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The Rodel Foundation of Arizona’s MAC-Ro Math Initiative is now aligned to Arizona’s Common Core Standards for Mathematics. Arizona’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards is a major step toward helping students gain the academic knowledge and skills they need to be successful in college, career and life.

“These standards have the potential to transform the way mathematics is taught in the United States,” said Jackie Norton, Rodel President and CEO. “MAC-Ro’s focus on getting all stakeholders to understand the standards and concentrate on quality instruction makes it ideally suited to help schools make the transition to Common Core.”

Rooted in research, MAC-Ro was developed by experts in mathematics education and seasoned school leaders. Professional development for teachers, instructional leaders and administrators is supported by standards-based materials that engage students in the learning of math. This year, more than 2,500 educators and 65,000 first- through sixth-grade students across Arizona will participate in MAC-Ro.

Realignment of MAC-Ro

Over the past year, MAC-Ro has gone through a major overhaul of its components to align to the new standards. As schools transition to the new standards, they will have MAC-Ro’s revamped program to facilitate the change.

“Not only does MAC-Ro provide ongoing distributed practice for students, it also provides exemplar tasks for teachers,” said Kim Rimbey, Rodel’s Director of Curriculum & Professional Development, who led the realignment project. “This feature, combined with a variety of professional learning opportunities, will provide thousands of participating Arizona teachers and administrators with fresh ways to learn about Arizona’s Common Core Standards for Mathematics in the coming year.”

The realigned MAC-Ro components launched this fall represent the first year of a three-year process to ensure that MAC-Ro addresses the needs of Arizona’s students and teachers. A team of 24 teachers, math coaches and school administrators worked over the past year to rewrite all MAC-Ro materials. A smaller team will continue to refine program content in Year 2 with a focus on rigor and depth of knowledge. In Year 3, final changes will be made to sequencing of skills and alignment to assessments. Throughout the process, external math education experts are also reviewing the materials.

Expansion of Professional Learning

To fully realize the math learning potential of Arizona’s students, teachers need an in-depth understanding of math standards and how to teach them. Rodel is addressing this need through a new MAC-Ro component that will provide an intensive professional learning experience for teachers.

All third-grade teachers in the Pendergast Elementary School District are undergoing 50 hours of professional learning this semester to prepare them to teach the Common Core Standards for Mathematics. Six full-day workshops along with professional reading and outside assignments are intended to help them breathe life into the standards.

To round out this systemic approach to professional development, support will be provided to math coaches, principals, curriculum departments, professional development specialists and superintendents to ensure that the Common Core is embedded into the culture of the district for years to come.

Second-grade teachers in Pendergast participated in a similar pilot program last spring. Based on the results in Pendergast, the training will be replicated in selected districts in Spring 2013.

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The Rodel Foundation of Arizona’s vision is for Arizona to have one of the best pre-kindergarten through grade 12 educational systems in the country by 2020. For more information on the Foundation’s mission and initiatives, contact Rodel at 480-367-2920 or visit www.rodelaz.org.