2014 Program Details

Dates of the Program

The 2014 summer component will be held from June 30 to August 8. There will be three to five academic year workshops held at the Education Development Center (EDC) from September, 2014 through April, 2015.

Components of the PfT Program

PROMYS for Teachers consists of two major summer components and an academic year component that includes workshops and an optional internship program.

Content-based Professional Development

  1. In the first summer, new PROMYS teachers will come to Boston University for an intensive six-week experience of exploring deep mathematical ideas, focused primarily on number theory;
  2. In the second summer, they will return to PROMYS for an additional summer of more advanced mathematical activities.

During the two summer components, teachers will engage in intensive problem-solving activities with the other teacher participants. These problem-solving activities will run parallel to but separate from similar activities for high school students.

Academic Year Workshops

During the academic year, PROMYS teachers attend three to five full-day workshops offered jointly by Education Development Center in Newton and Boston University's Department of Mathematics. These seminars are designed to help teachers "unpack" the pedagogical approaches used in PROMYS to enrich the school curricula. Another important goal of the workshops is to establish an ongoing network (including an electronic network) of teachers, mathematics educators, and research mathematicians. Typical agenda items include:

  • A few teachers share experiences, activities, and student work from their classrooms.
  • The whole group works together on some mathematics inspired by topics in the secondary curriculum.
  • Teachers collaboratively plan lessons, inspired by their mathematics research experience in PROMYS, working in the style of Japanese Lesson Study groups.

Developing Curricula and an Internship Program

Since 2001, a group of former PROMYS teachers, in concert with Al Cuoco (EDC) and Glenn Stevens (BU), work together during the academic year to develop a curriculum that can be delivered to other secondary and high school teachers involved in professional development training at the Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI). Two teachers (with financial support from PCMI) then go to Park City during the summer to facilitate and lead the three-week long course.

The three-week course is focused on learning mathematics by working on problems together (in the "PROMYS spirit"). The courses explore the fundamental mathematics on a topic that is rooted at the secondary level but related to the mathematical theme of the Institute. Careful work on this topic allows teachers (and students) to understand exactly how elementary and more advanced procedures in the specific content area are derived and generalize. The course is structured so that each participant can work at his/her own level. Those who are more mathematically advanced may be asked to help those with less preparation.

The focus of this strand is entirely on mathematics, although opportunity is provided within the course for reflection on the approach used by the instructors and to consider the implications of such an approach for teaching in secondary classrooms.

Teachers who have gone through the immersion experience themselves i.e. PROMYS teachers, and most recently, teachers who are candidates in the Master of Mathematics for Teaching (MMT) degree, develop and deliver the curricula for the three-week course taught at the Secondary School Teacher Program at PCMI. Each year, they develop a new course:

2007 Developing Mathematics: Probability through Algebra
2006 Some Applications of Geometric Thinking
2005 Doing it with differences
2004 Stories that count: The art and craft of combinatorial proofs
2003 Sums and differences: The art and craft of adding and subtracting
2002 Applications of the Gaussian integers and related systems
2001 The Euclidean algorithm and its applications to algebra and the theory of numbers

 Graduate Credits

Teacher participants will receive 8 graduate credits in mathematics from Boston University for their participation in the summer component of 2014. An additional 6 graduate credits (4 in mathematics education and 2 in mathematics) will be awarded for the summer of 2015. Assessment for the summer program (for the first-year participants) is based on participants' work on the daily problem sets and on the results of a midterm exam and a final exam.

Requesting a Transcript

For past PfT participants:

To request a transcript online, visit the BU Student Link. Click on Academics and then on Transcript Preview and Ordering. Type in your BU login name and Kerberos password. Click on Order a Transcript on the top right.

To request a transcript by mail, visit the Registrar Transcript Information page and follow the instructions.

Teacher Demographic

Most participants teach in Massachusetts schools. However, we also invite teachers from out-of-state and from other countries. Recently, teachers from Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont have participated in the program. Since PfT is a commuter program, out-of-state (and Western Mass.) teachers are responsible for their own living arrangements. One option is to apply for summer residency in a graduate dormitory. Information about this may be found at the BU Office of Housing.

In addition, pre-service teachers from the BU School of Education have been participating in PROMYS each year since 1991. Any graduate student who registers for PROMYS courses CAS MA 547 and CAS MA 548 must first receive a stamped approval from the Instructor, Professor Glenn Stevens.

Math for America National will provide funding for a limited number Master Teachers from around the country to attend PROMYS for Teachers 2014. Housing on the Boston University campus will be provided.

Accompanying Student

Each teacher participant is invited to recommend a high school student to the PROMYS program. That student may be admitted to PROMYS through the usual admissions process for high school students. Students are admitted only for the summer of 2014. However, it is possible that students will be invited to return for a second summer to engage in advanced PROMYS activities.