A key aspect of supporting teachers’ learning on a large scale concerns mathematics leaders’ practices in designing for and leading high-quality professional development. We report on a retrospective analysis of an initial design experiment aimed at supporting the learning of three math leaders who were charged with supporting the learning of middle-grades mathematics teachers across a large US school district. Initial goals for the math leaders’ learning included: (a) viewing teachers’ improvement of their classroom practices as a progression; (b) designing supports for teachers’ learning that were informed by assessments of teachers’ current practices, were oriented towards long-term goals for teachers’ practices, and would enable teachers to attain short-term goals that constituted reasonable next steps; and (c) facilitating professional development by pressing on teachers’ ideas differentially and building on their contributions. Findings suggest that the math leaders increasingly viewed teachers’ improvement of their classroom practices as a developmental progression and began to design connected sequences of activities. However, they struggled to facilitate the activities in ways that would meet their ambitious goals for teachers’ learning. Based on our findings, we indicate potential improvements to our design for supporting math leaders’ learning. More generally, we provide the field with a set of potentially revisable learning goals for math leaders’ learning, a set of principles to guide the design of supports for their learning, and a provisional design to support the development of their practices.
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