Keith Ishihara, a teacher at Moanalua High School, spent the 2011–2012 school year on sabbatical at CRDG. He started with three primary goals: to find new methods of teaching Algebra I to achieve better student understanding, to learn about the Common Core State Standards and how they apply to an Algebra I class, and to engage in professional development for himself as well as other teachers at his school and complex.
Being able to spend a full school year immersed in a mathematical research group turned out to be an invaluable experience for a teacher who “wanted to participate in more professional development than I could do while working as a classroom teacher.” At CRDG, Ishihara experienced a range of professional development programs from the planning stages to the implementation. He researched topics he felt were important for his continued growth as a teacher, and both shared and received information through his attendance and presentations at national and international mathematics conferences.
Among several CRDG projects in which he participated were the A Modeling Approach to Algebra (AMAA) project (see p.8), were he “learned the process of curriculum development from genesis to PD.” He also took on the challenge of creating a credit-granting HIDOE course with a new grant-funded course that would focus on designing lessons using TI-Nspire graphing technology. Other highlights of the sabbatical year included classroom observations, attendance at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) conferences, and the opportunity to spend time researching the various resources available online, several of which he is anxious to try in his classroom.
Ishihara kept a record of his sabbatical year on a website that integrated a calendar, blog, and links. He summed up his experience by saying, “While my sabbatical is over, my journey is not.