About Math for America-Boston

MfA-Boston, a 501(c)(3) public charity, has two component programs: a Teaching Fellowship program to prepare new teachers and a Master Teacher Fellowship program to deepen and share the skills of expert teachers – along with extensive professional, mathematical, and financial supports which include graduate tuition and stipends.

Math for America-Boston (MfA-Boston) works to improve student engagement, interest, and achievement in mathematics by recruiting, training, and retaining expert mathematics teachers for Boston area public high schools. MfA-Boston is seeking funding for additional Master Teacher Fellowships.  All Fellows commit to at least four years of teaching in high-needs Boston area public schools.

MfA-Boston needs additional funds to expand the number of Master Teacher Fellows, as all MfA-Boston's current funds are allocated to support the 34 current fellows (including the new Master Teacher Fellowship awarded in May, 2015).

High needs Boston area public schools have high teacher turnover. They cannot afford to lose their best and most experienced mathematics teachers. High teacher turnover has serious negative effects on student learning and on morale within the teaching profession in the Boston area - which further inhibits recruitment of talented new teachers and negatively affects student learning. More MfA-Boston Master Teachers are needed. Boston needs to retain teachers who have strong mathematical understanding and who can communicate their mathematical understanding to students and use their expertise to improve the effectiveness of fellow teachers.

Math for America-Boston would like to expand the number of Master Teacher Fellows in order to improve success in mathematics for many more high needs Boston students.

Progress towards its Goals

Retention Success: 100% of MfA-Boston Fellows continue to work in a high needs middle or high school mathematics department.

Through its Teaching Fellows program, MfA-Boston has led mathematically strong graduates to commit to teaching in high needs Boston area public schools. MfA-Boston has prepared these teachers for teaching very effectively and established them in a supportive professional community which will continue to motivate and enrich their teaching for years beyond the terms of their fellowships.

Through its Master Teachers Fellowship program, MfA-Boston has encouraged expert teachers of mathematics to remain in high needs Boston area classrooms, further deepened their mathematical understanding, and, through the curriculum and professional development materials they create with MfA-Boston, caused their expertise to be of long-term value to both teachers and students alike. 

MfA-Boston Master Teachers (MTs) are developing into leaders in mathematics education in Massachusetts. For example: 1) Two MTs are now Directors of Mathematics for their high needs district or Head of Department; 2) Two MTs presented at the March 2014 Noyce Northeast Conference on "Exemplary Mathematics Educators for High-needs Schools;” 3) An MT was nominated for Massachusetts Teacher of the Year; and 4) Another MT’s high needs classroom was visited by Governor Patrick because of the students’ high MCAS scores.

MfA-Boston community participants learn with and from one another, deeply exploring topics that are rooted in the secondary mathematics curriculum, and developing projects, activities and lessons that will build a culture of exploration for their students and develop teacher leadership.  This community is the locus within which MfA-Boston teachers are treated as highly regarded professionals. The community is vital to keeping MfA-Boston Fellows motivated, inspired, and in the classroom.

Estimating that about 150 students are taught by each Fellow each year, the corps of 34 MfA-Boston Fellows directly impacts about 5,400 high needs Boston area students each year. Many more Boston area students are influenced through the Master Teachers’ mentoring of other teachers and through their creation of innovative curriculum and professional development.

MfA-Boston Fellows not only enrich the mathematics education of their students and mentees; they also enrich the entire community of mathematics teachers in the Boston area. In particular, they enrich their high needs schools which so often suffer high teacher turnover which is itself so damaging to student learning and teacher morale. When good teachers enter the profession and when expert teachers stay in the profession, a virtuous cycle is formed for the teachers, for the schools, and above all, for the students. The effectiveness of the Fellows is augmented by their professional interactions with the mathematicians and educators in the broader community MfA-Boston forms with its colleagues at EDC, PROMYS for Teachers and Focus on Mathematics.

MfA-Boston is building a strong corps of mathematics teachers in the Boston area who have deep mathematical understanding, strong teaching skills, a supportive and instructive professional community, and deep connections with Boston area mathematicians. Progress has been made, but a great deal more work remains to be done if every student in a high needs Boston area school is to have the chance to be successful in mathematics.

Current Funders of MfA-B: National Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, and private individuals and foundations (including Math for America National and the PROMYS Foundation).

Math for America-Boston’s 2014 IRS Form 990 can be downloaded from Guidestar (www.guidestar.org). 

Math for America-Boston Board of Directors – All Volunteer

Professor Glenn Stevens, President and Chair (from Brookline, MA): Glenn is Professor of Mathematics at Boston University, where he has taught and conducted research since 1984. He is Director of the Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS), a program at Boston University for aspiring young mathematicians founded by Glenn in 1989, and PROMYS for Teachers, a related program he founded in 1990 for teachers of all ages.  Glenn is Principal Investigator of Focus on Mathematics which is a unique partnership of mathematicians, teachers and school districts dedicated to increasing student achievement by providing to mathematics teachers the content knowledge and skills valuable in their profession. Initially funded as a Math Science Partnership Program by the National Science Foundation in 2003, Focus on Mathematics has grown to encompass a large mathematical community in the Boston area with diverse professional development opportunities.  In 2010, the Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education appointed Glenn Chair of the Common Core Mathematics Review Board. Glenn is co-Principal Investigator of the NSF Noyce grant, Math for America Boston: Teaching Scholars Program. 

