In 1995, the Los Angeles Unified School District received a $15 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to meet three goals: to raise student achievement, to close the achievement gap between students who were succeeding and those not succeeding, and to provide a standards-based instructional program for all students. Because of the progress made during this five-year period, the District received a new grant from NSF in 2001 to continue the work. The Los Angeles Urban Systemic Program, LAUSP, is making mathematics and science content more engaging and accessible to all students.
We know that learning is exciting when it is both an intellectual and emotional experience, when it stimulates the mind and engages a student's natural enthusiasm to explore and grow. We created our program by observing the best teachers in LAUSD to see how they were inspiring students in their classrooms. We looked at the brain-based research on how children learn and brought together the most qualified people available to plan our course. The result is, "Hands-On, Minds-On Mathematics and Science."
Engaging All Students
In a more traditional program, students who are able to learn through the lecture process are the ones who are usually successful. In the "Hands-On, Minds-On" approach, a variety of learning modes are addressed so that all students can take an active part in their own education and see how it relates to the real world. Carefully guided investigations, combined with skill building, allow students to think through problems, work in teams, find creative solutions and become comfortable using new concepts and tools in the discovery process. This well-rounded, comprehensive approach to education gives students the greatest possible chance for success in school and in their futures.
Six Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) Centers are located throughout the District to make resources available to teachers. Each center has a professional development library, computers for teacher use and a knowledgeable staff ready to help any LAUSD teacher who needs mathematics and science support. In addition, manipulatives, science equipment, classroom kits, and other materials are available for teachers to check out, free of charge. The MST Centers receive over 12,000 teacher visits per year. They provide whole classroom activities, work with parents, and arrange school-based training sessions.
Professional development is one of the most important components of LAUSP, and we provide teachers with over 140,000 hours of professional development each year. The classes are designed for new teachers and "seasoned" teachers and many of them take place at the MST Centers after school and on weekends.
All classes address standards-based learning and the Superintendent's goal of improved student learning of high academic standards. Classes also show how to integrate mathematics and science instruction into literacy and other core curriculum areas to give students a well-balanced and practical approach to their education.
Partners are another important link in LAUSP's success. Over 40 dedicated community partners from businesses, museums, colleges and universities lend their expertise and resources to teachers and students. This enhances curriculum and creates new and exciting experiences that relate mathematics and science to real world applications.
Specialists and Resource Teachers
The projects and programs of LAUSP have reached every corner of the eight Local Districts. Largely responsible for this success are the LAUSP Coordinators and Advisors whose experiences range from elementary through high school, in mathematics, science, and technology. These talented professionals really understand student learning and take their experience wherever it is needed throughout the district. In addition, LAUSP has over 800 teacher leaders who collaborate with teachers at individual school sites. Together this entire team has a powerful and unique impact out in the field.
LAUSP has been very successful. Test scores in mathematics and science are rising in the LAUSD. More under-represented minority students are entering the college pipeline, and enrollment in AP mathematics and science courses is up. The teachers who work with LAUSP bring excitement and the latest teaching techniques to their classrooms, and the students really benefit.
Supt. Roy Romer, Principal Investigator
Todd Ullah, Project Director
Ann Carnes, Elementary Coordinator
Don Kawano, Middle School Coordinator
Diane Watkins, High School Coordinator
333 S. Beaudry, 25th Floor, 151-
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone (213) 241-6420 Fax (213) 241-6880
Los Angeles Unified School District