Campus: CSU Hayward -- September 30, 2002
ACCLAIM Program at CSUH Helps Bay Area School
Teachers Deepen Their Knowledge of Mathematics
About 325 elementary and high school educators from school districts
throughout the Bay Area and Northern California attended summer school
at California State University, Hayward to deepen their understanding
As they start teaching in the fall, these educators will be more able
to help their students understand how and why mathematics makes sense—not
just how to do calculations.
The Alameda County Collaborative for Learning and Instruction in Mathematics
(ACCLAIM), based at Cal State Hayward, believes this summer training
will enhance the mathematics instruction in 30 Northern California school
districts for years to come.
The State of California has allotted nearly $4 million in grants for
the ACCLAIM program over the past three years, with Cal State Hayward
receiving about $1.75 million to administer the program. The state has
provided more than $2 million in stipends for program participants,
who receive $100 a day for their time and to cover travel expenses.
School districts sending participants are required to provide only a
$300 per teacher co-payment.
ACCLAIM, a collaborative effort of the Alameda County Office of Education
and the university’s Department of Math and Computer Science,
is open to all teachers, from kindergarten to 12th grade, who would
like to participate.
Tom Roby, ACCLAIM co-director and CSUH associate professor of mathematics,
said the program offers teachers “a way to deepen their understanding
of the mathematics they teach” while offering creative lesson
plans for their students.
“In addition to helping teachers develop a variety of effective
classroom instruction techniques, we show how technology and Internet
resources can be appropriately used in teaching math,” said Roby,
who earned a doctorate in mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of
“We point out the limitations as well as the benefits of various
approaches so that participating teachers gain confidence in choosing
the appropriate strategy for a given situation,” Roby added.
The ACCLAIM program offers a variety of two- to three-week full-day
institutes, broken out by mathematical topic and grade level, and 80
hours of follow-up activities during the school year. Offerings include
number sense, geometry, and statistics for elementary teachers; Transition
to Algebra for upper elementary and middle school teachers; Algebraic
Thinking 1 and statistics for middle and high school teachers; and Algebraic
Thinking 2, geometry, and trigonometry for high school teachers.
Roby has assembled a team of university mathematicians, K-12 classroom
teachers, and education specialists to serve in the professional development
Participants spent eight hours a day for nine- to 14-day sessions of
intensive teacher training during the summer and follow-up sessions
during the academic year.
Institutes explore the mathematical content at a deeper level than usual.
Roby said participants frequently commented that it was the first time
they ever understood why something worked, not just how. They told Roby
that they were eager to pass on their new insights to the students they
will have this fall.
In the transition to algebra class, taught by middle school instructor
and longtime CSUH lecturer Phil Gonsalves, teachers at the fourth through
sixth grade levels worked with brightly colored blue and yellow algebra
tiles as manipulatives.
“These manipulatives provide a hands-on way for students to come
to grips with working with variables instead of just numbers,”
Roby said. “With the current statewide push to have students understand
algebra by the eighth grade, it is essential to have a variety of teaching
“It's also important that students eventually learn to do algebra
without being dependent on the tiles, which function like training wheels
on a bicycle. Otherwise, the students will never achieve full comprehension
and fluency,” Roby noted.
In the high school geometry institute, Diablo Valley College instructor
Karen Edwards explored both Euclidean and non-Euclidean space by making
paper models to demonstrate geometric shapes and angles.
“Each institute closely follows the California Math Content Standards,”
Roby said. “In addition to our emphasis on content, we spend significant
time looking at teaching approaches.”
Roby pointed out that studies show that teachers throughout the United
States spend too much time teaching terms and procedures instead of
helping students understand the concepts behind the procedures.
The ACCLAIM program operated daily on the Cal State Hayward campus for
its third straight summer in 2002 and continues with follow up sessions
one Saturday a month during the school year.
More information about the ACCLAIM program is available at
by calling the ACCLAIM office at (510) 885-3591, or by e-mail to