HumRRO is excited to work with UnboundEd Learning Inc., a New York-based nonprofit professional development firm for educators and administrators, to evaluate its Project MILA initiative. The long-term goal of the Math Identity Leadership Accelerator (MILA) program is to demonstrate the effectiveness of intensive professional development programs for school leaders that provide tools to empower teachers while increasing student achievement in mathematics. This work is part of a three-year Supporting Effective Educator Development Program (SEED) grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education.
The MILA program aims to increase math achievement by providing high-quality school leader professional development that equips educators with effective culturally responsive leadership and math problem-solving strategies. To accomplish this, training for school leaders will address how systemic racism, bias, and deficit thinking obstruct high-level expectations for high-need middle school students through culturally responsive instruction (CRI).
HumRRO’s formative and summative evaluation activities will assess how well principals learn and implement UnboundEd’s MILA program; how well teachers integrate CRI, problem-solving strategies, and mathematics discourse into their classrooms; and the extent to which these changes result in enhanced students’ math identity and sense of belonging, and increased mathematics achievement.
This research began in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic with few, if any schools, offering a totally in-person environment to start the 2020–2021 school year. HumRRO acknowledges the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic may have undesirable effects on student achievement in spring 2021 and beyond. Thus, HumRRO will examine anomalies in the data, such as potential differences from spring 2019 to spring 2021 state test scores and stratify based on the overall score and the change score by effect size.
“It is truly exciting that, by first enhancing the high-quality leadership and cultural responsiveness of participating principals, we can transform how math teachers increase their expectations for all students by practicing culturally responsive instruction and encouraging use of multiple strategies and discourse to solve high-cognitive math problems,” said Sheila R. Schultz, Ph.D., manager of the Education Policy Impact Center at HumRRO. “Although the ultimate goal is increased student math achievement, it is equally important that the students of these principals and teachers build their confidence in solving math problems, gain a heightened sense of belonging, and increase their feelings of support.”