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Stefanie D. Livers, Kristin E. Harbour, and Lindsey Fowler

In our attempts to make a concept easier, we may hinder student learning.

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Evthokia Stephanie Saclarides and Kristin E. Harbour

In Systems for Instructional Improvement: Creating Coherence from the Classroom to the District Office, Paul Cobb, Kara Jackson, Erin Henrick, Thomas M. Smith, and their colleagues showcase a long-term professional development project titled Middle School Mathematics and the Institutional Setting of Teaching (MIST). The MIST Project included an extensive team of researchers who engaged in a Research-Practice Partnership with teachers, instructional leaders, and administrators from four urban school districts for multiple years (two districts for 4 years and two districts for 8 years). The overarching purpose of this project, based on mutual goals of the school districts and the research team, was to “take a broad perspective that spans from the classroom to the district central office” (p. 3) to understand how to most effectively “support teachers’ development of ambitious and equitable instructional practices” (p. 2). More specifically, the MIST team had two types of goals: pragmatic and research. Their pragmatic goal was to assist the four partner school districts with their instructional improvement objectives by engaging in annual cycles of data collection, analysis, and feedback to help district leaders understand the extent to which the district's instructional improvement strategies were being implemented as intended and to make recommendations for revising the improvement strategies. Their research goal was to identify effective improvement strategies that districts can implement to improve mathematics teaching and learning on a large scale.