Have you heard about CPM’s Teacher Research Corps? 

September 2023

CPM’s Teacher Research Corps is a powerful form of teacher-driven professional learning that CPM funds as part of its mission to recognize and foster teacher expertise and leadership in mathematics education. Is TRC a good fit for you or for teachers you support? The answer might be yes if:

  • You are a teacher looking to broaden your community of like-minded teachers to collaborate with.
  • You are a coach looking to support teachers to develop a reflective practice
  • You are an administrator looking to support teachers’ learning and leadership within your mathematics department. 

picture of TRC professionals

Do not let the idea of doing “research” scare you: teachers who join TRC come back year after year and report it as some of the best professional learning they have ever participated in. Maybe this is because TRC is teacher-driven professional learning: teachers reflect on their classroom practice and articulate challenges they are facing. They find like-minded colleagues in TRC who are interested in investigating those challenges together. They meet monthly with their team and with the TRC Leadership Team. Everyone in TRC works collaboratively to troubleshoot challenges and document progress. 

We would like to share some reflections from this year’s TRC cohort to share about the power of this form of professional development. 

We asked Teacher Researchers: Why did you choose TRC?

On the first of TRC’s three-day summer institute, Teacher Researchers reflected on what motivated them to participate in TRC. These thoughts are from one investigative team that formed this June at the TRC 10.0 Institute. They titled their group “Asset-based collaborative assessments” to reflect their topic of investigation for the year. They posed their focal question as

“How can we approach assessment in a way that is asset-based, aligned with collaborative classroom practices, and focused on understanding over time?” 

There are four Teacher Researchers on this team, they come from widely different contexts, with experiences ranging from newer to more veteran teachers, and from being new to TRC to TRC veterans. Each teacher has their own reasons for joining TRC. Which reasons resonate with you?

TRC continues to be the best form of PD that I have ever had the opportunity to participate in. I come back to TRC each year because I enjoy collaborating with teachers from around the country. I also enjoy working with the TRC leadership team who help me find ideas to bring math to students who do not see themselves as a math person. I feel rejuvenated every summer coming into the new school year after TRC with a plan of ways to improve my own teaching for my students, as well as every month when I get to discuss ideas and solutions with my teammates. It has made me a far better teacher than I could have been without the collaboration!

Laura Bell
Laura is a 17-year teaching veteran. She teaches 7th (IC2) and 8th grade (CCA) math at a rural middle school with 37% free and reduced lunch.

I am here because I believe that TRC makes me a better teacher not only for my students, but for the other teachers in my district. My classroom experience contributes to this because I believe that my students deserve to have the very best education that I can provide, and I believe that in the 12th grade, they are on their way to the rest of their lives.

Janine Scott
Janine is a 20-year teaching veteran. She teaches 11th (CCA2) and 12th grade (PreCalc) math at an urban high school with 82% free and reduced lunch. 

I am here because I want to improve my practice of teaching and I know that CPM’s TRC is a place to work with like-minded (in terms of the core beliefs of CPM teachers) but a diverse group of teachers and supporters. I hope that what I do here and over the course of the year will lead to a better experience for my students and better learning outcomes for them, not just this year but in their futures. I am hoping to improve how I implement Building Thinking Classrooms and incorporate authentic real-world problem solving to help students learn how to be better citizens.

Carrie Velasco
Carrie is a 13-year teaching veteran. She teaches 11th and 12th grade (INT3) math at a suburban high school with 16% free and reduced lunch. 

I am doing TRC to become a better teacher for my students. My intention is to learn more about learning, and my hope is to support all students in their curiosity and creativity. CPM professional learning is always something that I come back to. I am excited to work with like-minded teachers.

Brooke Nixon
Brooke is a 5-year teaching veteran. She teaches 7th (CC2) and 8th grade (CC3) math at a suburban middle school with 16% free and reduced lunch. 


Want to learn more? 

