West Cook Mathematics Initiative (WCMI)
The West Cook Mathematics Initiative (WCMI) is a cross-district, mathematics-improvement initiative that is built around preparation for algebra in the middle grades and the teaching of algebra in eighth and ninth grades in eleven districts in Proviso and Morton Townships and Elmwood Park in west Cook County and is administered as a partnership between UIC and the West 40 Intermediate Service Center #2. The project involves school districts in Proviso and Morton Townships and Elmwood Park. They serve a high percentage of low-income students, have common needs around mathematics teaching and learning, and share a commitment to undertake a comprehensive mathematics-improvement initiative. WCMI will attempt to develop shared solutions to commonly held problems across districts. The long-term project goal is to improve student success rates in algebra through more effective middle-school mathematics instruction and more effective teaching of algebra.
WCMI is funded by the Searle Fund of Chicago Community Trust and conceived of as a five-year effort. Project activities fall into four categories: developing the mathematics capacity in participating districts; promoting teacher enhancement; improving middle grades mathematics instruction; and strengthening middle grades-to-high school articulation and 9th grade instruction in Algebra 1.
While initial activities will address all four categories, in general, the first year of the project will emphasize building the districts’ mathematics leadership capacity and mathematics-support infrastructures. Broader programs and classroom interventions will receive greater emphasis during subsequent years. Participating districts have committed to participation in the full range of project activities.