Deepening Understanding of Elementary Mathematics for Teachers

The Deepening Understanding of Elementary Mathematics program is for K-8 teachers, teacher leaders, and coaches interested in reaching all students and inspiring their development. The courses are designed for those seeking a deeper understanding of the mathematics they teach, how to best engage students in mathematical thinking and problem solving, and ways to support mathematics teaching, learning, and growth within their classroom and school.

Keeping instructional implications in mind, the program provides educators with opportunities to explore mathematics, share and discuss the work of their students, analyze tasks and curriculum materials, and read related research to better understand student thinking and/or trends in thinking. Graduates of the program are prepared to lead both within their classroom and beyond.

Program features

  • Off-campus evening or summer weeklong intensive courses accommodate working professionals
  • Courses can be taken individually, in any order
  • Seven courses (21 credits) for Certification of Completion in Deepening Understanding of Elementary Mathematics
  • Additional 90-hour (3 credit) Mathematics Leadership practicum to qualify for an Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leader Specialization through TSPC

“Through this course I have had a fundamental shift in my thinking as a math teacher. I came into the course open minded with no clear expectations of what it was going to be like. What I encountered was a fast-paced, thought provoking, and challenging examination of not only what math is but what it means to really teach math.”

“An important take-away ... is that ALL STUDENTS are capable of learning. Math thinking is molded and shaped in ways that are as unique as the student who is doing the thinking. Yes, some student will learn faster and some will learn slower, but all paths are justified and all students have the right to learn math in a way that meets their needs. There is no special math club that only a select few students can have membership in the club. All students are mathematicians.”

“I am both anxious and excited about experimenting with all of the things that I have learned in this course. It is one thing to know that it is the way that it should be done, but another to actually implement. I think that it will be a process for me. It is a new way of teaching math for me and will take some time. As long as I remind myself of that, and continue to try to focus on the students and their thinking, I think we will make progress together.”

Program goals

  • Deepen mathematical content knowledge including the specialized knowledge needed for teaching mathematics and the development of mathematical ideas across the grades.
  • Attend to both content and pedagogy and the ways that teaching supports the learning of content.
  • Develop expertise in using and helping others use effective instructional practices centered on students’ mathematical thinking.
  • Increase ability to support school and district efforts that help all K-8 students learn important mathematics.

Courses in this program can serve as electives in a Master's or Doctoral program as well as stand-alone for PSU’s Deepening Understanding of Elementary Mathematics Certificate of Completion or TSPC’s Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leader Specialization. See flyer for program details. This program is also eligible for a variety of scholarship and funding opportunities.

What is a Certificate of Completion?

Certificates of Completion are awarded to all students who successfully apply to the program and complete a series of linked courses with a defined focus. The certificate distributed upon completion of the courses reflects the total number of credits earned. While the individual courses will appear on your PSU transcript, the title of the Certificate of Completion will not. This series of courses is not eligible for federal financial aid unless taken as part of a degree program.

What is a TSPC Specialization?

A specialization is similar to an endorsement. Upon successful​ ​completion of the Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leader​ ​program, you will complete the GSE's licensure recommendation​ ​process.​ ​​See the Program Completion​ for details. ​​As soon as you​ are recommended to TSPC by the GSE's licensure​ ​specialist, you can then apply to TSPC and have the​ ​specialization added to your teaching license.