Participants in PROMYS for Teachers 2016
PROMYS for Teachers (PfT) is a collaboration between Boston University's Department of Mathematics and the Education Development Center (EDC) in Waltham, Massachusetts. Together, we are working to promote a "culture of exploration" in secondary school mathematics classrooms. Our experience proves that the joys of exploration and discovery can be experienced by secondary school students and teachers in ways that are not all that different from what a seasoned mathematics researcher experiences. Moreover, teachers who have such experiences are better prepared to encourage independent inquiry among their own students. Reports from PfT alumni confirm that all students benefit from this kind of instruction, not just the most talented ones.
Teachers at PROMYS earn a stipend and graduate credit. Returning teachers take on advanced projects and seminars. Some are working towards certification; others have been teaching for many years. Ninety percent of PROMYS teachers work in public high schools, almost all in Massachusetts, and over half in high-needs school districts. For most of the teachers, the program is non-residential.
“The best thing that PROMYS has done for me is that it has allowed me a way to guide the students to finding solutions on their own and persevering on their own by guiding them with questions and giving them strategies as opposed to giving them the answers…. I want them to be self-sufficient.”
Framingham High School, Framingham, MA
PROMYS for Teachers 2008, 2010, Counselor 2011
The PROMYS program has been influential in the development of several other significant initiatives, including a Master of Mathematics for Teaching degree at Boston University, Focus on Mathematics, and Math for America Boston.
Focus on Mathematics is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Math and Science Partnership of five school districts, three universities, and a R&D institution (EDC) centered at Boston University and founded on the principles of PROMYS. The partnership has developed a portfolio of programs including academic year seminars, colloquia, summer institutes, math fairs, school-based study groups with core involvement of mathematicians, and degree programs, including PROMYS for Teachers.
Math for America (MfA) Boston, founded in 2010, is a partnership between Boston University, Boston College, Education Development Center, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)/Wellesley Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP), with support from NSF's Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, private donors, and private foundations. MfA Boston’s mission is to improve mathematics education in greater Boston public secondary schools by recruiting, training, and retaining talented mathematics teachers. All participants begin their program with the six-week PfT immersion experience. MfA Boston is building an ongoing community of mathematically expert master teachers and teaching fellows who contribute to enriching the intellectual landscape of all math teachers working in Boston-area schools.
Distinctive to all of these programs is the deeply personal engagement by all participants in authentic mathematical experiences within interacting communities of students, teachers, educators, and mathematicians.