California Elementary Mathematics and Science Professional Learning Initiative (CEMSPLI)

Woodlake Unified School District in Partnership with 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.

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Directed Study Courses

Brandman University’s Directed Study courses offer a flexible and innovative way for you to explore a new topic or take a deep dive into an existing area of interest. Each Directed Studies course is designed to provide practical, real-world learning opportunities, culminating in an assessment that is authentic to your field of study.

 Key Features:    

  • Online and self-paced
  • Dedicated mentor

  • Interactive assignments
  • Real-world case studies

  • Authentic assessments
  • Earn graduate level professional development credits

 


  • Learn how to use evidence-based practices based on neuroscientific research to create an effective brain-based lesson. As a student, you will:

    • Identify the anatomy and functional areas of the brain.
    • Describe the physiology of learning.
    • Differentiate between the various memory stores.
    • Discover strategies that help students process information from sensory memory to long-term memory.
    • Analyze the impact of emotion on learning.
    • Create a comprehensive brain-based lesson.

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  • Develop the skills necessary to effectively interact and communicate with others. As a student, you will:

    • Explain the interpersonal communication process.
    • Explain the filters and barriers that affect interpersonal communication.
    • Identify ways to improve personal communication, including listening skills.
    • Analyze how to effectively use communication technologies.

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  • This learning experience will include understanding the differences between a Growth Mindset and a Fixed Mindset, and why some individuals have the ability to view moments of struggle as opportunity, while others view it as failure. As a student, you will:

    • Contrast the difference between a Growth Mindset vs a Fixed Mindset.
    • Determine if there is a correlation between a Growth Mindset and the brain; and determine why our Mindsets matter.
    • Define the power of perseverance, grit, and the Power of Yet
    • Analyze your own Mindset, and see how to grow and change
    • Create a lesson plan  to teach students to have a Growth Mindset through  the use of questioning.

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  • Apply English Language Development (ELD) strategies focused on academic language, vocabulary development, and student discussions in K-6 mathematics. As a student, you will:

    • Describe how English Language Learners are affected by the increased language demands of the CCSSM both locally and statewide. 
    • Integrate ELD standards and K-6 mathematical practices to support English Language Learners in both language and content acquisition.   
    • Apply academic language and vocabulary development instructional strategies, such as explicit vocabulary instruction, word walls and journals, in mathematical instruction.
    • Apply speaking and listening instructional strategies, such as the 3-Reads model and discussion frames, in mathematical instruction.
    • Incorporate multiple ELD strategies in planning and design of integrated math ELD lessons.

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  • Create a rigorous, high quality, and engaging project-based learning unit. As a student, you will:

    • Define the term “project based learning”
    • Identify the elements of a high quality project based learning experience
    • Connect academic standards to real world context
    • Create an open ended, complex essential question to guide the project
    • Create authentic formative and summative assessments to evaluate learning
    • Plan an exhibition of student work

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  • This course will provide insights and tools for increasing your leadership influence and effectiveness at all levels of the organization. As a student, you will:

    • Define emotional intelligence concepts and frameworks.
    • Identify personal emotional intelligence skills through self-assessment.
    • Describe the connection between emotional intelligence and individual and organization performance.
    • Relate emotional intelligence factors to leadership effectiveness.
    • Explore strategies to build emotional intelligence into strengths to improve leadership performance.
    • Devise an action plan to integrate practices that increase emotional-social intelligence within your work group.

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  • Create instruction centered around building conceptual understanding of mathematics by exploring the importance of language, contextual relationships, multiple perspectives, and making connections between ideas. As a student, you will:

    • Describe the connections between language and math.
    • Articulate the challenges in student understanding of mathematical concepts and how the current education system may exacerbate these issues.
    • Investigate mathematical concepts from different perspectives.
    • Explain the meaning behind common mathematical concepts taught in K-6 classrooms.
    • Make connections between mathematical concepts, language, symbolism, and visual representations.
    • Develop instruction centered around building conceptual understanding of mathematics and less on rote rules and procedures.

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  • Develop the skills to identify, address, and resolve conflict in and out of the workplace. As a student, you will:

    • Define conflict and identify sources of conflict both in and outside of the workplace.
    • Identify the two main dimensions of conflict behavior.
    • Explain the five conflict handling modes.
    • Identify conflict resolution strategies.
    • Formulate the cost of conflict in the workplace.

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  • Investigate the impact of STEM education in order to develop and deliver effective STEM lessons and share this information with others to expand STEM methods in your school or school district. As a student, you will:

    • Identify the rationale for STEM/STEAM education in K-12 classrooms.
    • Identify how Project Based Learning can be considered an extension of STEM learning.
    • Analyze a STEM lesson in comparison to a traditional math or science lesson and in relation to the Next Generation Science standards.
    • Evaluate possible STEM lessons for their effectiveness in teaching science, technology, engineering, and math.
    • Adapt or design a STEM/STEAM lesson for use in a K-12 classroom which incorporate procedures to ensure strong classroom management and lesson delivery.

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