Series: About the Collaborative

10 Years of Collaboration: A Letter from Our Principal Investigator

Dear Early Math Collaborators,

I’m writing today to say thank you.

Because of you, the Early Math Collaborative has been around for 10 years now. We have grown from a group of 5 educators providing professional development to approximately 50 Chicago Public Schools teachers to a 24-person team of program developers, researchers, coaches, and coordinators, working across the United States and in several other countries, improving math teaching and learning for more than 500 teachers at any given time.

Because of you, we have published a widely-used book for teachers on early mathematics, created and shared new research tools that help us understand and describe effective teaching, and developed innovative ways of providing effective professional development and coaching. We have held two international symposia and hosted the first biennial Promising Math conference. We have mentored 7 master’s degree students and 4 doctoral dissertations have been written based on data we have collected. Our website is flush with video and written content about excellent early math teaching and learning, and we have over 2300 subscribers to our online newsletter.

Prof. Mary Hynes-Barry at one of the first professional development sessions of the Early Math Collaborative, circa 2007.

Prof. Mary Hynes-Berry at one of the first professional development sessions of the Early Math Collaborative, circa 2007.

All these things have occurred because there is a demand for them. Because of a shared conviction among early childhood teachers, researchers, instructional leaders, families, public officials, and dedicated funders that early mathematics is important, our team is lucky enough to be able to do this work.
In 2007, the Robert R. McCormick and CME Group Foundations both believed it was worthwhile to fund a new learning initiative for preschool and kindergarten teachers focused on mathematics. New funders provided the means to work with primary through 5th grade teachers and educators in Head Start, Catholic schools, and infant and toddler settings. It is a hopeful environment in which to work—optimistic, idealistic, and practical at the same time. We are exceedingly grateful.

In the spirit of expressing this gratitude, and on the occasion of being 10 years old, we will take the next few newsletters to catalog our journey. We will hear from Collaborative team members about what motivates them and what they look forward to in the next decade. We also want to share a new resource with you: Our Core Values statements.

Last year, our team members developed a new mission statement, and a set of guiding principles that we call our Core Values. These ideas are not new; they are simply a clear statement of the beliefs that have guided our work all along. We offer them to the rest of our community now in the hope that they will inspire and guide you in our shared and important work on behalf of young children and the teachers who nurture them.

With deep gratitude and in friendship,

Jennifer McCray