The VMI Post-Master's Certificate Program

Why Post-Master's Education

Despite the abundance of troubling reports and media emphasis about the deficiencies of U.S. mathematics education systems, there has been measurable improvement in student achievement across the past few decades. For example, the percentage of 4th and 8th grade students scoring “proficient” or above on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has more than tripled since 1990. The percentage of 8th grade students scoring “proficient” or above has improved markedly over this period as well. Other evidence of improvement is seen in ACT scores, Advanced Placement Calculus and advanced Placement Statistics (NCTM, 2014). 

While celebrating this good news, we must confront the persistent challenges facing U.S. mathematics education. These include relatively unchanged NAEP scores for 17-year-old students and alarming differences in mathematics achievement between white and black and white and Hispanic students (NCTM, 2014) A report issued from the U.S. Department of Education in 2014 stated that, “16% of U.S. high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career” (USDOE, 2014).

VMI participants doing yoga
Student making presentation

These realities in mathematics education mark the work in front of us. This includes eliminating achievement gaps based on race, income, ethnicity and language, increasing the level and depth of mathematics learning for all students, and engaging all students in meaningful, interesting and fulfilling mathematics. We can build on past successes but moving from “pockets of excellence” to “systematic excellence” requires change at all levels of our systems and school and district level mathematics instructional leaders are essential in this mission. Specifically, if we are to address the mathematics education issues facing us, we need math instructional leaders who:

  • are knowledgeable about the mathematics content and the features of excellent mathematics instruction.
  • set clear curriculum and instructional expectations and communicate them to students, teachers, and parents, and
  • monitor daily instruction to ensure that all students are actively engaged in worthwhile mathematical tasks (Leinwand, 2009).

Implementing systemic reform has historically been and continues to be challenging. Yet, we know the foundational actions that support the success of “ambitious instructional reforms”. These include:

  1. Engage principles in content-specific training to build deep understanding, enthusiasm and commitment.
  2. Distribute reform leadership.
  3. Get everyone trained. And retrained and retrained… 
  4. Protect “sacred” spaces of professional learning in school.
  5. Give teachers time to collaboratively plan for instruction.
  6. Ensure coherence, and support alignments between the reform and teachers’ existing work (Pierce and Suoivitz, 2020).

Notice the important role that school and district instructional leaders play in each of these actions. VMI’s Series in Mathematics Education Leadership is designed to provide school and district mathematics instructional leaders with the knowledge, skills and confidence to contribute to the systemic changes needed for all students to be successful in mathematics.

A Few Program Details

Offered in collaboration with Vermont State University (VTSU), the Certificate of Graduate Study is a five-course, 15-credit series. This series focuses on the knowledge and specialized skills school and district leaders need to support mathematics instructional excellence, with the goal of providing all students opportunities to learn important mathematics. The program is specifically designed for current and aspiring math coaches, math specialists, math interventionists and leaders in mathematics services for students who struggle in math. This series will provide mathematics instructional leaders with the knowledge, skills and confidence to contribute to the systemic changes needed for all students to be successful in mathematics.

Successful applicants to the VMI Post-Master’s certificate program are educators committed to enhancing their effectiveness as leaders of mathematics and are committed to sharing their increased knowledge of mathematics content and pedagogy with colleagues. Through coursework, classroom and school- or district-based applications, and support by VMI staff, participants will earn The VMI Certificate of Graduate Study in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Mathematics. Please note that there are no prerequisite requirements for entry into the VMI Post-Master’s Certificate program, although one must have already earned a master’s degree in a related field.

Interested in Joining the next Cohort?

This cohort-based program starts each Fall, with the next cohort commencing Fall of 2024.

For more information, download the 2024 FAQ page