CPM’s Teacher Researchers earn an annual stipend to support the extra work that they do during the school year. Their travel and lodging to TRC Institute are covered by CPM. Applications for the 2024-25 school year open in January 2024-March 2024. To learn more, contact TRC’s Program Manager, Mark Coté, at markcote@cpm.org

Keep an eye out for insights from Teacher Researchers: 

  • in CPM’s Newsletter from Teacher Researchers. 
  • at CPM’s Annual Teacher Conference. 
CPM’s Teacher Research Corps Leadership Team

CPM’s Teacher Research Corps Leadership Team

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Algebra Tiles Blue Icon

Algebra Tiles Session

  • Used throughout CPM middle and high school courses
  • Concrete, geometric representation of algebraic concepts.
  • Two-hour virtual session,
  •  Learn how students build their conceptual understanding of simplifying algebraic expressions
  • Solving equations using these tools.  
  • Determining perimeter,
  • Combining like terms,
  • Comparing expressions,
  • Solving equations
  • Use an area model to multiply polynomials,
  • Factor quadratics and other polynomials, and
  • Complete the square.
  • Support the transition from a concrete (manipulative) representation to an abstract model of mathematics..

Foundations for Implementation

This professional learning is designed for teachers as they begin their implementation of CPM. This series contains multiple components and is grounded in multiple active experiences delivered over the first year. This learning experience will encourage teachers to adjust their instructional practices, expand their content knowledge, and challenge their beliefs about teaching and learning. Teachers and leaders will gain first-hand experience with CPM with emphasis on what they will be teaching. Throughout this series educators will experience the mathematics, consider instructional practices, and learn about the classroom environment necessary for a successful implementation of CPM curriculum resources.

Page 2 of the Professional Learning Progression (PDF) describes all of the components of this learning event and the additional support available. Teachers new to a course, but have previously attended Foundations for Implementation, can choose to engage in the course Content Modules in the Professional Learning Portal rather than attending the entire series of learning events again.

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Building on Instructional Practice Series

The Building on Instructional Practice Series consists of three different events – Building on Discourse, Building on Assessment, Building on Equity – that are designed for teachers with a minimum of one year of experience teaching with CPM instructional materials and who have completed the Foundations for Implementation Series.

Building on Equity

In Building on Equity, participants will learn how to include equitable practices in their classroom and support traditionally underserved students in becoming leaders of their own learning. Essential questions include: How do I shift dependent learners into independent learners? How does my own math identity and cultural background impact my classroom? The focus of day one is equitable classroom culture. Participants will reflect on how their math identity and mindsets impact student learning. They will begin working on a plan for Chapter 1 that creates an equitable classroom culture. The focus of day two and three is implementing equitable tasks. Participants will develop their use of the 5 Practices for Orchestrating Meaningful Mathematical Discussions and curate strategies for supporting all students in becoming leaders of their own learning. Participants will use an equity lens to reflect on and revise their Chapter 1 lesson plans.

Building on Assessment

In Building on Assessment, participants will apply assessment research and develop methods to provide feedback to students and inform equitable assessment decisions. On day one, participants will align assessment practices with learning progressions and the principle of mastery over time as well as write assessment items. During day two, participants will develop rubrics, explore alternate types of assessment, and plan for implementation that supports student ownership. On the third day, participants will develop strategies to monitor progress and provide evidence of proficiency with identified mathematics content and practices. Participants will develop assessment action plans that will encourage continued collaboration within their learning community.

Building on Discourse

In Building on Discourse, participants will improve their ability to facilitate meaningful mathematical discourse. This learning experience will encourage participants to adjust their instructional practices in the areas of sharing math authority, developing independent learners, and the creation of equitable classroom environments. Participants will plan for student learning by using teaching practices such as posing purposeful questioning, supporting productive struggle, and facilitating meaningful mathematical discourse. In doing so, participants learn to support students collaboratively engaged with rich tasks with all elements of the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices incorporated through intentional and reflective planning.