Southwest Consortium for the Improvement of Mathematics and Science Teaching


Eisenhower SCIMAST logo From October 1992 through September 2005, SEDL operated the Southwest Consortium for the Improvement of Mathematics and Science Teaching (SCIMAST). SCIMAST was one of ten regional science and mathematics consortia funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. These ten consortia and the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse, known collectively as the Eisenhower Network, were authorized by Congress to support mathematics and science education in schools throughout the United States and its territories.

The SCIMAST region included the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. During the years it was in operation, SCIMAST staff worked to improve mathematics and science learning in the region by focusing efforts on

  • increasing the use of research-based knowledge and high quality resources by teachers, especially in economically disadvantaged schools, and
  • increasing networking and collaboration among institutions at various levels of the education system, from schools to state departments to institutions of higher education.

Selected Resources

Classroom Compass
These newsletters connect issues in mathematics and science education to instructional ideas and resources. Each explores a topic in depth with classroom activity examples and resources to investigate further.

Facilitating Mathematics and Science Reform: Lessons Learned Series
These cross-consortia publications represents the reflective thinking of professionals who have engaged many thousands of clients. They highlight practical knowledge acquired through systematic use of specific strategies and tools, and connect this knowledge to research. Titles include:

  • What Experience Has Taught Us about Professional Development
  • What Experience Has Taught Us about Collaboration

State Landscape Papers
These booklets list mathematics and science sources, contacts, and programs available in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Teachers, principals, and parents can use them to locate information related to science and mathematics education.

Quick Takes
These issue briefs present concise discussions for parents, community leaders, the media, and others that offers information on hot topics involving the reform of science and mathematics education.

  • Quick Takes : Improving Mathematics Education: What Can We Learn from International Studies?
  • What is the Best Way to Monitor My Child's Progress in Mathematics and Science?
  • Calculators in the Classroom
  • Tracking Decisions Change Lives

Major Activities

SCIMAST activities included professional development for mathematics and science educators, dissemination of high quality resources, and collaboration with education leaders to formulate and carry out agendas and initiatives related to state and local reform. More information on major areas of work can be found below.

Access Centers
SCIMAST partnered with over other professional developers in 40 mathematics and science centers in the region to identify high quality materials for teachers. This included providing funds for purchasing approved materials for use in professional development activities centered around their use.

Intensive Site Work
SCIMAST professional development centered around longterm site-based work with teams of mathematics and science educators. These projects usually included intensive institutes on standards-based content and pedagogy, as well as facilitation in developing strategies such as Lesson Study for ongoing teacher development.

Networking Forums
SCIMAST hosted annual regional forums to allow participants to explore relevant issues and meet with colleagues from other states. Participants also met formally with members of different institutions within their own states to identify needs and concerns and plan for collaborative activities to be co-sponsored by SCIMAST.

Online Mentoring
This mediated, Web-based service provided teachers in the region with access to mathematics and science experts who could answer questions related instruction. The site included searchable archives of all of the questions answered and an e-mail list to inform subscribers of new entries.