Partnership News
July 2014
In This Issue
Partnership Update
Featured Resource
Educator Lessons
Opportunities for Educators
Quick Links


I am happy to send you this edition of a revived Five College Partnership Programs e-newsletter! You are receiving this mailing because you were on the previous Partnership News listserv or are on the WMMP listserv. The Partnership News will come to you at least quarterly with announcements and updates about our programs, a featured resource, thoughts from educators in our region, and upcoming opportunities for teachers. Please send me your suggestions for listings. Like everything the Partnership does, the newsletter will be successful only if it includes your ideas.

All the best,
Marla Solomon
Director, Five College Partnership Programs
Partnership Update 
This year has been full of continuing and new Partnership ventures. The Western Massachusetts Math Partnership (WMMP) organized professional learning communities (PLCs) on algebraic thinking this past spring with 52 educators participating and we made the  Gazette news for our efforts!  We hosted a Summer Institute on July 2
with 80 educators in attendance and we are planning more mathematics PLCs for Fall 2014.  Please contact me if you are interested in the math PLC or know others who might be. In March 2014, the WMMP submitted a new proposal to the National Science Foundation to expand professional development for teachers on algebraic thinking, with 10 partner school districts.  News on that funding will come this fall. 

In July 2013, the Partnership implemented a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute: Native Americans of New England.  Twenty-five educators from around the U.S. and American Samoa became NEH Summer Scholars, studying with the highly regarded Neal Salisbury, Smith College (emeritus), and Alice Nash, UMass Amherst, who co-directed, and several other important scholars of Native American history from the Five Colleges and beyond. The resulting website contains lesson plans on a variety of topics in Native American history and culture developed by the Summer Scholars. Please have a look to see if they can be useful in your teaching. We were just awarded NEH funding to offer the program again in July 2015, so look for a call for applications later in the year. 

On July 1, I celebrated my first anniversary as Director of Partnership Programs. I am thrilled to be doing this work and am grateful for the vast network, high quality programming, and reputation for true partnership that my predecessor, Sue Thrasher, built. I have been deeply inspired by the K-12 and Five College educators with whom I've worked this year. Their love of their subject matter, dedication to improving their teaching, and eagerness to learn from each other have been in plain view at every event and meeting. Teachers are scholars and, before all, learners. It is the Partnership's goal to help teachers from pre-K to university continue to learn for the benefit of their students' learning. 

Looking forward, the Partnership is working on program ideas in integrated arts with Museums10 educators, global children's literature for literacy development, helping paraprofessionals to become licensed teachers, and informal science learning.  Let me know your ideas in these and any other areas. Please check our Facebook page for more frequent announcements. 
In August 2013, Amherst College acquired one of the most comprehensive collections of books by Native American Indian authors ever assembled by a private collector. The collection includes fiction, poetry, history, philosophy, sermons, anthropological works, photography, activism, books for children, and much more. The aim is to document as thoroughly as possible the full spectrum of Native American writing and intellectual life from the 18th century to the present.  Browse images of the collection and contact if you would like to view the books. 
Educator Lessons
This section will feature the thoughts and experiences of area educators from both K-12 schools and universities. 

This first issue features Margaret Betts, a first grade teacher at Maple School in Easthampton for the past seven years and an active member of the Western Massachusetts Math Partnership (WMMP). Margaret is also an instructor one day a week in the after-school program at Maple, and she shares here a challenge she faced and what she did about it.  Thank you, Margaret!

The after-school program at Maple is a 21st Century Grant program with a math focus in all its courses.  Margaret had always struggled to teach the math content to her after-school class of first through fourth graders. In 2013, she participated in the WMMP Summer Institute, which focused on the Mathematical Practice Standards. During the first morning, Margaret had an epiphany, as she describes it. Instead of trying to teach content across four grades, the after-school program should be focusing on these math practices. That would allow all children, no matter their level of math content knowledge, to engage academically with the enrichment curriculum.

With support from Joan Shaffer, the math coach at Maple School and a long-standing WMMP member, and Marcia Levy, the after-school program director, Margaret led a workshop in the fall of 2013 for the after-school instructors to explain to them how this new focus would work and how they could imbed the practices into their work. Four practices were chosen: 


1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

2. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. 

3. Use appropriate tools strategically. 

4. Attend to precision.


These practices were explicitly referenced at the beginning of each day's class. At circle time, children shared how they had used one math practice during the previous day's class. The practices were also incorporated into the wrap up of each class and Margaret was thrilled to see all the children take on the language and understanding of those practices. Working with the math practices has become part of the fabric of the program and has been embraced by adults and students alike. It has helped these students to integrate math into everything they learn.  

Opportunities for Educators
WMMP will sponsor Professional Learning Communities for math educators K-16, with start-up in September. If you would like to be on the WMMP contact email list, subscribe here. For more information, contact Marla Solomon.

The Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education (CAITE) is offering an array of computer science opportunities for teachers this summer.  Find professional development opportunities in Massachusetts at

The Collaborative for Educational Services' Emerging America program offers a variety of teacher workshops in history. Click on the link to see programs.

Two Commonwealth Corps Service Positions are available in Northfield Mount Hermon's Upward Bound Program, August 14, 2014 - June 27, 2015  

For more information and to apply, click here: College Advising Assistant job listing.    

Girls Inc. of Holyoke is seeking a new Director of Elementary Education. For more information, please contact Girls Inc. of Holyoke.

Global Arts Performances for Schools. With "arts for every child" as its mission, the UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center's Global Arts series brings thousands of schoolchildren and their teachers to its theaters to experience live performances.  For more information, click the link above or call 413-545-2116413-545-2116.


Send relevant announcements of opportunities for educators for this newsletter to Marla Solomon.