University of Vermont

Vermont Quarterly

Vermont Math Institute is national leader


Vermont Math Institute is national leader

Recent accolades from his peer mathematicians and educators, awards on both the regional and national level, celebrate the innovative work and long service of Ken Gross, professor of mathematics, in helping to foster strong math teachers throughout the educational system.

Gross is a pioneer and national leader in promoting the importance of providing in-depth mathematics content knowledge to K-6 teachers, the guiding principle of the Vermont Mathematics Initiative, which he founded. VMI came into being in 1999 as school districts in Vermont, and across the country, were grappling with a new generation of integrated K-6 math instructional programs, like Mathland and Discover Math, that required even early grade teachers to have a sophisticated understanding of mathematical concepts. VMI has since enrolled more than 400 Vermont teachers from 90 percent of Vermont’s school districts.

The success of the Vermont Mathematics Initiative led to the adoption of similar programs in eight states, including Massachusetts, where Gross implemented the VMI program while a visiting professor at Lesley University in Cambridge, one of the country’s leading teacher development schools. The program Gross established at Lesley, the Center for Mathematics Achievement, is still a driving force in the school’s curriculum for teacher training in mathematics.

This summer, Penn State launched a program, the Pennsylvania Mathematics Initiative, modeled on VMI.

PSU program director George E. Andrews began looking at programs to improve math teaching at the elementary level when he served as president of the American Mathematical Society. “One of the most striking out there was Ken’s program,” he says. “A number of people have done good work in this area, but Ken is the spearhead. VMI has a ten-year track record of success. He’s done a great service not just for the people of Vermont, but for the country.”

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