Professor Steven Rosenberg, Treasurer (from Natick, MA): Steve is Professor of Mathematics at Boston University and former department chairman.  For 23 summers, Steve has taught at the PROMYS program for talented high school students. He has written numerous papers and a graduate textbook in differential geometry and has organized several international conferences in mathematical physics. Steve is the co-Principal Investigator of the BU NSF Noyce grant, Math for America Boston: Teaching Scholars Program. Steve has been involved with Focus on Mathematics, serving on the advisory board and facilitating study groups. Steve participates in recruitment and selection of MfA Fellows and in their professional development activities.

Dr. Al Cuoco, Director (from Wilmington, MA): Al’s career in mathematics education spans more than 40 years.  He is Distinguished Scholar and Director of the Center for Mathematics Education at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), where he works in curriculum development, professional development, and education policy and is lead author of a four-year, NSF-funded, comprehensive high school mathematics program.  Al co-directs Focus on Mathematics and also co-directs the development of the course for secondary teachers in the Institute for Advanced Study program at the Park City Mathematics Institute. Al taught high school mathematics in Woburn, Massachusetts from 1969 until 1993, except for a leave, during which he earned a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Brandeis University.

Professor Sol Friedberg, Director (from Newton, MA): Sol is James P. McIntyre Professor of Mathematics and Chair of the Mathematics Department at Boston College.  He is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.  He is founder and director of the Boston College Mathematics Case Studies Project and an editor of the CBMS book series Issues in Mathematics Education.  Sol is a member of the Focus on Mathematics Phase II Advisory Board, the Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education Advisory Board, and has served as an advisor to the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education concerning the Massachusetts mathematics framework.  Sol is a member of the Boston College team that submitted the proposal for the currently funded Noyce grant to support MfA-Boston Teaching Fellows.

Professor Haynes Miller, Director (from Newton, MA): Haynes has been Professor of Mathematics at MIT since 1986; he is an algebraic topologist. Haynes served as Undergraduate Officer in Mathematics and chaired the Mathematics Department Education Committee for ten years, and was the first Associate Department Head in Mathematics, from 2011 to 2013. He has been a member of the MIT OpenCourseWare Faculty Advisory Committee since 2008. He is a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for the Association of American University Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative and of the American Mathematical Association's Committee on Education. Among other educational pursuits, Haynes was the Principal Investigator of a d'Arbeloff Fund grant to build interactive learning tools to support university level Mathematics education, and is the PI of a Davis Educational Foundation grant to produce a flipped and technologically enhanced introduction to probability and statistics at MIT. Haynes was named an MIT MacVicar Faculty Fellow in 2005, for a ten-year period, for "exemplary and sustained contributions to the teaching and education of undergraduates at MIT."

Executive Director of MfA-Boston: Mr. Keith Hilles-Pilant (from Milton, MA):

MfA-Boston’s only employee, Keith Hilles-Pilant largely donates his time, choosing to work for only an honorarium. Keith joined MfA-Boston in March 2014 after retiring from a distinguished career as a mathematician which included government work, work in the private sector, and 35 years as a classroom teacher of mathematics. Keith’s career associations include Los Alamos Scientific Lab, NASA (OAS Copernicus project), IBM Research, SUNY, Princeton, University of Illinois, Hotchkiss School, Milton Academy (teaching mathematics there from 1986-2013), the Clay Mathematics Institute (founding the CMI Junior Research Fellows program for high school students), Columbia University (Klingenstein Fellow), University of Saint Andrews (University Fellow), and School Year Abroad (teaching in France, Spain, Japan, and Italy). Keith participated in PROMYS for Teachers in 2009, 2010, and 2014.

History of Math for America and Math for America-Boston

Math for America (MfA) was established as a tax-exempt public charity in New York City in 2004 by a group of business leaders, mathematicians, and educators, led by Dr. James Simons, a philanthropist, a former hedge-fund manager, and a mathematician.  Autonomous satellite MfA sites have been established in Boston, Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington DC, and Utah. All share general principles including that mathematics and mentoring must be at the heart of the preparation of mathematics teachers and that excellent teachers must be honored, rewarded, and used as a valuable resource for replicating good teaching practices. Many MfA teachers have received prestigious national teaching awards, and others have been invited to join national advisory panels and speak at national conferences.  Today 85% of Math for America Fellows are still teaching after five years, compared to a national average among mathematics teachers of only about 50%. 

MfA-Boston was incorporated in 2009 as a 501(c)(3) public charity (FEIN# 27-1240064), contributions to which are tax deductible. Boston University and MIT were founding partners, and we are now collaborating with mathematicians from Education Development Center (EDC) and Boston College. MfA-Boston operates autonomously, with some financial and technical support from the national office. For example, MƒA provided a start-up grant, matched private donations up to $500,000 annually through December 31, 2014, and provided partial matches for some federal grants.

For more information, please click here for MfA-Boston. Click here for information on Math for America-Boston's Programs, Goals and Core Beliefs.

For more information about the MfA-Boston Master Teacher Fellowships through Boston College, please click here.

Please address inquiries about donations or program activities to Kristen Luce: kluce@mathforamerica.org. Tel: 617 358 2388.

Please direct mail to Math for America-Boston, c/o Mathematics Department, Boston University, 111 Cummington Mall, Boston, MA 02215