The Ohio State University at Mansfield


Math Literacy Initiative


Think back to when you were in school. How did you learn math? Most likely, you learned through memorizing addition and multiplication tables, right? Not much has changed since you were in school. Most teachers in today’s schools were taught the same way, so they still teach students to memorize tables. As a result, teachers don’t enjoy teaching math and students don’t enjoy learning math.

The Mathematics Literacy Initiative changes the way mathematics is taught, from Kindergarten through high school. Professional development for teachers centers on a transformational 5-step process developed by the nationally renowned Algebra Project that focuses on strategies (how to teach) and materials (what to teach). It requires the teachers to step out of their typical structured lesson and into a world of nurturing students’ own language and understanding of mathematics.

I struggled with mathematics my entire life. I did not enjoy teaching it because I lacked confidence in my own knowledge and skills. In 2012, I began participating in the Math Literacy Initiative. At first, I was skeptical. It was so different than any other methodology for mathematics. Under the guidance of Dr. Terri Bucci and Dr. Lee McEwan, I not only have become a better teacher of mathematics, but a better mathematician. Yes, I actually consider myself a mathematician. I no longer shy away from attempting mathematical problems and I love teaching math to my students. Now, I am a Math Teacher Leader in my school building and I’m working toward my Doctorate in Leadership studies with a cognate focused on math education and pre-service teaching. Amy Bradley, K-1 grade teacher, Mansfield City School District

Six districts (Mansfield, Clear Fork, Lucas, Galion, Crestview and Lexington) and parochial School Mansfield St. Peter’s, encompassing more than one dozen schools, now comprise the Ohio Mathematics Alliance. While the initiative focuses on low performing districts, all districts seeking to create change in mathematics education are welcome. Using a unique university/school district/community partnership, MLI is seeking to expand across Ohio, and beyond.

Integrating the Mathematics Literacy Initiative program into a school district requires a systemic change in the way math is taught within the schools. A school district invests time and resources into identifying teachers who will become change agents in the effort and will commit three years, and more, to learning and then teaching mathematics literacy. MLI recognizes this is a complex effort and has formed a leadership academy to provide district superintendents, principals, and curriculum directors with the tools to enact change within their districts. Emphasis is placed on the role administrators play in creating a district-wide culture of professionalism in mathematics teaching, finding and nurturing Math Teacher Leaders, and best practices that support student growth.
For more information, please browse our webpages, or contact program coordinator Christina Drain at 419-755-4111.