“SERP field sites are structured as a set of three closely connected, and partially overlapping, groups: The Core Group, The Design Team, and the Research Team.”
San Francisco Field Site
The SERP San Francisco field site was established in January 2007 with financial support from The S.D. Bechtel Jr., Foundation and The Intel Foundation. The initial foci of the field site were middle school mathematics and science learning as well as the literacy and language challenges that create barriers to accessing content in those subjects.
In the four years since its inception considerable progress has been made. Today, the SERP collaboration is comprised of teachers, principals, district staff, and university researchers working actively on research and development initiatives that aim to increase student achievement in middle school math, science, and literacy and to develop leadership capacity within the district structure and at school sites.
Current Research Collaborations
How do math teachers unpack the range of student thinking present in classrooms so they can help students develop rich understanding of the mathematics?A SERP collaboration between SFUSD practitioners and researchers from the University of California at Berkeley is developing innovative instructional approaches designed to improve the capacity of middle school mathematics teachers and math teacher leaders to explore students’ ways of thinking about mathematics in an effort to increase their understanding and skill. go to website: Sense-making in Mathematics
How do we prepare math teacher leaders in a professional development (PD) model that is both sustainable in building local capacity and scalable on a long-term basis, beyond the support by the original developers?Despite the importance of mathematics professional development (PD), few PD programs have been implemented on a large scale, and little attention has been paid to investigating the factors that make a program scalable and sustainable. This SERP collaboration led by the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET) at Stanford University builds on prior math PD work in Colorado. This design research project will contribute to theory and practice in this area by developing and studying the Problem-Solving Cycle (PSC) for preparing leaders to facilitate mathematics PD in the local context of San Francisco Unified middle schools. details
How do we design professional development (PD) that prepares science teachers to engage students in structured discussions that promote perspective taking and complex reasoning?We argue that preparing teachers to engage in structured discussion that promotes perspective taking, complex reasoning, and academic language is the greatest challenge in improving reading comprehension. In collaboration with the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET) at Stanford, the SERP research team are co-designing a PD model with 4-8th grade science teachers that catalyzes comprehension through discussion and debate in science. details
How do students understand major science concepts and develop reasoning with those concepts? How do teachers use knowledge of students’ understanding of a given concept and reasoning to make instructional decisions in augmenting student understanding?Developing an empirically grounded understanding of how student learning of scientific content and reasoning develops over time – that is, the pathways in which their learning may progress – is an important priority for research and practice. Detailed learning progressions “hold the promise of transforming science education by providing better alignment between curriculum, instruction and assessment” (Duncan & Hmelo-Silver, 2009). Currently, instruction in science education, as in many other school subjects, is dominated by curricula and systems of testing which are driven by demands for teacher and school accountability and have little research base. details
How do we address the urgent problem of students entering high school unable to comprehend their textbooks?Researchers at Harvard University and SERP, in collaboration with the Boston Public Schools, have developed a program named Word Generation for building the academic language middle school students need to comprehend subject area texts, develop and support arguments, and write persuasive essays. San Francisco Unified is one of three districts participating in a randomized controlled field trial for the next two years (2010-2012). details
What are the malleable factors that influence outcomes of English Language Learners?
Nationally, English language learners (ELLs) are the fastest growing segment of the K-12 population. More than one in five school-age children in the US speak a language other than English at home, and California is home to roughly one-third of all ELL students in the US. Academic outcomes for ELL students in California lag well behind those of native English speakers just as they do nationally. details