Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

CA Elementary Math and Science Initiative

The grants provided in-depth professional learning opportunities in mathematics and science for collaborative teams of elementary educators, teachers and their school-site administrator, to improve instructional practice and leadership.

The California Elementary Mathematics and Science Professional Learning Initiative (2015–17) provided in-depth professional learning opportunities in mathematics and science for collaborative teams of elementary educators, teachers and their school-site administrator, to improve instructional practice and leadership. The grant period ended on December 31, 2017. Twelve awards, totaling $8,847,523.50, were made to the following institutions of higher education:

San Jose State University (SJSU)

The Franklin McKinley Mathematics Initiative (FM2I) is a professional learning collaborative between SJSU and five instructional teams from the Franklin McKinley School District consisting of Grades 3–6 teachers, curriculum support specialists, and their principals. FM2I aims to support teachers to effectively implement the California Academic Content Standards for Mathematics using research-based best practices and the careful integration of California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress type math tasks in everyday teaching, learning, and assessment. Teams also develop strategies that model and support “deep understanding of mathematics” in the context of productive mathematical discussions among students. They also infuse lessons with growth mindset, culturally relevant teaching, and English Learner strategies for increasing student engagement and success.

For more information, visit the San Jose State University project Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

California State University, Sacramento (CSUS)

Triangulating Educational Access through Mathematics and Science (TEAMS) is a partnership with six elementary schools in two school districts to start implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) at these school sites. The project provides professional development that integrates model-based curricula in science with Universal Design for Learning and English Language Development. Teams of general education, special education and administrators from each school site have also developed plans to introduce the rest of the staff to NGSS and the pedagogy promoted in TEAMS.

For more information, visit the CSUS project Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Humboldt State University

The Redwood Coast Professional Learning Initiative (RCPLI) is a collaborative effort with Humboldt County Office of Education and Del Norte County School District to strengthen the teaching performance of k–5 teachers in mathematics. RCPLI focuses on developing content, pedagogical, and collective knowledge for teachers in the implementation of the California Academic Content Standards for Mathematics (CACSM). RCPLI serves nineteen elementary school teams in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.  Each team includes the principal, a K–2 teacher leader/coach, a 3–5 teacher leader/coach and 1–3 other teachers. A key component of RCPLI is a lead role for school administrators to enhance their effectiveness as instructional leaders through increased engagement with teachers in planning and delivering CACSM aligned instruction strategies.

For more information, visit the Humboldt State University project Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Brandman University

Brandman University and Woodlake Unified School District (WUSD) developed and implemented a multi-year program to improve math instruction in grades TK–6 through strategies that focused on improved teacher confidence in math abilities and math classroom strategies. The partners utilized summer intensive sessions, school year Professional Learning days, family math bowls and other events engaging families and students, and focused Instructional Rounds and Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Teachers and administrators took part in practical, applied hands on activities with Brandman University subject matter experts and master WUSD teachers facilitating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) activities to foster mathematical reasoning and problem solving in students, implementation of English Language Development (ELD) strategies in mathematics and effective use of technology to improve math achievement. The partners are documenting best practices and instituting continuous improvement processes while also developing directed study materials which can be shared with new teachers and other districts.  Desired outcomes were determined by laddering back from required and aspirational high school outcomes used to define the foundations that are needed in TK–6.

For more information, visit the Brandman University project Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

OLAS: A Partnership between UC Berkeley and Oakland Unified to Support Language Acquisition through Advancement in Science

Beginning in January of 2016 the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and UC Berkeley’s (UCB) Graduate School of Education began a partnership to support language acquisition and science instruction at five Dual Language Immersion (Spanish) Schools. The Oakland Language Immersion and Advancement in Science (OLAS) program, funded by a California Elementary Mathematics and Science Professional Learning Initiative Grant, set forth an initiative to support these five OUSD schools in examining the school’s current data on how historically underserved populations of students at the school are performing in acquiring academic language in science. From that examination OLAS supported the school’s principal and Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) to identify a school wide Problem of Practice (POP) and to develop and implement a school wide OLAS Implementation Plan to address their POP. OLAS provided support through two week long Summer Institutes for each school's ILT, a Professional Development Day for the entire staff of all five schools, and Leadership coach support for each school's ILT. OUSD committed direct staff support to these five schools from the district's Science department and English Language Development department.

For more information, visit the OLAS project Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Collaborative Inquiry Team Alliance (CITA) is a partnership between UCLA Center X and the Lawndale Elementary School District. The grant focuses on building instructional leadership in mathematics through a theory-to-practice approach by unifying principles of collaboration, transformative leadership, practitioner-driven inquiry, Cognitively Guided Instruction, Adaptive Schools Seminars, and Cognitive Coaching. The grant focuses specifically on building collaborative site instructional leadership teams that may have long-term impacts on student academic outcomes. CITA is a district-wide initiative involving all six of Lawndale’s elementary schools.  Each team includes the school-site principal, vice-principal, Teacher on Special Assignment in Mathematics, English Language Instructional Resource Teacher, and two classroom teachers. Teams work with a UCLA Center X coach to implement team and site professional learning plans. 

