College of Science and Health > Academics > STEM Studies > Research & Externally Funded Programs > AIM TRU > AIM-TRU Participant Info

AIM-TRU Participant Info

The professional development program consists of a monthly gathering of a 10 teacher Professional Learning Team (PLT). At each session, teachers closely analyze a high quality math lesson and video clip of children working on the main task of that lesson. 

Formative Assessment Lessons (FALs) from the Mathshell website. These lessons are written for students in grades 6-12, and are aligned with the Teaching for Robust Understanding framework that supports all district PD learning.

Video clips are of children engaging in the key task of the FAL. Clips are stored on the University of Michigan’s Teaching & Learning Exploratory (TLE) website. These include recordings from master teachers from Math for America in New York City as well as teachers in Buffalo who are part of the New York State Master Teacher program working. Videos are continually added, and eventually these will include clips from Chicago. 

This research project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, through a DRK-12 grant--Discovery Research K-12. “ The Discovery Research PreK-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of STEM education innovations and approaches. “

DePaul's involvement in this project is made possible through collaboratin with Montclair State University in New Jersey, SUNY Buffalo, and Math for America, a prominent master teacher program in NYC.

The protocol used was developed at a PLT in Math for America, and adopted by a master teacher PLT associated with SUNY Buffalo. Montclair State researchers became interested in the impact this work was having, and together these organizations decided to apply for a DRK-12 grant. DePaul’s STEM Center had connections with MfA, and given the CPS Math Department’s promotion of both FALs and TRU, the researchers on the east coast recognized that including Chicago would deepen the meaning of their results, and so we were included in the project.

Each meeting of the PLT largely consists of the PLT completing a protocol centering on a particular FAL. 

The members of the PLT think deeply about the mathematics within the FAL, engage in the FAL’s main activity, anticipate student responses, view the related video, and analyze that video.

8 members of the PLT act as Participants. Participants are expected to read the FAL prior to the meeting, and attend the PLT meetings. They will also be invited to try FALs in their own classroom, and have a pre-brief and debrief of that lesson with the Program Lead audio recorded, along with having a video recording of the implementation of the FAL. Some of these videos would be used to create new video cases that could be the subject of a PLT meeting. 

2 members of the PLT serve as Facilitators. Facilitators spend additional time prior to each meeting selecting the FAL that will be the subject of a particular PLT meeting, prepping for facilitation of the meeting with the Program Lead, and then facilitating the protocol (with the support of the Program Leader as needed, particularly for their first few sessions). Note that Facilitators both help lead the discussion and act as full participants, sharing their thinking (equitably, of course) about the deeper mathematical meaning of the FAL, analyzing student thinking, etc. Facilitators also support other Participants who are interested in teaching FALs, and video record their own implementation of FALs for potential use in the PLT.

Doug O'Roark from DePaul's STEM Center acts as Program Lead. The Program Lead collaborates with the Facilitators to choose FALs and prepare for PLT facilitation. They also co-facilitate the meetings to the extent Facilitators need support. They may also participate in FAL analysis, while being careful in maintaining an equity of voice norm.

The Program Lead supports any teachers interested in creating their own video cases, which could be the subject of PLT meetings later in the school year. This support includes pre-briefing prior to the implementation of the FAL, bringing and setting up video equipment to the classroom, including multiple microphones, recording the video, doing initial editing, and working with teachers around clip selection. 

Evening meetings are held monthly from late September through May. Dates will be selected by doodle poll. 

Participants are expected to spend 2.5 hours at PLTs, and are expected to spend 0.5 hours reading the FAL before the PLT. Participants will be paid $50/hour.

Facilitators are paid at the same hourly rate for 20 hours of meeting time, 12 hours of meeting preparation, and 10 hours in supporting Participating teachers.

Teachers are paid 50% of their stipend after the 4th meeting of the year, and the other 50% after the last PLT. 

FAL-TRU is a four year project. In year 1 (2019-2020) we had one PLT of 10 teachers. In years 2, 3, and 4, we will have two PLT’s per year. As many as 70 teachers may be selected over the four years to participate.

If you are not selected this year, you will be contacted in the spring about subsequent years.

If you do participate this year, you may participate in future years as well. In particular, we are imagining a Participant in year one might become a Facilitator in a later year.

All of the PLT meetings will be video recorded. These videos will be transcribed, viewed by researchers, and coded. These videos will be stored securely and never shown publicly.

Each year, 25% of the teachers across the three sites (Chicago, Buffalo, NYC) will be selected to have their teaching recorded and analyzed by an external evaluator. These videos will not be shared publicly.

All PLT teachers will be surveyed once a semester.

If you are selected to participate, you will be asked to complete a consent form prior to the first PLT meeting.

We will be seeking Facilitators who have experience implementing FALs, and possibly experience leading or co-leading PD for CPS--for example, teachers who have acted as facilitators at CPS Teacher Leadership Institutes or in other PD settings.

We will seek a diverse group of teachers, both in personal identity, and in the identities of the children these teachers teach

Deepening your understanding about formative assessment and related high-quality learning activities.

Joining a community of teachers who gather monthly and engage in dynamic conversations around improving their instruction.

Earning a stipend while participating in engaging, learner-centered professional development.

Influencing the national conversation about best teaching and professional development practice.

Teachers interested in participating should email for more information.