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Elementary Mathematics Specialist Project

EMS Project

The Elementary Mathematics Specialist Project is a collaboration among UIC, DePaul University and the University of Chicago that offers courses designed to provide elementary school teachers with the knowledge, confidence, and tools for teaching mathematics to young children. Consistent with the AMTE recommendations, the program includes two year-long sequences of courses focused on deepening teachers’ mathematics content and pedagogical content knowledge for teaching mathematics to young learners. The goals of the program include preparing teachers such that participating teachers:

  • will be confident mathematics teachers who possess a deep knowledge of mathematics and of how K–5 children learn mathematics.
  • will have a shared vision for what a powerful mathematics classroom looks like.
  • will provide high-quality mathematics instruction in their classrooms and make their teaching public in well-planned and deliberate ways.
  • will work collaboratively with their colleagues to support individual teachers, schools, and the district in improving the quality and coherence of mathematics instruction.


The Elementary Mathematics Specialist Project includes courses in the following areas:

Course 1: Number and Operations with whole numbers: focus on developing teachers’ deep conceptual understanding of whole numbers concept and operations, including attention to teaching and learning in early childhood.

Course 2: Rational numbers and proportional reasoning: focus on developing teachers’ conceptual understanding of rational numbers, making connections to earlier work with whole numbers and moving into working with multiplicative reasoning connecting work with fractions to ratio and proportional reasoning concepts.

Course 3: Geometry and Measurement: focus on developing teachers’ conceptual understanding of geometry and measurement. The course will explore how children’s understanding in these content areas develops across grades.

Course 4: Leadership in Mathematics Education: grounded in mathematical content, will focus on developing leadership in mathematics education in these areas: 1) advocating for high-quality mathematics instruction; 2) enhancing collaboration within and across grade levels; and 3) supporting professional learning around high-quality mathematics instruction.

Course 5: Developing Algebraic Reasoning: focus on developing teachers’ understanding of the connections and dependencies between the content domains of the earlier courses and the algebraic reasoning domains in the CCSS.

For additional information, please contact Kathleen Pitvorec.
To learn more about the program and for access to additional resources, visit Elementary Math Specialists in Illinois at