Experience from the field suggests that the following are critical aspects for successfully using Investigations to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics.
A leader with a vision and a team. Strong leadership is the foundation for successful implementation. It requires a person with a vision of what mathematics teaching and learning should look like, and a thoughtfully chosen team that shares the responsibility for developing, communicating about, implementing, supporting, monitoring, and evaluating the plan.
A long-term plan, based on local factors and current circumstances. It should: fit into the larger strategic plan of the school/district; account for articulation across grades and schools; describe how implementation will unfold; and predict changes that will be needed over time. An implementation plan must also take into account the following factors:
- Expectations. A plan needs to describe what is expected and how people will be supported. Expectations need to be reasonable, and communication about them needs to be clear and consistent.
- Resources. Thinking about resources in the broadest sense—including materials, people, time, and money—is critical. Teachers need the curriculum units and the associated materials, time for 70 minutes of math a day, and time for professional development. People may be needed to fill new roles and to lead professional development. Particularly early on, targeted use of outside expertise may be required. (Learn more about Managing Resources.)
- Professional Development. Classroom teachers, teacher leaders/coaches/specialists, and principals and other administrators need support designed to meet their needs. Who will lead such professional development, and how it will be scheduled and funded, also needs to be considered. (Learn more about Planning for Professional Development.)
- Leadership Development. It is important to have a strategy for identifying, developing, and supporting leaders at all levels, and descriptions of what their work will be. (Learn more about Building Capacity.)
- Work with Families. The plan should describe how families can learn about and participate in the work of improving mathematics teaching and learning for all students. (Learn more about Working with Families.)