MARS, sponsored by the University of Maryland at College Park with subcontract to Baltimore City Schools, is a 4-year Local Systemic Change project to enhance all of the K-5 teachers of mathematics in the Baltimore City Schools. The enhancement is aligned with national standards and the Maryland State Outcomes in Mathematics. It is focused on adult-level mathematics content, instructional methods to promote student understanding and problem solving, research on children's learning of critical mathematics constructs, mathematics curriculum standards, performance assessment, strategies to increase math achievement and preparation of urban students, and community resources for continuing mathematics education.
Cohorts of schools participate in two-year enhancement cycles. All teachers in a building receive at least 100 hours of enhancement starting with a 14-day summer institute, which includes work with students in a summer program. Teachers are required to complete 15 hours of professional development during the first year of implementation and an additional 13 hours in the second year of implementation. Three lead teachers, selected from within the building, receive 60 hours of advanced leadership training and support during the year prior to that building faculty's first summer. A cadre of exemplary teachers are released from the classroom for up to six years to be prepared and to serve as project resource teachers. There is one resource teacher for every three schools to act as peer coach, program monitor, and teacher consultant and give day-to-day support in that school. Principals will participate in quarterly meetings during this period.
MARS establishes faculty partnerships across higher education facilities in the City of Baltimore to support the co-development of continuing mathematics education courses addressing mathematics content, mathematics pedagogy, and the integration of mathematics and science. There is collaboration with the Baltimore Urban Systemic Initiative project.