For more information, visit the UCLA project Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

California State University, Northridge (CSUN)

CEMPSLI funded Project entitled “Achieve Through PLCs”(ATPLC) engaged with our notable partners NASA/JPL, Discovery Cube LA, LACOE, DIY Girls and Sally Ride Science to support upper-elementary school teachers and their principals in NGSS-aligned, STEM curriculum that inspired them to pursue scientific inquiry. We enabled them to form professional learning communities (PLCs) in which integrated-STEM study became the focus for individual and group learning for students and families in science.

Evaluation of the project has been ongoing and has specifically focused on teachers’ and school leaders’ current practice and vision of sustaining STEM PLCs. Project teachers have shown evidence that they have transferred and applied the many professional learning opportunities provided by informal science-focused partners that now align with both the Next Century Science and Common Core State Standards.

The Project focused on the Family Engagement component that has combined the work of CSUN faculty, Families in Schools (FIS) and DIY Girls to create parent engagement workshop modules. “STEM – Every Child Can Succeed,” with accompanying training for teachers, administrators and parent coordinators.

For more information, visit the CSUN project Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

University of Redlands

Partnered with Moreno Valley Unified School District for the CEMSPLI grant award to improve elementary students’ mathematics achievement with a focus on students of color, English-language learners, and students from low-income households. The project, known as “Transforming Lives Through Mathematics Leadership Institute,” developed collaboratively led professional-learning communities in which elementary school teams of teachers and principals co-developed their knowledge of math-focused content and technology-infused instruction. The goal was to help all elementary students build the growth mindset, number sense, and algebraic conceptual knowledge needed to form a solid foundation for future mathematics achievement in middle and high school. Dr. Jose Lalas, Director of the Center for Educational Justice at the University of Redlands, served as the project director and MVUSD Professional Development Specialist Deepika Srivastava served as the project coordinator. Other partners include the National Association of Elementary School Principals; UCLA Curtis Center; Riverside County Office of Education; Expanding Education, Inc.; and Dr. Pamela Clute of UC Riverside.

For more information, contact Jose Lalas at

University of the Pacific

Partners to Renew and Improve Math Education (PRIME) is a partnership that includes the University of the Pacific, Teachers College of San Joaquin, and thirteen small, rural and charter schools in Tuolumne, San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties in Northern California.  Participants are thirty-seven K–6 teachers and fourteen school administrators.  PRIME was designed to facilitate an increase in the teachers’ (CACSM-aligned) pedagogical content knowledge and to develop their abilities to engage students in mathematical discourse.  Through PRIME, the teachers developed units of instruction based upon a Project Based Learning model.  Math leadership training was provided for administrators and teachers.  Collaboration & networking sessions were held at local school sites. Through participation in PRIME, teachers may qualify for the CCTC-approved Math Instructional Added Authorization (MIAA). 

For more information, contact Dr. Dennis Parker, Pacific Department of Mathematics, at or Katie Burns, Teachers College of San Joaquin, at

California State University East Bay (CSUEB)

Teaming for Equity and Effectiveness in Mathematics (TEEM) is a professional learning collaborative between CSUEB and administrators and teachers from five elementary schools in Hayward Unified School District.  The teacher teams from each school represent grades TK through third and the project also included district El and mathematics coaches and the district Curriculum and Instruction coordinator. The professional learning workshops focused on effective implementation of the CA Academic Content Standards for Mathematics with particular emphases on a thorough understanding of the scope of the Number and Operations in Base 10 and Operations and Algebraic Thinking domains across the grade span represented by the teachers, deep knowledge of teaching practices and activities designed to implement the Standards for Mathematical Practice, and meeting the special needs of English Learners. Administrators participated in sessions with their teachers but also engaged separately in dialog to develop systems to scale and sustain the work of their teachers to non-participant teachers in their schools.

For more information, visit the CSUEB project Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

California State University, Chico (CSU, Chico)

"Project ESTEEM is a professional learning project for K-6 teachers and principals that promotes understanding of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), as well as school, university, and community partnerships for elementary education throughout northeastern California. Professional learning is centered on applying the NGSS through development science-based, integrated instructional units by cross-district grade-level teams of teachers and principals. Each team designed, implemented, revised, and submitted field-tested NGSS-aligned units over a two-year professional learning process. The units follow a template created by science educators at CSU, Chico. Each freely downloadable unit includes a chart of lesson plans, along with support materials all geared towards engaging students deeply in all three dimensions of the NGSS: science and engineering standards, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts."

For more information, visit the CSU, Chico project Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

San Francisco State University (SFSU)

Project ExCEL: Elementary Science and Engineering in Local Contexts. Project ExCEL seeks to increase access to rigorous, engaging science learning for children from communities currently underrepresented in STEM-based college majors and careers. Teacher leaders and principals from five schools in San Francisco Unified and Bayshore School Districts have partnered with SFSU’s Department of Elementary Education, The Romberg Tiburon Center (part of the College of Science and Engineering) and the National Estuarine Research Reserve. Together, they are developing the content knowledge and pedagogical skills needed to make the content of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) accessible and meaningful to the students they teach. Through week long summer science institutes, monthly project meetings, and continual site-based collaboration, these teams are transforming science teaching and learning in their own classrooms and developing leadership plans to support the district wide transition to new ways of teaching and learning science in accordance with the NGSS. 

For more information, visit the SFSU project Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Questions: Teacher & Leader Policy Office | | 916-445-7331 
Last Reviewed: Monday, May 7, 2018