Mathematics Learning Community

Program Type

Teacher Development/Training

Target Audience

All Students

Teachers/Educational Leaders




Pre-K - 5
Grades 6 - 8

 Accomplished link

Program Overview

The Mathematics Learning Community (MLC) helps teachers understand how students learn about specific concepts in mathematics. Teachers collaborate to review students' work, identify where students are misunderstanding critical concepts, and devise more targeted strategies to address students' needs..

The Regional Science Resource Center (RSRC) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School has developed and piloted Mathematics Learning Community (MLC) professional development materials in Massachusetts. These materials provide the structure and content to facilitate school-based discussions among teachers and staff about how students understand, express and think about mathematics.

MLC materials allow teachers to probe student thinking by learning how to examine student work with a diagnostic eye and then have meaningful collegial conversations about what they have discovered. As a result, those teachers learn to diagnose and better target students' learning needs. MLC materials are aligned to the Intel Math curriculum and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice.

Skilled facilitation is required to ensure the effectiveness of a school-based MLC. Facilitator Training is built on the premise that the training group acts as a model MLC. Through this approach, facilitators can experience first-hand the questions, solutions, student ideas, and mathematics that will be discussed. 

How To Get Involved

It costs roughly $1,500 to train a teacher leaders who can support between eight and 25 other teachers in a Mathematics Learning Community. Those teachers, in turn, can benefit thousands of students through better instruction. Recently, cuts to education have kept MLC from growing. The program's leaders believe that, with more funding, they could reach between 20 and 100 teacher leaders next year, which could amount to better teaching for tens or even hundreds of thousands of students.

Funders and Partners

MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Intel Foundation, Noyce Foundation


Sandra Mayrand, Director

Visit Website

Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.