Math for America-PCMI Secondary School Teachers Program

— With program support provided by Math for America


Making Mathematical Connections

The Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI) of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, offers comprehensive professional development for mathematicians and teachers of mathematics, as well as programs for students aspiring to a career in mathematics.

The Secondary School Teachers Program (SSTP) Summer Session is a 3-week residential program in Park City, Utah and is part of the larger PCMI program. The SSTP is for both high school and middle school teachers of mathematics. Teachers are given full support and a stipend during the Summer Session. In addition, 6 quarter-credits of 400-level mathematics are available from the University of Washington for a modest fee.

The SSTP is structured around three goals:

All teachers should be involved in

  • continuing to learn and do mathematics
  • analyzing and refining classroom practice
  • becoming resources to colleagues and the profession.

Each of these goals is reflected in the three strands that comprise the summer courses and activities.

  1. Developing Mathematics (2 hours per day, 5 days per week.)  Common Core puts emphasis on geometry through rigid motions and dilations.  What are the isometries that carry an equilateral triangle to itself? A square? A cube? A polygon or polyhedron? This course will start from scratch, investigating such questions and showing how the geometry of polygons is connected to the algebra of the transformations that preserve that geometry.
  2. Reflecting on practice: Connections to Research (75 minutes per day, 5 days per week, plus opportunities for informal sessions in late afternoon and evenings.) Questions That Count Is every question a teacher asks worthwhile? What kinds of questions do our students ask? How can we make our classrooms a place where questioning is central to learning?

    Participants will consider research related to teaching and learning mathematics with a particular focus on questions designed to provoke student thinking. The focus of the course will be on learning to design and use questions and questioning techniques that push students to make connections and come to understand mathematics in a deeper way or that probe their thinking to better understand how they perceive the mathematics. The discussion will be grounded in the study of discourse and questioning in lessons and classroom practice in both the United States and other countries. 

  3. Working Groups (2 hours, 4 days a week) As part of their summer activities, each participant selected for the Secondary School Teacher Summer Program will be assigned to a small, focused working group.  Note that two of the working groups are program specific and participation is by invitation only.  Each group will prepare a first draft of an activity, lesson, reflection on a piece of mathematics or another product useful for the secondary classroom that can be shared with other teachers.  Note that these topics may change before the summer session.
  • Reasoning from Data and Chance
  • Exploring Discrete Mathematics
  • Investigating Geometry
  • Learning about Geometric Groups
  • Implementing Lesson Study
  • Visualizing Functions
  • C-Tap Working Group
  • Los Angeles Course Improvement Working Group

All participants will be consulted and notified of their working group assignments prior to the Institute.

Each Working Group is composed of a small group of teacher participants led by a member of the SSTP staff. The group works together to research existing classroom materials and techniques, technologies, and other materials related to the topic, for dissemination and eventual publication by PCMI. The focus of the work should be on:

  • creating and elaborating meaningful tasks
  • designing activities to extend content knowledge
  • illustrating the use of technology as a way to enhance learning and teaching

Applicants should rank their first, second, and third choice of Working Group on the application form. After applicants are accepted and named to a Working Group, some preparation in the form of reading or materials review may be suggested by working group leaders.


Click here for a more in-depth description of each working group.

Click here for information & for PDO Groups currently active.

Click here for Alumni Groups.

Click here for Affiliated Programs.