findings accessible for teachers and implementable in the classroom. Furthermore, several team members have experience in providing professional development to K-12 teachers through the NSF-funded projects called Project Pathways and TPC2: Teachers Promoting Change Collaboratively, as well as several state-level Math/Science Partnership grants funded by the U.S. Department of Education in Arizona school districts (Deer Valley USD and Yavapai in collaboration with Cottonwood-Oak Creek USD).
In President Obama’s address at the White House Summit on Community Colleges (2010), he stated that “community colleges aren’t just the key to the future of their students, they are also one of the keys to the future of our country.” This Project is an innovative approach to leveraging and utilizing the resources of community colleges to design a model that will lead to improving the future of mathematics students, beginning with our partner institutions – middle schools and community colleges – and extending beyond the Project.

Who are the financial supporters of the AMP project?
The project is funded by an $8.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Will the AMP program grow to other school districts in the future?
Four other Phoenix area districts (Chandler Unified School District, Glendale Unified School District, Mesa Public Schools, and Peoria Unified School District), have expressed interest in serving as supporting partners in Cohort 3 or 4. Additional school districts may be recruited in future years if funding is available.

How will the results of the AMP project be shared?
The research component, led by faculty researchers at Scottsdale Community College, will be shared in peer-reviewed journals and presented at state and national conferences.  The end result will provide a national model for professional development and teacher education conducted by community college faculty trained in mathematics education research.