Strengthening Instruction in Tennessee Elementary Schools - Focus on Mathematics


We believe that it is essential to strengthen the mathematics expertise of elementary and middle school teachers in order to:

  • address the achievement gap in elementary student mathematics;
  • build a firm mathematics foundation for these students for later study in middle school and high school; and
  • break the cycle of under-preparedness in mathematics.

Tennessee State University and Educational Testing Service (ETS) have partnered to involve a consortium of Tennessee Colleges and Universities in a large-scale professional development program.


Together, the participating institutions reach out across Tennessee to strengthen instruction in mathematics at the K-8 level by working with college and university mathematics and mathematics education professors, pre-service teachers, and in-service teachers in partner schools. Through a series of summer professional development institutes and school-year Weekend Mathematics Workshops, training in the use of the standardized observation protocols, monthly mathematics challenges, and a project-based website for participants, we provide the newest thinking in professional development for mathematics education and standards-based instruction aimed at increasing teachers' mathematics content knowledge and mathematical knowledge for teaching.

SITES-M has a unique opportunity at present to reach teachers in the state through the institutions that train a significant portion of them— colleges and universities in Tennessee. By providing professional development and standards-based instruction, Tennessee College and University math and math education faculty acquire new, research-based approaches to teaching mathematics to pre-service teachers. Pre-service teachers gain early access to professional development in mathematics. Additionally elementary and middle school teachers in partner schools gain increased understanding of mathematics knowledge for teaching. Subsequently, the schoolchildren complete their elementary and middle school education in partner schools with improved math proficiency scores and increased enjoyment of mathematics.

Dr. Celeste Williams

Interim Dean, College of Education, TSU

Dr. Trinetia Respress


Department Chair, Department of Education Administration,TSU
SITES-M Project Director

Dr. Michael Nettles



Sr. Vice President, ETS   

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